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Sounds like someone needs to write a counter post on "everything you need to know about HR business partners."

They want to know the price of a job before the description is built or the new org structre settled. (Output only as good as the input, right?)

They have to pay for outside talent instead of building programs internally to develop the skills needed to meet the demands of the business.

I'll stop there, but to say the least it's cheap shot on Tim's part.


I think a counter post would be a great idea. Perhaps a great topic for a guest contributor at the Compensation Cafe (hint, hint).

I can appreciate that it feels like a cheap shot. But I also have been around enough organizations to know that Tim is not the only HR business partner who feels this way about Comp pros. And I've bumped into more than one circumstance where we (speaking collectively) have more than earned the flack. Of course, as you note, there is blame that belongs on both sides of the fence.

My purpose in putting up this post was (1) to remind us of what our efforts sometimes look like from the other side, and (2) to make the point that we are all supposed to be working toward a common goal, something it can be easy to forget in the heat of the battle.


Interested to hear the take of other Comp pros. Are you offended by the post? Have I allowed for too much emphasis on the beefs of the HR business partner and overlooked Comp's legitimate gripes about their counterparts?

Thanks, Joe, for jumping in with your thoughts. Appreciate hearing them.

Hi Ann,

I believe the next to last paragraph in Tim's blog statement is well stated and the intent for compensation pay management structures.

"Sometimes this is healthy. Sometimes less so. And sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that pay structures, plans and systems are a means to an end; they not the end themselves."

We encourage our clients to utilize the pay structures, plans and systems to create compensation management programs that are consistent, transparent and aligned with organizational performance goals. Within reason, they're not meant to restrict attracting high potential candidates and retention of top performing employees.



The paragraph you're referencing is actually mine - but I think it is just my way of making what I think is Tim's core point.

Agree that (within reason) most organizations do not design comp programs with the intent of restricting the attraction of great candidates or high performing employees. I do think - however - that in many organizations our pay and staffing "philosophies" can be out of alignment. That's the next post I'm thinking on...

Thanks for weighing in!

I think Tim's post, with a little tweaking can be applied to the whole of HR, not just comp. My most recent experience with compensation and HR in general has been that people has more of an administrator i.e. guardian of the magic portal mentality, rather then, "Hey, we are all in the same boat. Let's see what we can do for the good of the organization." Instead you get, "You shall not have that cause we say so!!"

And when people start mentioning, HR's place at the 'table'... I get angry. If you are not supporting the business in reaching their goals, the only table you will see is your workdesk. Let's not start on the word strategic...

I think the most useful experiance I had starting out in Comp is when a VP said, "You cannot use HR rules as an excuse to hinder business operation. Figure out how you can work with us for a win-win solution." Once we start working with him to create solutions, HR is invited to all important issues meeting so we can give feedback which allowes us to head issues at the 'pass' before it becomes a problem.


Yes, I suspect you're correct that we have all - collectively across HR - fallen prey to this mentality. Thanks for sharing your story and experience.

thanks, this article is helpful, i have been looking for it all day. It's not as the old days

People do forget that all of the structures are a means to an end. In fact, in some organizations, worse happens. People use the structures as the means to their end.

They manipulate payroll processes in order to ensure that the people they don't like are kept from being adequately rewarded. in this case, the rules are used to hold some people back, while they are bent in favor of others.

I think the rules are to be used for the good of the organization. Using them without proper analysis prevents the organization from achieving its goals.

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About The Author

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    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.

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