Compensation Insider - March 2012 posts


Published on is a blog focused on Compensation & Benefits.

I write 3 times per week, on various C&B, Performance Management, Global Mobility and Governance topics.

Given that I am based in Abu Dhabi I try to give it a Middle East approach from time to time, but trust that the topics and ideas remain relevant no matter what your regional responsibilities are.

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Compensation Insider - March 2012 posts

  1. 1. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comCompensation InsiderPosts published in March 2012 page 1 / 35
  2. 2. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - Table Of ContentsWill you meet me at these HR and Compensation events ? .......................... 3The shelf life of compensation plans .......................................... 4How are salary reviews done ? .............................................. 6Increase allowances, not basic pay ? .......................................... 8Does competency-based performance management really work ? .................... 11Is social performance management coming out of the closet ? ....................... 13The 3 final steps to your bonus calculations .................................... 15How to do it in Excel .................................................... 17Enhance your Google search skills for Compensation research ...................... 24Four womens influence on my career ........................................ 27How to be a Compensation leader - even without a title ........................... 30Spring cleaning : 4 tips to declutter your work ................................. 33 page 2 / 35
  3. 3. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comWill you meet me at these HR and Compensation events ? am delighted to announce that I have been invited to speak at 2 upcoming conferences that will takeplace in Dubai soon. At the Human Assets Expansion Middle East Summit (May 21 to 23, 2012), I will present a keynote about aligning Performance Management with the business strategy. I have not finalised my presentation yet, so if there are points you think I should include, please share your suggestions in the comments section ! At the 16th Compensation & Benefits Forum from IIRME (June 17 to 21, 2012), I will be speaking about "Developing reward strategies to attract, grow and retain a very mobile National workforce". Emiratisation and Nationalisation are topics dear to my heart so I look forward to sharing some ideas with the audience.On the Thursday, I will also facilitate a one-day post-conference workshop covering "Practical steps toimplement strategic retention and recognition schemes to boost employee engagement and businessperformance".Finally, I am very excited to say that Compensation Insider has been selected as official blog partner forthe Forum ! I will definitely cover my topics in posts after the event so that my readers who cantparticipate still get an idea of the conversation.I hope you will have a chance to attend either of these events, and we will connect in person - pleasemake sure to introduce yourself ! _______________________________________________ page 3 / 35
  4. 4. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comThe shelf life of compensation plans of my friends contacted me recently, complaining that the Sales Incentive Plan that his companyintroduced a little over 4 years ago, does not seem to "work" any longer.The Sales people are notmotivated, results are down and employees are complaining about how their incentive is structured. Heeven says that it is whispered that the plan is not helping push the exciting new products and services thatwere launched recently and employees have found ways to maximise their pay results, often against thecompanys best interest.The Sales Incentive Plan used to be a great success at the organisation, having generated a lot of intereston the part of the salesforce, and helped drive big achievements in the products the company wanted tofocus on. So he was wondering what was going on.Well, this is a reminder about Compensation & Benefits programmes, and some of their limits.All C&B and HR plans have a shelf life, and need to be re-examined on a regular basis.Your incentives, benefits, allowances... will lose on their motivational impact because as human beings,we all get used to even the best plans, and will lose interest if something new is not introduced tomaintain our attention. Companies change, strategic focus changes, and if you dont review your plans ona regular basis, you also run the risk of losing on their organisational impact, because they may not befit-for-purpose any longer.This is most probably what happened to the Sales Incentive Plan at my friends company. The decreasedresults and gaming taking place to maximise personal results are a sure sign that it is time for them tofully review their incentive scheme. It may have been a great plan, but today it does not help deliver theresults that they are looking for. So it needs to be totally re-assessed, and redesigned to fulfill their needsof today - not the needs of yesterday.There is no point in keeping a plan alive "because of the past". Analyse what made it successful at thatpoint in time, learn from it, adapt these elements to your current needs, and introduce a new plan that willhopefully deliver the same great results to your organisation. Time for the Compensation professional tomove into design mode !Enjoyed this post ? Why don’t you subscribe by email or RSS to make sure you receive my articles 3times per week ?Related posts : Analyse my SIP ! Why am I not on the Sales Incentive Plan ? page 4 / 35
  5. 5. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - What happens when an employee moves from Sales to non Sales ? _______________________________________________ page 5 / 35
  6. 6. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comHow are salary reviews done ? are salary reviews done ? Is it done organisation wide (i.e all staff at once) or based on performanceand other parameters ?This is a question that HR professionals as well as line managers are likely to hear numerous times. Hereis a general overview.Most companies do salary reviews for all employees at the same time, although a minority oforganisations review salaries upon anniversary of the employee hire date.Companies have multiple options when it comes to reviewing the salaries of their employees. Read thispost for an idea of how the budget for salary increases is determined. Basically the organisation looksboth externally and internally.This will inform how much money can be spent to review the salaries of the employees.Once they know how much to spend, the company can either : give the same increase to all employees (or, in a variation, to categories of employees. For example, blue collars all get 3% in a manufacturing company, while the white collars all get 1.5%). AND/OR give individual increases to employees. The criteria for deciding the individual increases can be fully discretionary, or based on one or more elements.The most common criteria for merit increases are the performance rating of the employee, the currentbase pay of the employee and its position in the salary range for the job (the salary band that the companydeems acceptable - this position is often called comparatio), and the market ratio (how well the employeeis paid compared to market).There are numerous other elements which an organisation may consider such as : retention risk, "hot skills", potential of the employee, or adjustment to market values (above and beyond the regular salary increase) for example.They can also be things like seniority, tenure in the company, acquiring skills / education or belonging to a special group of employees. page 6 / 35
