High Performance Pay: Fast Forward to Business Success

Chowdhury G. Hossan (Department of Management and Marketing, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 23 May 2008



Hossan, C.G. (2008), "High Performance Pay: Fast Forward to Business Success", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 484-486. https://doi.org/10.1108/mrn.2008.31.6.484.1



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The changing nature of economics of doing business is making it more complicated to design a sustainable total rewards system. Most of the rewards frameworks that have been developed over the last three decades are now in need for a major tune up to be sustainable. This book presents a practical approach to re‐design the rewards system based on individual performance of employees. The five parts of the text has addressed nearly all the components required to design effective total rewards system and provided systematic action strategies to put effective rewards system into action. The award‐winning authors of this book have shared their knowledge from over 20 years of experience as pay and rewards consultants. This text, in many contexts, reflects practical insights that arise from authors’ active involvement in the industry.

High Performance Pay: Fast Forward to Business Success offered systematic analysis of rewards system in the organization and used individual performance as a basis for incentive system design. This text is more of a guidebook or action book that targeted each of the employees reward issues and presented actionable solutions. This text has attempted to divide the total rewards system design into five parts. This text begins with the process of identifying talented people in the organization and ways to make the organization attractive to the talented people. This text covers different types of companies and offered variable base payments and incentives starting from sales people to the top executives. This text also focuses on the complex issues of change management and alternatives to face forthcoming changes in work places.

This book has primarily written for HR practitioners, consultants, CEO's and mangers responsible to attract and maintain talented professionals in their organization. Students who are studying human resources management will find this book as a unique opportunity to learn practical approaches to deal with designing performance‐based payment system and can use this book as a supplementary reading.

The book has 18 chapters divided into five parts. Chapter one of part I, Winning the Battle for Superkeepers discusses the strategies to identify high performers in the organization based on skill, performance and competency. The second chapter Creating a Powerful Customized Workplace Rewards Brand looks into the organizational perspective and suggest ways to make the organization attractive to the people they want. The third chapter of part I Fixing Performance Management: A Key Priority talks about creating a management system based on the performance of employees. Part II of this text has three chapters focusing on designing incentive system to boost up performance. Chapter four Powering up Incentives for the Fast‐Moving Economy discusses incentive‐based total reward system and highlights different strategies for different kind of business. The subsequent chapter of part II Revisiting Effective Incentive Design: Still the Major ROI Reward Opportunity discusses principles and practices for incentive design for making optimum return on every dollar spent. The last chapter of second part is Best Practice Incentives for Contact Centers and Distribution Centers: Driving Customer Satisfaction has identified contact centers as an increasingly important part of business for many companies and has underlined on the effective individual performance‐based incentive design and career advancing path. Part three of this text draws around the base pay system re‐design. Chapter 7 Can Base Pay Reward Performance? is about base pay increase based on the performance. Chapter 8 Measuring the Value of Work suggested alternative methods for job valuations. The following three chapters Competencies and Rewards, Assessing the value of Skilled‐Based Pay, and Business Value, Paying for Skill and the Internet address the issue of assessing the competencies of employees and designing the payment system based on skill and competencies they have achieved and rewards accordingly. Part four of the text has five chapters. First three chapters Sales Reward Solutions, Executive compensation: Doing the right “Heavy‐Lifting, and Executive compensation with non‐profit: Rewarding excellence and ensuring governance presents directions to move towards high performance by designing effective sales compensation and executive compensation programs. Fifteenth chapter Pay for Performance Works: The U.S. Postal Service Presents a Powerful Business Case show evidence of how performance based rewards system turned the losing concern in to a profitable concern. The last chapter of part four Evaluating Human Resource Pay and Rewards Computer and Web Products provides a guideline for evaluating computer‐based system for rewards solutions. In part five, last two chapters Pay Changes Going Forward, and Career Directions for Total Rewards Professionals discuss future trends in pay system and emphasized the need for designing total reward professions to meet the changing business of economics.

While many organizations want to differentiate between high performer and low performer among their employees, the formal process of identification is not often very simple. This text at the very beginning highlighted a systematic and step‐by‐step process to distinguish high performers in the organization. I have found that process described is standard and well organized and can be applicable in most of the organizations. This text has recognized the fact that the processes of identification of talents are not same in all industry and has provided directions covering different industrial contexts. This text does not limit itself only looking at the employees rather enlarges its spotlight on the ways to enhance attractiveness of the organization itself. This book has highlighted differences exits among companies and has suggested alternatives for each different type of organization in designing rewards system. Business process outsourcing is a common phenomena for many business now a days and this text also covers how to design performance‐based incentives into those contact centers and distribution centers since those centers profoundly influence on the company's overall performance.

Inclusion of some cases, incidents and exercises in the discussion would make this book more interesting. Some references to the relevant empirical research in the human resource could make the argument presented more practical and compelling. Some people may argue this text has always favored paying to the person rather then the job. Concluding sections of some chapters would have been more comprehensible if it would include summaries of the discussion. In some instance, there are scopes for improving sub‐headings to make them more reflective to the discussion. Use of technology in skill‐based payment design have been covered in a couple of chapters. However, the discussion has lacking from illustration to such practical systems are being in use. While the problem of having low performing employees are well recognize in this text, I look forward to see more details strategies on how a company can get relief from of low performing employees.

This book is featured with simplicity of presentation and lucidity in discussions. Analysis of this text adopted a straightforward approach to the problems and presented step‐by‐step action plans for each of the problem. I would say readers without prior experience of reading HR literatures would not face any dilemma in comprehending this book. Each of the chapter has addressed very specific issues of rewards system and carefully restricted itself in discussion around the center of the issue. Principles and guidelines suggested in this text are action oriented.

I would reiterate that the biggest strength of this text is its simplicity of presentation and focusing on step‐by‐step approach to all complex matter like designing rewards system. This book will act as a comprehensive manual for the managers of people in deciding rewards system. All the human resource professionals should have a read of this text before it is too late for the organization ending up with an unsustainable rewards system and losing their key talents.

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