Compensation Strategy Services

Who gets what—and why?

In the throes of the economic crisis, compensation discussions are generally focused on cutting costs. But as the market bounces back, it’s important to take a fresh look at who’s getting compensated for what–and why. A clean-slate review of your compensation strategies and programs is critical to help ensure they remain aligned with your current business objectives–and help position your business for renewed growth.

Under the microscope

Companies today face a dizzying array of compensation challenges. Rebuilding a workforce ravaged by the recession. Positioning for renewed growth. Dealing with new regulations on incentive pay and executive compensation. Paying for performance. And more. Some of the challenges are new; others have simply come to the forefront during the economic crisis. For example, executive compensation has always been important but has been put under the microscope by public outrage over bonuses at companies receiving taxpayer bailouts.

Some compensation programs spread incentives like a thin layer of peanut butter and don’t effectively motivate individual performance. Others place too much emphasis on individuals, prompting people to act in their own self-interest and exposing the business to unacceptable risk. And all too often, a company’s compensation strategies and programs are not well aligned with its overall business strategy, or only focus on one small part.

Whether the catalyst for compensation redesign is a change in the business environment, a shift in strategy, a merger, or a new CEO, a smart approach is to start with a comprehensive assessment of current strategies and programs. Begin by validating that your business strategy and objectives still make sense. Decide on an overall strategy and philosophy. Then adjust or redesign programs and job roles to fit. The most effective compensation programs are transparent and well understood by participants. They also provide meaningful differentiation between top and bottom performers, with extra emphasis on critical workforce segments that have a disproportionate impact on a company’s overall performance.

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How we can help

Effective compensation strategy and design require a balance of skills. Deloitte is the only consulting firm with a global reach and access to deep experience in HR Consulting, Technology Integration, Finance, and Tax. This unmatched combination allows our teams to provide services designed to help organizations in their efforts to develop and implement innovative compensation programs that are fact-based and comprehensive.

We offer:
  • A collaborative approach tailored to an organization’s unique needs
  • Access to trend analysis and thought leadership
  • Experience with regulators and standards-setting bodies
  • Databases and data mining tools that enable fact-based competitive analysis and decision-making
  • Access to extensive knowledge in tax, accounting, and corporate governance
  • Objectivity and independence

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Bottom-line benefits

Effective compensation strategy and design can help organizations in their efforts to develop compensation programs that:

  • Help to attract, retain, and motivate critical workforce segments
  • Engage the workforce and drive the right behaviors
  • Are aligned with the overall business strategy

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Five ways to get more value now

Take stock. Examine your compensation programs, policies, and practices. Focus on areas that have the most room for improvement. Are your pay programs rewarding performance or encouraging mediocrity? Which workforce segments are most critical to your short- and long-term success? What do payout schedules in incentive plans reveal about the relationship between pay and performance? Do existing incentive programs create proper and optimal alignment between executives and shareholders?

See how you stack up. Conduct a competitive assessment of total compensation–including base salary, annual bonus, and long-term incentives–to see whether your current pay mix is appropriate and competitive. What are the incentive trends for your industry and peer group? What percentile are competitors targeting for base salary and total compensation?

Look at your job structure. Analyze the current job structure–including career paths and the number of levels within each job family. Does it support your business strategy? Do job descriptions accurately reflect the work being performed? Are there clear distinctions between levels? Are critical performance measures captured and linked to pay-for-performance programs? Are promotional paths clearly articulated?

Get the compensation committee up to speed. Make sure committee members understand emerging trends in executive compensation, corporate governance standards and how institutional investors view compensation.

Communicate early and often. Many well-designed compensation programs fail due to lack of communication and training. Be completely transparent when discussing compensation programs with employees and managers. Err on the side of over-communicating.

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Learn more about Compensation Strategy Services

2019 Domestic Stock Plan Design Survey

Over 10 years, Deloitte Consulting LLP (Deloitte Consulting) has been working with the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP) to release the largest survey on long-term incentive design practices in the United States. Last published in 2016, the 2019 Domestic Stock Plan Design Survey provides an in-depth look at equity compensation design practices of companies primarily headquartered in the United States, and includes more than 200 questions covering four key areas:

  • Plan design
  • Time-based full value awards 
  • Performance plans
  • Time-based stock options and stock appreciation rights

The 2019 Domestic Stock Plan Design Survey developed and published by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals is now published to participants. Please contact Tara Tays if you have any questions.

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2019 Domestic Stock Plan Design Survey

Get in touch

Gregory Stoskopf

Gregory Stoskopf

Managing Director | Human Capital

Greg is the leader of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s National Compensation Community of Practice and serves on Deloitte’s Global Rewards Leadership Committee. His specialty is focused on the design and imp... More

Tara Tays

Tara Tays

Managing Director | Compensation Strategies

Tara is a managing director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s National Compensation Strategies Practice. She has over 20 years of compensation consulting experience advising management and board of directo... More

Brian Augustian

Brian Augustian

Principal | Compensation Strategies

Brian is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Compensation Strategies Practice and a fellow to the Society of Actuaries who brings his training in analytics to help solve a wide variety of busines... More