Compensation Function Heightens Focus on Communication

Aug. 28, 2012 — Scottsdale, Ariz. — Compensation professionals are placing a higher priority on compensation communications, according to a new WorldatWork study initiated by the Compensation Advisory Council titled, “The Evolving Compensation Function.” Nearly half of the 656 surveyed respondents said they plan to focus more on effectively communicating the value of total rewards to employees and especially line managers. Less than one in three survey respondents reported they are able to focus strongly on compensation communications today. In addition, nearly one in three (32%) plan to increase their use of a variety of digital communications to enhance compensation communications.

A separate study, the “WorldatWork 2012 Total Rewards Professionals’ Census: What Differentiates Top Performers,” identified the ability to communicate and connect as one of the eight key differentiators of top performers in the total rewards professions, yet found that communication is not a development priority for rewards professionals.

“The compensation function is certainly evolving,” said Kerry Chou, a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and practice leader for WorldatWork. “Communication and relationship skills are becoming as important as business and technical expertise and need to become a development priority. Experience has shown time and time again that even the best designed compensation programs poorly communicated are perceived negatively.”

In a recently released WorldatWork TV video, “Communicating to Ensure Compensation Program Success,” Ann Bares, managing partner of Altura Consulting Group, shared several strategies to effectively communicate about pay. One way is to make the link between pay and business strategy stronger and more clear. “Most of the employees we’ve surveyed believe they understand the basic mechanics of their pay,” Bares said, “but they don’t see the connection to business strategy.” Bares said the biggest mistake compensation professionals make is not communicating early enough in the process. “It’s a mistake to wait until the pay program is in the implementation phase to begin thinking about communication. We are sending clear, often unintentional messages to employees and managers in every element and every step of designing and implementing compensation programs.”

About the Study
WorldatWork collected survey data for “The Evolving Compensation Function” in January 2012. The survey report was based on 656 responses. The demographics of the survey sample and the respondents are similar to the WorldatWork membership as a whole. The typical WorldatWork member works at the managerial level or higher in the headquarters of a large company in North America.

About WorldatWork®: The Total Rewards Association

WorldatWork ( is a not-for-profit organization providing education, conferences and research focused on global human resources issues including compensation, benefits, work-life and integrated total rewards to attract, motivate and retain a talented workforce. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork has nearly 30,000 members in more than 100 countries. Its affiliate organization, WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals®, is the certifying body for the prestigious Certified Compensation Professional® (CCP®), Certified Benefits Professional® (CBP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP®), Work-Life Certified Professional™ (WLCP®), Certified Sales Compensation Professional™ (CSCP™), and Certified Executive Compensation Professional™ (CECP™). WorldatWork has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.

The WorldatWork group of registered marks includes: Alliance for Work-Life Progress® or AWLP®, workspan®, WorldatWork ® Journal, and Compensation Conundrum®.

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