WorldatWork Finds HR Pros Highly Knowledgeable About Total Rewards Research

Nov. 16, 2010 — Washington — A new study by WorldatWork finds that human resources practitioners are highly knowledgeable of the academic research in total rewards and successfully apply many of the concepts in the workplace. The study, The Connection Between Academic Research Findings and Total Rewards Professionals, was based on survey responses from 641 total rewards professionals from around the world.

Key findings:
Respondents were commonly aware of the academic findings on a broad range of total rewards topics, even on items outside of their current role. A majority of respondents correctly identified eight of the 10 true/false statements.

The following statements were correctly answered as TRUE by at least 73% of respondents:

• When pay rates are based on political factors (liking, favors, etc.) rather than objective performance, employee performance and company performance suffers. 92% correct
• Some raises are too small to cause employees to put forth additional effort. 89% correct
• Employees tend to choose the default option in making decisions about retirement plan participation. 82% correct
• There is a positive relationship between the proportion of managers receiving organizationally based pay incentives and company profitability. 78% correct
• Firm size is a key variable in measuring executive pay for performance. 74% correct
• New companies have a better chance of surviving if all employees receive incentives based on organization-wide performance.73% correct

The following statements were correctly labeled as FALSE by at least 76% of respondents:
• Line managers prefer forced distribution rating systems over traditional rating systems. 78% correct
• When pay must be reduced or frozen, there is little a company can do or say to reduce employee dissatisfaction and dysfunctional behaviors. 76% correct

The following FALSE statements were commonly missed by respondents:
• When workers understand how their pay is determined, organizational commitment and job involvement increase, but pay satisfaction does not. 38% correct
• Wage levels fall during recessions because of a decrease in the demand for labor and employers’ need to lower labor costs. 29% correct

The survey reveals that while most (63%) survey participants did not hold an academic degree in the HR field, a majority were commonly aware of the research and apply their knowledge.

“My grandfather used to say life is too short to learn from your own mistakes,” said Brian Moore, the study’s author and research director. “To get the best outcomes for yourself or your organization you have to be able to quickly figure out where things have gone astray for others and why; and that’s where the combination of case studies, common practices, and controlled scientific studies can come together to create something more powerful than any of them can deliver alone.”

About the Survey

Data for the WorldatWork study, “The Connection Between Academic Research Findings and Total Rewards Professionals” was gathered in August 2010 among members employed in the HR, compensation and benefits departments of mostly large U.S. corporations. Of the 641 responses, 63% came from HR practitioners whose college degrees were not in HR.

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, Arizona, 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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