Each year, the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference & Exhibition – one of the premier events on the HR calendar – brings together total rewards and compensation and benefits professionals from around the world.
This year, due to the pandemic, the Total Rewards Association transformed from a live conference into the WorldatWork 2020 Total Resilience Virtual Conference & Exhibition – a series of nine virtual events held each Wednesday starting in early July.
The Workhuman® team was there – virtually, of course – reporting on presentations by Josh Bersin, Kathleen O’Connor, and Workhuman’s own Rob Schmitter. Here, in chronological order, is a recap of our blogs with links to the full posts.
If there’s one thing most HR and total rewards professionals can agree on, it’s this: The way we reward employees is long overdue for an overhaul. According to Workhuman Principal Solutions Consultant Rob Schmitter, the annual review is a “broken” relic, and it’s time to replace it with a modern, more progressive approach: rewarding employees throughout the year. As Rob sees it, it makes far more sense to distribute smaller micro-bonuses on an ongoing basis, rather than give a one-time, lump-sum annual bonus. That way, the benefits of gratitude – increased trust, lower voluntary turnover, increased engagement, and better performance – continue all year long. And as Rob pointed out, embracing this approach doesn’t necessarily mean more budget. It’s simply a smarter way to maximize your current funds.
“This pandemic is as much a people crisis as it is a health crisis,” observed Behavioral Grooves Podcast host Kurt Nelson. He and co-host Tim Houlihan teamed up to provide HR leaders guidelines on how organizations should work with employees to navigate this crisis effectively. As they see it, there are several stressors that can impact employee performance. In more than 20 interviews with various scientists, authors, and business leaders, Tim and Kurt found that stress and isolation lead to reduced focus, limited cognitive ability, increased use of heuristics and habits, and emotional fatigue. According to Tim, if employees are feeling this stress, “they won’t produce, they won’t be effective in their jobs.” Companies must create a plan for how to deal with the emotional – as well as the health – side of the pandemic. The best way to do so? Create an Emotional Playbook. Kurt believes “leaders have a really important job because they set the tone by putting this playbook together,” so it’s critical to get right.
There’s science behind hope and resilience, according to London Business School Professor Kathleen O’Connor. As she sees it, hope is more than just a feeling; it’s action-oriented. “Those who report feeling more hopeful do two things: They shift their goals and they find new pathways of getting there.” A hopeful employee is a resilient employee – exactly what companies are looking for right now. According to Kathleen, resilient people tend to have three things in common: acceptance of reality, a deep belief that life is meaningful, and an ability to improvise. A resilient workforce resists the urge to dwell on the unknown and instead focuses on reality. By focusing only on things within your power, “you grab back that sense of control that’s so important for feeling hopeful and not helpless.” Resilience comes once you believe that life has meaning – that’s where promoting a strong culture of gratitude in the workplace can help. As we navigate the future of work, frequent validation and recognition can serve as an anchor.
Equal pay for equal work may seem obvious to enlightened business leaders, but achieving parity is not as easy as it sounds. In this session, a multidisciplinary expert panel examined the need for and the pathway to pay parity. Pay equity comes down to compensating employees equally for performing similar duties regardless of race, gender, or disability. For organizations looking to uncover pay discrepancies, it’s important leaders understand their end goal and engage either a pay gap analysis or a pay equity analysis. The difference? According to Attorney Michelle Duncan, a pay gap analysis “is really just an overarching comparison.” A pay equity analysis, on the other hand, answers “whether there are unexplained pay differences among folks who are doing similar work, while accounting for job-related factors.” What if pay discrepancies are found? Is leadership clear on how they want to address it? When done thoroughly, a successful analysis can help organizations on the road to a more equitable workplace. Because in the end, pay parity moves us closer toward a more inclusive and human workplace.
“All of a sudden, everything changed,” observed global industry analyst Josh Bersin. “And the impact on HR has been life-changing for most of us.” That’s the background for what Josh calls “the big reset.” He notes that these unprecedented times will compel HR leaders to redefine how they approach work, economy, leadership, trust, and the very role of HR itself. In his view, HR leaders need to create a sense of positivity and well-being in the organization. They need to give workers a sense of “cadence” to help them thrive in the difficult times ahead. The pandemic has changed leadership roles, principles, and values; and in many companies, there is an increased focus on key personality traits and values: patience, kindness, empathy, listening, and joy. Those are all leadership characteristics that drive personal and organizational success in these times. As Josh puts it, “Trust is the new business currency.”
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