There is no silver bullet, no miracle answer to the response to Covid-19’s impacts when it comes to anything, not just performance and rewards. Given the impacts of Covid-19 have varied depending on where you are in the world, which industry you are in, it may not be particularly helpful to just do what you did last year or do what everyone else is doing. Whatever you decide to do should be what’s best for your organisation and driven by your purpose. A recent Compensation Café article caught my eye – [https://www.compensationcafe.com/2020/05/the-time-is-now-compensation-pros-must-rise-to-the-challenge.html] – and was a timely reminder of why we do what we do as rem professionals. It’s easy enough for us to carry over our annual/cyclical processes. But this year, thanks to Covid, we have the opportunity to step up and review/refresh/create/innovate our annual processes, without needing to throw out everything we’ve ever known.
We have presented some of our learnings so far and some options being tossed around. In all, we encourage you to explore the benefits and considerations of the options to make it applicable for your organisation. We do also recognise that there are some of you that may have very limited options due to the situation and hope that you may find some of the below still useful.
Be in the know:
Read all about it! There are numerous articles floating around which cover observations and learnings so far (including this one). All the top consultancies are running global webinars and panel discussions to share their insights. Be brave and post your questions either before or during, as it’s highly likely there will be someone else somewhere else with a similar situation.
You are not alone:
- It is critical to have 1 ear and eye internally. Talk to Finance, talk to your leaders, and talk to them as often as possible to get regular updates as the situation evolves.
- All of us rem professionals may not be going through the same thing, but peers within your organisation are all in the same boat. They may not be rem professionals, but their input/advice may guide your decision making.
- If like me, you haven’t been through the GFC, talk to your peers who may have. Yes, the Covid-19 pandemic is different, but why not use the GFC learnings as a starting point?
The winning trio: Leadership, transparency and comms:
Leadership skills are even more so in the spotlight than ever before. Take a look at our own Jacinda Ardern who is constantly in the news for her response to events. In particular, empathy has been singled out. Your leadership’s ability to be transparent and provide frequent and clear comms as much as possible will gain real kudos amongst your people. They may not be going anywhere now, but they will think twice before jumping ship once the head hunters are out there again.
- Be realistic and have realistic expectations of your people. You may have entire teams who were unable to just do their job, let alone exceed on your 5-point rating scale.
- Do you need your managers to comply/abide by a system? Consider the fact that your managers and employees may not have access to the system. Could you suggest some work arounds for recording the conversations, which should still be considered important.
- On the flip side, do also consider employees that have historically under-performed.
- Consider all the factors that the performance rating is linked to when outlining the benefits and considerations
- There’s lots of chatter around whether rem survey data and salary increase forecasts are still relevant in the current climate and most (typically survey providers) argue that they are. You could let your pay structure move as per normal or you could hold your midpoints.
- Setting salary budgets:
- This will require you to speak to your finance team to get a good understanding of the expected impacts on your business.
- If it’s too early to tell, could you delay the annual salary review? If you’re a small enough organisation, could you do a salary review now and then again when you have a clearer picture of the impacts? It’s tempting to frown at the thought of the admin involved, however, we should try and stay focussed on the balance of what’s best for business and employees.
- There seems to be general consensus though that if you can afford to do something for your people, do so. Maybe reserve your salary budget to address anomalies like those sitting low in their pay range, or for pay equity purposes. You may also choose to limit the salary budget for your lower income employees, with the cut-off depending on what’s appropriate for your organisation.
- If your people are eligible for a short-term incentive, could your Board/CEO apply discretion and change targets accordingly. Could you afford to pay some and defer the remaining portion of the STI payment by 12 months?
- No doubt you will be required to model various scenarios and be ready to inform your leaders
Now more than ever before, your recognition initiatives and programmes will be doing a bit of heavy lifting. This is where you can get innovative and really consider the non-monetary ideas. This is a trying time for people and their families so a little will go a long way.
Here is some low hanging fruit. Wellbeing has taken centre stage in the pandemic and rightly so. Many of you now have flexible working where you didn’t before, so now may be just the time to make it official.
We hope this has provided some much-needed food for thought. As we all prepare ourselves for the new ways of working in this post-Covid world, let’s also get excited at the opportunity to step up and be innovative as rem professionals.
What have your learnings been so far? Please feel free to comment.