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compensation and performance

Most of the studies carried out are unanimous in confirming that compensation remains the number one motivation for employees. This basic need is the first step in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which shows that using our most primitive survival instincts (housing, clothing, and food), can actively contribute to employee retention & attraction of the top talents. can also improve performance if the wage policy is advantageous. This means adjusting compensation every now and again to keep employees motivated.

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The most “classical” compensation system is a system based on hierarchical position. So more or less indirectly linked to seniority. This compensation policy is based on salary scales that link each job to a bracket with a minimum and maximum amount. It is particularly transparent and extremely rigid. It is a uniform application to all employees, regardless of the results achieved.

This can unfortunately lead to the loss of your best people, leaving your company at a relatively low level of performance and demotivated employees. Employees who are not involved in the development of your company are the ones who would rather adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

Thus, after hesitating between a fixed compensation and a variable compensation model, more and more companies are now moving towards a system of variable compensation, i.e. a more individualized system, taking into account the productivity, performance, and skills of each employee. Therefore compensation and performance are invariably linked and compensation and performance management should become one of your priorities in HR. 

Compensation and Performance Management: Variable Pay Policy

1. Implement performance-based compensation

Performance-based compensation seeks to reward the contribution of employees to the success of the company. In addition to allowing greater flexibility in wage costs (for example if the company is experiencing a decline in activity), this personalization of earnings by introducing a variable part of the salary depends exclusively on previously defined results and motivates and mobilizes employees.

Make sure that performance metrics are not only clear and measurable but also directly linked to compensation increases. This clarity helps employees understand what is expected of them and how they can influence their earnings through their performance. Set specific, achievable goals that are aligned with broader business objectives. This not only drives individual performance but also aligns it with the company’s growth and success.

Variable compensation (depending on productivity) can be very beneficial for the company, but one must be wary of the adverse effects that may arise if the compensation policy is poorly regulated. Its negative effects can have an impact on mobility, skills development, or group work (which would be neglected in favor of personal work).

2. Use a Variety of Compensation Methods

Think beyond just the basic salary. Consider different types of compensation methods like bonuses, stock options, profit sharing, or even non-financial rewards such as additional vacation days or flexible working conditions. This diversified approach can cater to the varied preferences and needs of your workforce, providing more personalized motivation and engagement.

Each type of compensation can be aligned with different types of business goals and employee achievements, making your compensation system more dynamic and responsive.

3. Encourage Employee Development and Upskilling

Investing in your employees’ growth can be a game-changer. Provide opportunities for training, certifications, and further education that align with their career paths and your business objectives. When you tie these development opportunities into your compensation structure, it serves a dual purpose.

Employees feel valued and supported in their professional growth, and they’re encouraged to acquire new skills that can enhance their productivity and value to the company. This could be reflected in their compensation adjustments, making it a win-win situation. Regularly discuss career development during performance reviews and look for ways to link these opportunities to salary increases or bonuses.

4. Regularly Review and Benchmark Compensation

First things first, keep your compensation packages competitive. This doesn’t just mean throwing money at the problem whenever it arises but systematically reviewing and benchmarking against industry standards regularly.

Use resources like salary surveys and industry reports to understand current trends. Adjust salaries, bonuses, and benefits to match or exceed those benchmarks to retain top talent and attract new stars. Make sure you’re looking at similar roles in similar industries and regions to get the most accurate comparisons.

5. Ensure Transparency and Fairness in Compensation Changes

Transparency builds trust, and trust is crucial when it comes to compensation adjustments. Clearly communicate how compensation decisions are made and ensure that the process is fair and equitable. Explain how performance is measured, how it’s linked to pay increases, and provide clear examples. This transparency helps employees feel that they are being treated fairly, which can boost morale and decrease turnover.

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