  7. 7. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comIn short there are multiple parts at play here, and each company will have a different philosophy andapproach defined to support its current business needs and strategy.Enjoyed this post ? Why don’t you subscribe by email to make sure you receive my articles 3 times perweek ?Related posts : What to consider for salary planning Increase allowances, not basic pay ? The best order in which to apply salary increases in any organisation Merit increase or bonus, how do you reward performance ? _______________________________________________ page 7 / 35
  8. 8. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comIncrease allowances, not basic pay ?"Why do some organisations only increase allowances not basic pay at salary review ?". This questionwas asked recently on LinkedIn, and even though the person asking is based in India, I thought I wouldanswer for my readers based in the GCC.Review of the allowancesAt the company level, most often, there is an annual review of the allowances to ensure they are still inline with the market. Companies pay either a single, lump sum allowance or the traditional multipleallowances. Whichever the method, the main allowances being compared to market are housing,transportation, furniture and education (sometimes paid separately form the single lump sum) as they aretraditionally the largest allowances, and compose the main reference points for the establishment of thesingle allowance.So - the company compares allowances to market. They may decide to review some upwards, othersdownwards and leave yet some others at the same level. For instance, in the past year, housing costscontinued to fall in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but at the same time, education costs rose over 30%. Yetcompanies only increased the education allowances by 8% on average.The changes in allowances apply to all employees eligible for the allowance, no matter their performanceand pay level. So all eligible employees would receive the potential increase in allowances.Review of basic payThe allowance analysis is, however, independent from salary review, which touches employees at anindividual level most of the time.A company may decide not to spend any money on salary increases and have no budget for salary review,for any number of reasons : The employees are already paid above the target position to market (eg : average employee pay is at 65% of market, while the company targets the median). This impacts production costs and needs to be contained if the company is to maintain or improve its competitiveness. The company is suffering losses or strongly reduced profit and decides on a salary freeze in order to contain costs. The whole industry (or the global economy) is suffering and no-one is providing increases on basic pay.In those cases, no-one sees a change on their basic pay. Some companies may decide to freeze basic paybut provide lump sum payouts or bonuses, as these do not increase the long-term costs of the companyyet still reward employees for their performance. page 8 / 35
  9. 9. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comFor companies that do have a salary review budget, there are again multiple scenarios : page 9 / 35
  10. 10. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - The company provides cost-of-living or general increase (or any other name of an increase that applies equally to all employees or whole categories of employees). In that case, all eligible employees receive an increase on basic pay. If the company does not have a policy of cost-of-living, then only individual increases apply. They are usually called merit increase. There are 2 cases where an employee may not get an individual raise on their basic pay : 1. The person is not having a good enough performance rating, and the sanction is to not get an increase on the basic pay. 2. OR the person is a high performer with an already high salary in which case basic pay may be frozen and instead a lump sum may be paid out. No increase on long-term costs, while at the same time the employee receives the same amount recognising their performance.In both cases, only the allowances change and there is no change of basic.In conclusion, as you can see, there are a number of situations where a company may decide not toincrease the basic pay while they review the allowances. It can be either linked to an overall companydecision affecting all employees, or to a decision linked to an individual employees situation.Can you think of other situations in which an employee would get an increase on allowances but not onbasic pay ? Please feel free to share them in the comments ! Related posts : The best order in which to apply salary increases in any organisation What to consider for salary planning ? Merit increase or bonus, how do you reward performance ? _______________________________________________ page 10 / 35
  11. 11. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comDoes competency-based performance management really work ? 2 years ago there was an interesting question on LinkedIn : "Does competency based approach atperformance management really work ? Why ?".It did not gather many responses, yet this is a question that arises in many organisations when they decidethat their performance management system does not really live up to their expectations. Competencies areen vogue as a softer model in the organisation, and many consider tying them to the performanceappraisal system.Leanne Markus provided an excellent comment on the link between competencies and performancemanagement :Competency and performance should not be confused. Competency is a requirement for successfulperformance - it is not performance. Performance management should be based on expected results.There is an argument that competency can be regarded as the "how" and results the "what" ofperformance. By definition professional people are those who have autonomy and discretion in the waythey work - so a prescriptive competency based approach to performance management is not appropriatefor this group.I fully concur with the idea that competencies represent the how of performance, not performance itself.At the end of the year, what matters most ? If an employee did not reach his objectives at the end of theyear, it