Posted: 18 Feb. 2021

The compensation conundrum: Principles for a more human approach

In the ninth of our series of 2020 Global Human Capital Trends webinars, we explored ‘The compensation conundrum: principles for a more human approach’ and its relevance in today’s global environment. The trend suggests in order to break the seemingly endless cycle of compensation reforms, organisations need a path forward that is anchored not only in data and benchmarks, but also in a set of human principles.

Our discussion in the webinar predominantly explored how organisations can bring some of these principles to life in practice. As these values allow organisations to make bold decisions based on a perspective that goes beyond numbers and reflects how organisations value individuals and how individuals value organisations.

The webinar was facilitated by Hamish Wilson, a Deloitte Human Capital Partner, who introduced Veruschka Dyson, a Director in our HR Transformation Team. Veruschka was then joined by guest speakers Kushla Rosser, Head of Operations, People and Strategy at TSB, and Ryan Ghisi, General Manager from the Global People Programs at Xero. Across the hour, we had 123 HR and other business leaders join virtually to participate in the discussion.

 Veruschka began the discussion by highlighting that rather than suggesting a specific compensation structure for businesses, we recommend businesses shift their approach and think about how they can ensure this process is fundamentally more human.

Veruschka believes that this starts by understanding why this is such a conundrum for businesses. Currently businesses are trying to address the immediate short-term issues, such as how to attract and retain the top talent to ensure we have the best people in our organisations.

However, she recommends that organisations move away from this approach and start to focus on the bigger picture - our humans. This involves asking new questions, such as how to include purpose and meaning, transparency and openness, ethics and fairness, growth and passion, and collaboration and personal relationships. This will then enable organisations to accomplish its objectives, meet stakeholder needs and expectations in a far more transparent way.

Following this, Ryan shared Xero’s approach to this conundrum - by focusing on pay transparency. He explained Xero’s focus on three drivers: values, workforce, and their engagement survey. This led Xero on a journey to become more transparent about their pay and to create a pay transparency spectrum. Xero then went on to focus on pay fairness initiatives, which included performing a Gender Pay Equity Analysis and discussing how males and females are paid in roles that are a similar size and scope.

Our webinar concluded with compelling discussions on how only 37% of organisations consider team-based working in their compensation strategies, although most of our work is done with teams. Hamish pointed out a fascinating example of a UK-based financial services company where employees set their own salaries through an iterative collaboration process. Here, employees complete research, look at their own performance and growth, make their case for colleagues to review and then set their own salary. The discussion provided various perspectives on how organisations can resolve the compensation conundrum by putting humans at the centre of their approach.

You can watch a recording of this webinar, and the others in this series, here. Find out more about the 2020 Global Human Capital Trends here, and reach out to the Deloitte New Zealand team if you would like to talk about how we can support your journey in compensation strategies.

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Sarah Musuku

Sarah Musuku

Analyst - Organisational Transformation

Sarah Musuku is an Analyst in the Organisational Transformation team at Deloitte New Zealand.