Yesterday I was at the CIPD's annual reward conference. After an entertaining opening session on the economy from Dennis Turner, chief economist at HSBC, the day moved on to one of its key themes - how to use reward to attract and retain talent.
Gilly King, head of HR at Manchester City Football Club, explained how continuing to pay top money to buy in the top players is not sustainable for the club, so it is now investing in its academy to develop top footballers from as early as age six. Deborah Rees from Innecto Reward Consulting used the football analogy to describe three different types of workers, and suggested different reward approaches for each:
- Academy - high potential employees. Not all of this group will remain with you, so best to focus on more short-term reward, perhaps milestone/project based.
- Reserves - those with some experience. Link their reward to their achievements - bonuses should align with what you are asking them to deliver. Maximise your return on investment by moving them to areas of the business where they could be used best.
- First team - executives or heads of departments. Reward for this group should be longer-term focused, and largely linked to company performance.
Across all three groups, however, Deborah made the point that the mix between base pay and incentives must be right from a benchmarking perspective "otherwise as we pull out of recession they will be poached by your competitors after you've spent the past two years developing them".
Of two break-out sessions, I chose the one on pensions auto-enrolment. I couldn't begin to reproduce everything that pensions' lawyer Francois Barker told us, so will instead direct you to the pensions chapter of the XpertHR employment law reference manual [£]. Despite the complex, and changing, nature of auto-enrolment, our table did score a respectable 73% in Francois' quiz on the subject.
Julie Gregory from Transport for London gave a useful insight into rewarding talent in a public sector environment. She made the point that although the amounts of money involved are necessarily small, it is still important for TfL to provide a reward package that will be competitive in the wider market for top talent. A top tip from her was the importance of aligning any bonus scheme to business objectives and the business strategy: "Design it to deliver business objectives; ensure a clear line of sight from corporate objectives to individuals in order to drive performance that meets business objectives", she said.
The day closed with Stephen Gambles looking at the link between reward and performance. Most areas of reward can be linked to performance, he said, including salary, allowances, bonus/incentive schemes, recognition, share plans and training/development. "This will be bespoke to your organisation, but it is critical that you get the mix right," he added. It follows that any element linked to performance must in turn be linked to a robust performance management process.
The day also saw the launch of the CIPD's annual reward management survey (on the CIPD website).