Posted by Chuck Csizmar | Posted in Articles, Universal Compensation | Posted on 22-01-2016
Some might think I’m a bit early for this topic, but I figure better early than late. Early gives you time to think and react. Later on, if trying to seize on an idea that’s dropped back into your rear view mirror (coulda, shoulda, woulda), that tactic would rarely work.
Why point at the Ides (15th) of March? Because during a normal fiscal year / calendar year compensation practitioners usually have from approximately March to September (6 months) to work on something new, before their automatic pilot season starts again.
Right now (January and February) most compensation folks are in the midst of incentive payout calculations, annual performance appraisal processes and the implementation / communication of the new year’s reward program(s). They’re up to their eyeballs with work, wrapping up the old year and getting ready for the new. Fresh ideas are going to have to wait.
Have you ever tried to talk with an Accountant during the first quarter of the year? They’ll have no time to talk about new systems, or processes or simply new ways of doing their job. “Talk to me after tax time” is a common response.
Later in the year, usually commencing after Labor Day in September, for most of us the automatic pilot season of annual activities will begin: competitive job market analysis, tweaking the annual compensation plan recommendations, developing communication strategies, launching the annual merit review cycle and multiple variable pay (STI) plan assessment and payment processes. And of course what follows is the busy season of January and February already mentioned.
Each of these processes and projects occur every year, and cumulatively they take all the air out of your schedule, especially in the fourth quarter and cusp of the new year. Those exciting fresh ideas percolating in your head are going to have to wait.
What Are You Gonna Do?
So when March finally does roll around and you have more (or less committed) time on your hands, what are you going to do? Some thoughts from a potentially long list.
• Redesign the (management) incentive plan: And / or other variable pay programs may need a tweak or an overhaul.
• Develop a compensation strategy: Do you have one? You should have one, or at least a well thought out strategy for how the organization plans to get the most out of that huge payroll expense.
• Reassess the organization’s performance management program: Another favorite HR kicking boy, but one that deserves your attention. Are you properly assessing performance, and how does that process link to individual employee rewards?
• Correcting a problem: What are your dashboard metrics telling you? Are the numbers going in the wrong direction for one or more elements of your reward programs? Perhaps it’s time to investigate and recommend solutions.
• Clean up the job descriptions (ugh): Everyone’s distasteful task, but as a foundation document for multiple HR programs maintaining accuracy and completeness is a must. I put this near the end because, let’s face it, it’s one of the last projects that anyone in HR wants to deal with.
• Focus on some other hot button of discontent, friction or out-of-control expenses: Maybe it’s something your boss wants you to focus on, or it’s a new buzz phrase program that being talked about at all the conferences and webinars, or simply something you’ve always wanted to flesh out and experiment with.
If you don’t start working on new stuff (improvements, efficiencies, and even new ideas) soon after the Ides of March, your window of opportunity will slam shut on you all too soon. Your available time will be up. And then you’ll be looking at 2017.