Many of our HR and reward programs today operate on a competency-based platform, where the fundamental building block is a set of core competencies (defined in the WorldatWork glossary as behaviors, attributes or skills that are predictors of personal success).
If ever there was an essential competency for success in today's tough economic environment, it would have to be resourcefulness. Harvard Business Review blogger John Baldoni does a fantastic job of describing this attribute and its importance in his post The Importance of Resourcefulness.
I particularly appreciate his definition of resourcefulness as not merely a means of coping with deprivation, but rather a realization that "you and your colleagues are more capable than you first believed." Baldoni shares a number of helpful suggestions for being resourceful that get to the very essence of this trait (paraphrased below):
Redefine the Possible. Start with an open mind. The leader who steps up and says "yes we can do this" is one who can push colleagues to do things that some might consider impractical.
Turn Innovation Inward. Innovation is not just about creating something new; it also applies to making old things work better.
Choose Specifics. It may be tempting to consider ways to re-invent how your company does business. Adopting a realistic attitude about what you can do in the short term might be more productive.
Lean on Your Staff. Conventional thinking in frugal times says stop spending, but sometimes managers conflate that mantra with "stop doing." A resourceful leader doesn't stand still and encourages staff to follow her example.
Celebrate the Lessons. Those who are resourceful need to be recognized and rewarded, and in turn, teach their lessons to others.
Given the challenges that employers are facing today, it's hard to imagine a more valuable attribute.
This week presented me with some good lessons in the importance of context in compensation.
The capstone was a conversation with a particularly articulate employee about her personal compensation opportunity. It was a great discussion, as I worked to understand and appreciate the circumstances through her eyes and she through mine. A great reminder - for me - of how critical it is to understand context when examining pay concerns.
Each of us looks at our own compensation through a very unique and personal prism which reflects...
Our own system of values
The importance we place on financial rewards
Our level of business and economic acumen
Our perception of the rules by which the organization where we are employed operates
The sets of information we have access to and how we interpret them
Our own individual sense of equity and fair play
... just for starters!
Attempting to address - or dismiss - pay concerns without an attempt to understand the context from which they have sprung can lead to some real misfires on our part. So here's to keeping an open mind, asking good questions and listening, really listening, to the responses!
Are there days you feel as though your entire professional legacy is built around saying "no"?
Many, if not all of us, have been there. And while (save for a select, sadistic few) I don't know that any of us truly enjoy being Pay Cop, there is also no denying our collective tendency to get stuck in the land of No-Ville.
I say, right on. Not only is this good advice for great HR, it has important application in the land of employee compensation, where too many of us see our role as beginning and ending with the act of guarding the pay dollar coffers as though our lives depend on it.
No, I don't mean that we should suddenly open the vaults and acquiesce to every job upgrade/salary adjustment/incentive award request that comes our way. What I do mean is that we should commit to understanding the root issues underlying these pay requests in order to help managers see and solve the real attraction, retention and motivation issues. Issues which very often have little to do with cash compensation, including (but not limited to):
Lack of growth/development opportunities
Systemic and/or organizational obstacles to performance
In my experience, managers pursue cash solutions to non-cash problems for a host of different reasons. Sometimes they just don't clearly understand the real nature of the problem. Sometimes they do have an inkling of the real nature of the problem, but would throw money at it than change their own behavior or tackle a larger organizational obstacle. Sometimes they are merely following an unspoken protocol that employee issues are always addressed with compensation.
So, circling back to the advice Kris shared for great HR ...
Rather than just putting up a wall and issuing the standard "no" in response to a manager's compensation request, join them in an effort to understand and find an optimal solution (for all parties) to the real problem at hand.
That's adding value. That's real customer service.
That's great HR compensation!
Image: Creative Commons Photo "Yes No Maybe" by elisefeliz
A number of readers (including a few that are between gigs) have written me in recent months, asking about the best way for someone interested in compensation to get "credentialed" in the profession. I always recommend WorldatWork'sCCP (Certified Compensation Professional) certification and coursework, but I also acknowledge that it can be a pricey program, particularly if you are unemployed and footing the bill yourself.
Well - good news! WorldatWork has just announced a scholarship opportunity for interested HR pros. The one-year scholarship package (up to 20 will be awarded each year) includes Premier membership, access to self-paced e-learning certification preparation course materials for the scholarship awarded and all related exams. Details on the scholarships, including terms and conditions, eligibility criteria, FAQs and the application itself, can be found here.
(Note that the scholarship opportunity also applies to other WorldatWork certifications, including Certified Benefits Professional, Global Remuneration Professional and Work-Life Certified Professional.)
A great opportunity for anyone interested in adding to, or simply polishing up, their skillset for the New Year!
More Info Here Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.