CIPD Reward Conference, London, UK, May 25-26, 2011

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 18 October 2011



Cotton, C. (2011), "CIPD Reward Conference, London, UK, May 25-26, 2011", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

CIPD Reward Conference, London, UK, May 25-26, 2011

Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 6

An employer’s ability to use pay and reward effectively to attract, retain and engage talented and skilled individuals is a key challenge in today’s competitive market place. The two-day Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Reward Conference got to the bottom of this issue, as well as highlighting other challenges faced by organizations, giving HR and reward practitioners an opportunity to engage in assessing and evaluating the impact of reward.

Balancing needs of business, customers and employees

Key findings from this year’s CIPD Reward Management survey, produced in partnership with Benefex, were presented at the opening of the conference by the conference chair, Katharine Turner, who also acts as CIPD vice president, reward. Particular highlights were that just under two-thirds (65 percent) of employers have, or are planning to, increase base pay in 2011 and that a quarter (26 percent) have, or will freeze pay.

However, this is against a backdrop of slow, uncertain and patchy economic growth, high inflation and low wage growth. The issue of how to balance the needs of the business, customers and employees underpinned the conference as speakers and delegates used the two days to look at reward and the year ahead, including issues such as reward and its role in the management of talented employees, the 2012 pension reforms, pay, productivity and performance.

The conference then heard from Dennis Turner, chief economist, HSBC, who used the findings from the survey to share his forecasts for 2011-2012. He predicted that the UK would not go into double-dip, but would experience a “U” shaped recovery, built on long-term, slow growth and muted pay rises.

A successful approach

One highlight was a case study presentation from Manchester City Football Club and Innecto Reward Consulting, which was hired to design and implement a talent reward program for the football players. At the conference, Debbie Rees, director of Consulting at Innecto, was able to relate some of the insights and apply them to more general business. Its original approach to developing talent, the “three group approach,” involves the following three distinct stages:

  1. 1.

    The academy stage – organizations must first identify potential talent and nurture it.

  2. 2.

    The reserve team stage – organizations must then select the most skilled people out of the group.

  3. 3.

    The first team stage – organizations must develop their star players into effective employees.

This approach allows an organization to clearly identify potential talent and nurture it to fruition, allowing it to create targeted reward schemes.

Discussing a range of reward strategies

Discussions during the conference highlighted the importance of finding the right rewards for individuals and groups of employees and then communicating these clearly. Macdonald’s demonstrated how it has been able to link reward with improved productivity, by linking reward to performance.

Highlighting business goals and linking these to the reward strategy has also proved positive for Capital One in its drive to improve the customer experience. By listening to its employees and introducing some of the benefits they asked for, such as a gym and restaurant on site, it was able to improve the work environment and thereby the customer’s experience.

Sessions on the second day included a detailed discussion on global reward strategy and the intricacies of designing and implementing a global reward strategy. An experienced panel advised those developing a global reward strategy to factor in different cultural needs and political and legal considerations. At the same time it was advised that the strategy needs to be consistent with the over-arching goals and objectives of the whole organization.

Creativity and innovation required

The main conclusion overall was that in the competitive environment employers have to focus more than ever on creative and innovative ways to maximize the impact of reward, through linking it to performance and finding new and innovative ways, even sometimes non-financial, to recognize contribution. The conference and subsequent discussions showed that most HR and reward professionals are committed to devising and communicating effective reward plans for the future, helping organizations create competitive edge through their people.

Charles CottonCIPD Reward Adviser.

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