Is your reward system helping your business and your people to thrive?

Is it setting you up for the future?

Does it build commitment and engagement?


Paying people is probably your biggest business expense.  So, is it working for you and giving you the return on investment that you should  expect?  Are you clear about how it is supporting your success as an organisation?

Performance related pay may not have lived up to its early expectations, but rewarding people for their contribution (what they do + how they do it) not only makes explicit what is valued, but done with fairness and equity can increase engagement.

Of course there is more to reward than just the money.  My approach draws on the principles of total reward.  The concept of total reward covers all  aspects of work that are valued by employees, including benefits such as the opportunity to work flexibly, learning and development and scope for personal growth, values, leadership and the work environment among others.  These things are no less important when it comes to attracting people to join your organisation, retaining them and encouraging them to go the extra mile in pursuit of shared goals. 

I have reviewed reward strategies for clients, recommended change and supported the implementation of new approaches.

Please call me if you’d like to talk about how you might make your approach to reward work better for you.

Designing your reward system

Your approach to reward should achieve four key outcomes:

  • Support the delivery of your vision and values as an organisation now and into the future
  • Respond to the needs of your employees and build motivation and engagement;
  • Reward them for the value they add to your business;
  • Make you more attractive in the recruitment marketplace and help you to keep talented people

Integral to this approach is the willingness to involve employees from the start in creating the approach to reward so that they are actively engaged in the process of development, design and implementation.  This will ensure that their issues and concerns are identified and addressed rather than turning into resistance – because when that happens the harder you push the harder the system will push back!

This is my five step process:

  1. Where are you now?  What's your current approach to reward intended to achieve?  Where are you going and what does that mean for the capablilities that you need to get you there?  What's happening in the wider world and what might that mean for the way you reward people? 
  2. What's working and what's not?  Are you able to recruit the talent that you need?  What's the marketplace that you are in and where are you in that marketplace?  What would your employees say about your approach to reward (have you asked)?  What do the people who leave when you wanted to keep them say?  Is reward part of their reason for leaving?
  3. Set out a high level design.  This should summarise what you have found out from the previous two steps, set out the direction of travel and the principles that you intend to follow.  Consult about the high level design.  What do people really think?  What do they like?  What don't they like and what might cause problems?
  4. Using the answers to these questions do the detailed design.
  5. Consult - you will probably be doing things that amount to changes to terms and conditions of employment so you should seek agreement.  Then implement and review.  As the fact that this is pictured as a cycle implies, recognise that reward systems are transient.  Be ready to plan for the next review!