We can define remunerations as compensation for employment services. Remuneration can include hourly wages, fringe benefits, salary compensations, and other forms of compensation such as stock options and cash bonuses. Strategies differ across industries and companies.
A company’s remuneration strategy, or compensation strategy, serves as the basis for planning and addressing compensation issues throughout the organization. Compensation strategies vary across industries and even within companies, depending on the nature of the work and the level of the employee in the hierarchy. Remuneration strategies should include both long-term and short-term incentives, and should include both monetary and non-monetary compensation.
For instance, a remuneration strategy should entail a mixture of long-term and short-term incentives, and a mixture of monetary and non-monetary compensation. Lower level employees should receive more short-term monetary incentives, and to a lesser degree long-term non-monetary compensation. Whereas senior employees should receive a greater proportion of long-term non-monetary compensation, and to a lesser degree short-term monetary compensation.
The most basic type of remuneration is periodic compensation. Under this type of pay plan, compensate workers for spending time at work. Pay rates can differ due to skill, seniority, or education level. With this type of remuneration, there is no direct connection between performance and compensation. Motivate the workers with the prospects of being promoted to a higher pay rate, and avoid demotion and dismissal.
In certain work environments, it is more appropriate to evaluate and compensate employees based on performance and results. Examples of performance based incentives include merit pay, contingent pay, and piece rate pay.
Merit pay is an incremental pay increase achieved after reaching a certain performance level. For example, merit pay is a pay raise. Contingent pay refers to pay received after achieving a specific objective. Contingent pay may complement a base-salary or wage. An example of contingent pay is a bonus received for hitting a certain sales target. Piece rate pay refers to a flat rate earned for completion of individual units of production or work. For example, a seamstress in a shoe factory might earn a certain monetary amount per shoe. That is piece rate pay.
Another form of incentive based on performance is commission. Employees working on commission earn income based on sales of company products. For a more detailed look at issues regarding commission, see the section below entitled Sales Commission Structures.
A profit sharing policy at a company encourages the employees to consider the overall goals and performance of the organization. Profit sharing may be earned as cash, shares of company stock, stock options, or stock appreciation rights. It may be earned in the current period or it may be deferred to a later period. Allocate profit shares among employees based on seniority or other criteria. The idea is to incentivize employees to strive towards success and performance not only at their own individual level but for the company as a whole.
Employees also benefit from and appreciate non-financial forms of compensation. Examples of non-financial remuneration include awards for recognition, a pleasant work environment, opportunities for advancement, employee buy-in in decision-making processes, perks, and fringe benefits.
Offer employees performance based incentives as part of their compensation. For example, many salespeople work on commission. These sales people earn a certain percentage of each sale and therefore motivates them to sell more. But there are some issues to consider when establish the sales commission structure of employee compensation.
Many companies offer salespeople commission as a percentage of the selling price of the product being sold. This essentially motivates the salesperson to focus on selling the most expensive products so as to earn the highest amount of commission. However, this may not always be the best thing for the company as a whole since the most expensive products may not be the most profitable items.
One way to effectively incentivize sales employees in a way that maximizes the company’s profitability is to pay commission based on a percentage of the product’s contribution margin. Define contribution margin as selling price minus variable production cost. A product with a higher contribution margin is more profitable than a product with a lower contribution margin. Incentivizing sales employees to sell the products with the highest contribution margins – regardless of the selling price – can align the goals of the salespeople with the overall goals of the company.
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Barfield, Jesse T., Michael R. Kinney, Cecily A. Raiborn. “Cost Accounting Traditions and Innovations,” West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN, 1994.