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Salary and Compensation Trends for Forward Thinking Organizations

Quality of Work Life Rewards in Addition to Salary


The budget for salary, compensation, and benefits is not unlimited in most organizations. Thus, in addition to traditional increases to base pay, and variable rewards, such as bonuses, profit-sharing and gain-sharing, I recommend attention to quality of work life rewards. These can include the following.

  • Payment of a one-time, lump sum payment for a result or outcome that deserves recognition.
  • Payment of smaller rewards with “thank you” notes for above the call of duty contributions These are not necessarily tied to an achieved result, but they are contributions, that when emphasized, increase the probability of results.
  • Increased emphasis on additional benefits such as pre-paid legal assistance, educational assistance, and vision insurance.
  • Increased opportunity for flexible work arrangements and job-sharing.
  • An organizational emphasis on the training and development of employees.
  • Clear career paths so employees see opportunities within your organization.

In this last category, quality of work life rewards, your imagination is your only limitation. The key is to ensure fairness and consistency for similarly performing and contributing people, whenever possible. I encourage you to do even more for those employees who measurably contribute more to your organization’s success. (Of course, this opens up a second philosophical debate – fodder for a later article – about how and whether your organization provides an equal opportunity for all employees to excel.)

In summary, organizations are moving toward salary and compensation systems that emphasize flexibility, goal achievement, and variable pay based on performance, and less emphasis on increases to base pay. They are using bonuses based on profit and accomplishment to add to employee compensation. The rising cost of benefits is causing rethinking of their place in the compensation system. Forward thinking organizations are emphasizing quality of work life rewards and recognition to add to the value of the total compensation package.

Researching Salary and Worker Compensation Online

Online salary information is often unreliable. It frequently averages too many variables into one range. The salary ranges cover too many industries, nationally or internationally, and lump all the data into one range. (See my related how-to article about how to calculate an employee's salary, for more information.)

This noted, you may find the following websites useful.

You will also find salary information at professional associations such as the Society for Human Resource Management and others, but usually available only to members.

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