The secret to reward management is a steady strategy
Amid continued strike action affecting key sectors within South Africa, a discussion on reward management is appropriate and relevant to the current socio-economic climate. The South African Reward Association (SARA) hosted its annual conference in Midrand to discuss the impact of continuous change on the industry and what is required to strengthen it.
“Reward means different things to different people, but from a commercial point of view the time has arrived for businesses to embrace the changes impacting reward management and apply specific principles to add value to the process.
It is for this reason we included ‘true cultural change’ and ‘making employee benefits more rewarding’ as topics for discussion at this year’s conference,” explains Dr Mark Bussin, SARA President.
A core component of the industry-led event focused on employer approach to rewards and, specifically, how to make employee benefits more rewarding. According to keynote speaker James Hine, Head of Business Development at Kaelo, there are several factors to consider in ensuring that there is follow-through on benefits to reward employees.
“Create comfort and protect them from risk, add appreciation and assist employees to secure the appropriate benefit options. We have to shift into retail engagement. You have the power to choose the appropriate options. Consult employees one-on-one and NOT in groups when discussing new rewards products,” he explained.
Addressing the issue of performance versus retention – which one should you pay for?, keynote speakers Sue Tosh and Dr Ronél Nienaber from Standard Bank and Sasol respectively discussed the relevance of reward programmes to penalise or reward performance.The question was put to delegates whether remuneration packages, that include items like basic salaries, short-term incentives, long-term incentives and claw backs, are all performance-based incentives or if they play a role in retention.
If the purpose of short-term incentives is to reward the employee’s performance for attaining certain objectives over short period, why are cash incentives deferred into equity over a period of up to three years? By the same token, if long-term incentives are linked to the organisation’s performance over a period of time measured in the underlying share price, why are these incentives used in retention plans; and why is additional corporate performance targets used?
These and other questions were put up for discussion as delegates and speakers interacted over reward strategies going forward – and the relevance of game-changers including national health and social security. It was confirmed that the primary reason why South Africans save is because of emergencies, followed by retirement, funeral expenses and for a deposit on a new home – and by no means, are citizens saving enough.
“Our intention with this conference was to highlight what is working well within the reward profession, what changes are affecting operations and how best to negotiate the challenges that do exist.
We believe the event was very successful and, based on feedback we have received thus far, there is a definite understanding and acknowledgement of the role that SARA will continue to play to help strengthen and support the industry,” Bussin concluded.