The leader’s journey comes with struggles for everyone, and especially so during times of instability like now. With COVID-19 encouraging or requiring all nonessential workers to stay home, and the virus adversely affecting the global economy, you’ve likely had to rethink the ways you engage and compensate your employees.
Being a leader involves pinpointing the best ways to ensure employees are fulfilled and doing their job, along with keeping track of and implementing essential programs that continue to benefit the organization in the long run. The work environment you foster should also provide the foundation for employees to embark on their own leadership journey— this is essential for any organization that wants to grow. You’ve done well when you attract others who can successfully make their own paths going forward.
This is all easier said than done. As a growing leader, you might find yourself questioning your own methods and reluctant to ask for help. However, with research and experience, you soon realize that this self-doubt is normal and that you’re in fact learning with every right and wrong move you make. This is when leaders can truly be confident in their decisions and inspire others to lead as well.
At Astron Solutions, we work with nonprofits and other growing organizations to support their HR and compensation needs. With over 20 years of experience in assisting organizations manage their employees, we believe we can bring some insight to other growing leaders like you. In this guide, we’ll be reviewing the following tips to help during this time:
- Consider your employees’ needs
- Invest in dedicated HR software
- Partner with a consultant
For any growing organization, a dedicated HR and compensation strategy is the key to ensuring employees stay satisfied, continue to bring value to the table, and are empowered to develop their own leadership skills. After all, your approach to HR and compensation reflects how much you value your employees’ contributions, both financially and figuratively. Read on as we walk through some of the top ways to form that strategy and effectively implement it. Let’s begin.
1. Consider your employees’ needs.
To truly succeed at leading your organization, you have to genuinely listen to and understand your employees’ needs. This is the top way to ensure employee retention and foster a community that encourages growth and leadership.
With a global pandemic and mass social movements affecting almost all aspects of life, your employees are looking to you more than ever for next actions. This is a great time to review your current HR and compensation strategy and determine if you’re doing all you can to support your employees effectively.
Compensation directly affects your ability to attract, engage, and retain the talent your organization needs to sustain itself and is a critical component for success. Each of these elements is critical for forming the long-term relationships necessary for growing leaders.
During this time, your compensation strategy has likely already been impacted in terms of payroll and your rewards budget. Coronavirus has affected many businesses and the overall economy, so it’s safe to assume that your financial situation looks different than it did a year ago. If so, when reviewing your compensation strategy, consider taking a total rewards approach.
The Total Rewards Approach to Compensation
Total Rewards of compensation includes both the direct and indirect forms of compensation that an employee receives when working with your organization. While direct compensation (like pay) ensures that your employees are fairly compensated for the work they put in, it’s often the more indirect forms of compensation that drive an individual to stay engaged over the long run.
In times of instability like this, it’s worth it, as a leader, to review your own current approach to Total Rewards. Consider your employees’ needs past the finances and truly understand the value your organization is providing your staff.
Here are some examples of indirect compensation that drive meaningful value for employees:
- Health benefits like medical, dental, and vision. Your compensation plan should encompass additional benefits (if you have them). These programs are some of the best ways to attract and retain your employees, as the plans ensure your employees that they can build a stable future with your organization.
- Wellness opportunities like a gym membership. Wellness programs are a great way to boost your employee compensation. People will love the opportunity to get healthy, and exercising is a great way to boost mood and job performance.
- Retirement/401(k) plans. Plans that help prepare employees for the future are a top way to increase retention rates. They not only give employees a sense of stability, but the plan also lets employees know that their leader is truly looking out for them.
- Paid time off (PTO) benefits. Everyone needs a break from their job, especially your hardworking employees. Make sure you lay out a comprehensive and detailed paid time off plan so that employees know how to best request PTO
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. CSR programs are implemented by employers to showcase their philanthropic side. This not only ensures that your organization gives back to those in need, but also shows your employees that they are working in a place that promotes social good. Some common CSR programs include matching gifts, volunteerism, and environmental leadership. To learn more about how your organization can start utilizing CSR programs, check out this comprehensive Double the Donation guide.
