This is my last post in the series about my classes last quarter. It's about my main takeaways from my HR elective class on pay and rewards in organizations. The course surveyed empirical research studies on a variety of topics including executive compensation, pay for performance, start-up compensation, and pension plans. A lot of the points below are taken from the articles or studies that we looked at as well as our professor's notes.
We learned that pay is determined by three main forces: the labor market, business strategy, and employee motivation/culture.
One research model we studied suggested the following tips:
Delving into employees' intrinsic rewards, we looked at how the practice of "job sculpting," where employees will stay with and be retained by organizations only if their jobs match their "deeply embedded life interests." These do not determine what people are good at; they drive what kinds of activities make them happy. These deeply embedded life interests are mostly the following:
People can sometimes concentrate on one or a combination of these life interests, which ultimately determine which jobs make them happiest.
The seven “HR Best Practices” (or high-performance work system practices) we studied were the following:
In terms of executive compensation, we learned from the research that the use of long-term contingent compensation results in significant windfalls for CEOs and is not consistent with the idea that such compensation exposes executives to risk; in addition, cash compensation for CEOs is not reduced when contingent compensation is granted (thus the latter is a perk); and in the end, firm performance is lower among firms that heavily use long-term contingent compensation for CEOs. The remedies to this include requiring reduction in CEO pay when options are paid and shifting to more emphasis on annual cash pay adjustments (as well as finding CEOs more motivated by themselves than through compensation).
The class was informative, and I found the discussions about employee culture and motivation (as well as how compensation can be used strategically in start-ups) to be the most interesting.