2015: Top Compensation Articles

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Jan 7, 2016

These five compensation articles from last year were some of the most-read content on SHRM Online. They describe developments and trends that will have a continuing impact in 2016:

Compensation Budgets Favor Variable over Fixed Pay

Most annual pay increases now are being allocated to variable pay such as incentives, bonuses and cash awards, rather than to salary raises. But variable payouts aren't always shared throughout the organization, and that disparity could cause lower-level employees who are excluded from a bonus program—despite performing their duties with excellence—to feel undervalued and become disengaged, leaving them more likely to seek new opportunities elsewhere.

Flat Salary Increase Budgets Spur Promotions for Pay Raises

Although the economy is improving and the job market is more robust, salary increase budgets for U.S. companies continue to show few signs of growth. That’s causing greater reliance on other reward methods—such as career-advancement tracks that allow employees to increase their base pay by getting promoted.

The Viability of Banning Salary Negotiations

Bans on salary negotiations, often motivated by an effort to keep pay gender-neutral, raise questions about the impact on recruitment. But gender aside, there are plenty of people who are uncomfortable negotiating pay, and several organizations report success in hiring in-demand talent after banning negotiations. Still, critics of these bans argue that employers are fighting the wrong battle, and they contend that greater pay transparency is a better approach.

Stay-Put Counteroffers Can Backfire, CFOs Say

Although employee retention concerns continue to mount, eight in 10 chief financial officers (CFOs) said they don't extend counteroffers to keep employees from leaving. One reason: They believe this tactic can have an escalating effect. Among CFOs who do make counteroffers, roughly one-third said that doing so necessitated raises for other employees in the department. Also, offering more money to prevent employees from quitting typically doesn't solve the issues that prompted them to resign in the first place.

An Extra Pay Date for 2016

2016 is a leap year, so for some companies, instead of 52 weekly or 26 biweekly paydays, there will be 53 or 27, respectively. As a result, some employees will see a smaller weekly payout then they might expect, which may cause confusion and anger. Best to nip this in the bud with clear and effective explanations of the payday issue.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow me on Twitter.​


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