By taking the time to truly understand what your employees enjoy and want from your organization, you can uncover values and improve your compensation strategy going forward. A solid compensation strategy is essential for the kind of long-term retention you need to grow leaders internally and to ensure dedicated, sustainable leadership for your organization.
2. Invest in dedicated HR software.
Many organizations have made the move to work from home and are now weighing their options for their long term plans. While this ensures that all employees are safely social distancing and prioritizing their health, this can definitely cause struggles around how you lead your business going forward.
Even when in the office, it can be hard ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Now, with everyone physically apart, it’s even more difficult to keep track of employees and what they’re doing. And if you do decide to make changes to your compensation policy, it’s crucial that everyone is aware of the differences and that you can track how it’s affecting them. That’s why it’s essential that you invest in dedicated talent management software.
Talent management software is an effective way for organizations of all sizes to ensure that HR policies and compensation strategies are put into action. Talent management tools can help with things like managing benefits, performance reviews, and leadership development opportunities.
As a leader of your organization, talent management software helps you oversee your employees’ performance and development from the top-down. Further, it can let employees gain a more comprehensive view of the organization and its processes. Truly understanding how all operations work is a great stepping stone to those seeking a leadership role.
If this is something you think your organization can benefit from, we urge you to research the best solution that fits your needs. Often, growing organizations benefit more from a comprehensive software platform rather than multiple piecemeal solutions. This way, the software can grow as your organization does.
No matter what, ensure that your talent management software solution has the following capabilities:
- Performance management tools that let you store notes and keep track of scoring during employee meetings
- Exit interview questionnaires to gain a better understanding of an employee’s experience if they do decide to leave
- Compensation management to ensure that each of your employees is receiving what they deserve based on performance, length of service, or other job related factors
- Job evaluation systems and pay grading structures that you can customize within the software
- Incentive and commissions tracking that are automated based on organizational and employee performance
- Total Rewards statements for each employee based on data that are automatically pulled from your compensation database
- Gamification and Recognition features that work to engage employees using a system of points and rewards
- A Cloud-based structure to ensure that everyone can access what they need from the comfort of their own homes or when on the road
With so many employees working remotely, it’s hard to lead your organization and understand the effects on all employees. Centralizing performance data within talent management software and creating organizational charts of all positions makes it much easier to identify individuals and keep track of emerging opportunities. With more insights into what keeps employees engaged and where they can develop their skills, you gain a clearer picture on how to grow internal leaders.
3. Partner with a consultant.
No matter what, this is a tough time for all organization leaders. The leader’s journey is often filled with moments of doubt and uncertainty, and many may feel hesitant to ask for any type of assistance. However, sometimes getting help from a professional is just what you need to prevent staff turnover and maximize success for your organization.
Now might be the right time to look to HR consulting firms to help with your compensation strategy. These are the people who will best aid you during this time and help lead your employees. After all, your HR and compensation strategies are crucial to ensuring your employees are happy and that your organization can grow.
Working with an HR consulting firm is not only a decision to help operations now, but also a huge investment for continued growth in the future. No matter what, the consultants you choose to work with should take the time to genuinely understand the unique needs of you and your employees. Here are some of the top ways a HR consultant might help your organization:
- Improve employee communication
- Develop performance management and on-going coaching and feedback tools
- Help with policy development
- Develop new or updated pay grades
- Work on a broader compensation strategy update
- Create a sales compensation program
Plus, consultants can help you develop strategies specifically for developing and coaching other leaders in your organization.
There are many different types of consulting firms out there, each with their own specialties and knowledge base. Ensure that the one you invest in lines up with your goals as a leader. For a list of top HR firms you might be interested in, read this guide.
Leading your organization isn’t just about accomplishing business goals. A true leader is able to foster other capable leaders. You do that by providing employees with a valuable work experience that sets them up to grow.
That’s why we urge you to take a look at your own HR and compensation policies, as well as the tools you use to implement them. Fostering an environment of motivated and hard-working employees sets the organization up for success now and in the future.
Jennifer C. Loftus is a Founding Partner of and National Director for Astron Solutions, a compensation consulting firm. Jennifer has 23 years of experience garnered at organizations including the Hay Group, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Eagle Electric Manufacturing Company, and Harcourt General.