Taking the opportunity to share some of the more popular pieces from the eight years of Compensation Force archives. Today's featured post examines a much used (and sometime misused) concept in reward design.
We compensation specialists love to throw around the phrase "line of sight", particularly with respect to variable pay design.
Line of sight is an expression that I am told has its origins in the military. In this context, it means "distance to target". In a reward design scenario, we use it to describe an employee's perceived ability to impact the performance measure(s) on which an award is based.
In a sense, I think our use of this phrase misframes the challenge. Taken too literally, it may propel us on a search for measures that are closer to the confines of an employee's responsibility - when the real question should be centered on how we can help the employee understand the connection between what they do day-to-day and what the organization needs to succeed.
Ultimately, shortening an employee's line of sight is about helping them understand how their work can help move the company performance needle. It's an "education and coaching" thing ... as much as, probably moreso than a "find the right measure" thing.
While this has the obvious implications for making employee incentive plans work, it should take on importance above and beyond rewards. It should be an essential part of what a good first-line manager does in the regular course of things.
So, time to move that phrase out of the realm of reward lingo and into the general talent management sphere.