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How Can Organizations Address Post-COVID Compensation Challenges?

September 27, 2021

How can companies enhance or adjust compensation policies/programs to attract and retain talent in the “post-Covid” world? We explore below.

As we move towards a “new normal” in the business world, there is so much uncertainty as to what new challenges will be faced and how to address them. Compensation planning is one of these potential challenges.

Concerns in a Post-COVID world

In the grand scheme, organizations are trying to determine things such as the future workforce and where employees will actually work. What do headcount projections look like since the pandemic? How many employees will be needed? Can we close some physical office space and have a portion of the staff work from home or other remote locations? Where can “hybrid” schedules be effective? What types of workers will have success working away from existing physical offices?

An important follow up question to ask is, how can we gain competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining employees who will be successful and help drive company growth in the future?

Hybrid work models

Today, many employees are extremely interested in flexibility, safety, and work-life balance. Therefore, overall total rewards strategies are now including remote and/or “hybrid” work models. In order for these new models to be efficient, companies must attract and retain a strong employee base of talent who can adapt to business challenges and responsibly get work done outside of traditional structures.

Compensation challenges

That said, compensation planning is essential moving forward and now is the time to act. According to experts in the compensation field, several current topics being considered and evaluated include:

  • Do we need to increase pay ranges or offer various bonus programs for specialty positions that are hard to fill?
  • If a specific position requires a worker to be in the office full time, or makes them a “front line” worker while the pandemic continues, what accommodations or overall salary adjustments can be made?

How can organizations address these challenges?

  1. Staying on/close to budgets will be critical for organizations. If a company is forced to pay premiums for certain jobs, perhaps they can reduce costs when hiring new remote workers. Highly publicized examples include huge companies like Facebook who may reduce pay ranges for new hires to reflect the cost of living in regions where the employee actually does the work, i.e. workers in Montana will be offered less than staff in Silicon Valley.
  2. Another current strategy has included hiring new employees at lower salaries in remote geographic regions where unemployment levels remain high.
  3. Total reward strategies are including “stipends” for home office equipment and “off hour” child care reimbursement to enable people to work odd shifts.

More than ever, market analysis is paramount.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your competitors’ total rewards programs?
  • Are competitors in your industry and geographic area offering sign on bonuses for particular positions?
  • Where could your company enhance compensation programs or adjust salary ranges to gain a competitive advantage?
  • What will future availability of talent look like in your region?
  • What would be the benefit/cost impact of allowing new employees to work in other states/regions?
  • Would your company register to do business in other states for reporting, unemployment, etc.

Key takeaways

  • Compensation planning is critical to the long-term success of your business and now is the time to act.
  • Gain market intelligence and offer packages that will make your company highly-desirable for new prospects as well retain top performers.

The demand for Compensation Executives is extremely high at this time. Please let us know if KLR Executive Search Group, LLC can assist you in recruiting top compensation talent.

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