is a negative result for the company - you may want to recognise the effort (the how) but you cantsay that its the most important aspect of performance.I also believe that a competency model can work, but not in all cases - and most probably not as the maincomponent and objective of performance management.The competencies need first to be clearly identified and mapped to each role in the organisation. Will youapply the same competencies to all positions in your organisation (less valid approach). Will you havecompetencies tied to job families ? Competencies identified for each job separately ? Or will you givesome form of common competencies and a degree of choice between additional competencies for eachrole ? In other words : are all jobs tied to the same competencies throughout the organisation ? Are allpeople on the same job tied to the same competencies or not ? Do people in the same function share aminimum of core competencies or not ?Then, each degree of performance in your system (for example "excellent", "average", "poor") needs tobe defined for each competency with clear, unambiguous behavioural definitions.And finally, as for any performance management system, manager and employee need to agree at thebeginning of the period on what level of performance will be expected on each competency (dependingon the job some competencies are core and some are not. Depending on the seniority level, theperformance expectation will be higher or lower). page 11 / 35
  12. 12. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comAs you can see from these 3 simple points, developing a competency-based system requires hugetechnical expertise in identifying and defining the competencies and associated performance levels, andan excellent understanding of all the roles in your organisation.I would suggest a performance appraisal system to be based on competencies when you also have a strongneed to tie the performance appraisal to the skills development and career management systems in yourorganisation.A pure competency-based performance management system does not lend itself easily to a "pay forperformance" approach. How do you translate competencies into financial rewards ? So, if the focus ofyour performance management system will be on compensation, you will need to find a way to translatethe assessment of competencies into a clear financial impact for the employee.Also, the issue with basing performance management only on competencies, is that employees need tounderstand how their job contributes to the success of the organisation, how it "fits". This is called line ofsight. Compentencies do not allow easily for that, while a more traditional approach with clear objectivesgives more of an opportunity to understand this line of sight. And a Management By Objectives approachmakes it easier to tie performance and rewards for example.In short, it depends what the ultimate and primary goal of your performance management system is. Ifyou want to focus performance management on growth and development, then a focus on competencieswill help. If you want to implement a pay-for-performance culture, then the primary focus should be onthe deliverables assessed through objectives being reached or not. Not two companies can have the samesystem in place, nor do they get the same results.Enjoyed this post ? Why don’t you subscribe by email to make sure you receive my articles 3 times perweek ?Related posts :How do you link performance management and a performance-driven culture ?The Formula One effect on performance managementTo do peer ranking or not to do peer ranking ?Merit increase or bonus, how do you reward performance ? _______________________________________________ page 12 / 35
  13. 13. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comIs social performance management coming out of the closet ? the end of 2011, acquired Rypple, a provider of objective setting, feedback andrecognition software. is a vendor of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and expanded into HRwith this acquisition. Last week, they announced their first new product, named "Salesforce Rypple".This service is focused on social performance management. What does it mean ? The idea is to imitate theway that people now live their life online and integrate some of those aspects into the (usually dreaded)performance management cycle.As the official press release states, "Salesforce Rypple allows companies to engage and align everyemployee -- to set goals, manage objectives, and provide feedback and recognition -- all from within theiremployee social network. Designed for users, Salesforce Rypple thoughtfully incorporates badges andother social gaming concepts to keep them engaged."For example they offer the opportunity for instant feedback and recognition not just from the manager butfrom any other employee. The use of Thank You "badges" for recognition is similar to those you wouldget in games or for using FourSquare. You can ask for help or feedback from others in the organisation atany point in time. There is also a sharing function to allow recognition and feedback to go viral, and aFacebook-like look and feel with a timeline / newsfeed with possibility to add comments. And of course,all of this, being on the cloud, is accessible from any device so that you dont have to be at work on yourcomputer, in order to access and participate.Check the video of the announcement a few days ago, it is less than 5 minutes and gives a better idea ofthe system (basically it is Rypple as before the acquisition, but integrated into so if youalready use this CRM for your sales population for example, they can access Rypple without having toleave Salesforce - great for instant recognition on achieving sales quota or closing a major deal forexample).YouTube VideoIt sounds like Performance Management is finally entering the 21st century and adapting to how a lot ofus, and especially Gen Y, are behaving online. A lot of instant feedback. Transparency. Capitalising onand expanding informal communities. Mobility.Great ! I love the idea as it totally supports the concept of performance management being a continuousprocess - not the once-a-year, it-is-such-a-pain exercise that most employees and managers reluctantly gothrough "because HR wants/needs it".Now, I have to say that I also have some questions. The first one is a very "HR" one - I still need an page 13 / 35
  14. 14. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comoverall performance rating at the end of the year, preferably so that I can produce pay-for-performanceresults in the form of either salary reviews or incentive payouts (or both). And, while at it, an integrationwith a training needs analysis / development plan is nice too. I have not tested Rypple so I dont knowhow it integrates with some of the more traditional aspects of performance management software, so Illkeep it at that.More importantly, I wonder how the system works in the case of constructive feedback. Not everyone isgood at giving it. Not everyone is good at receiving it either. And if you throw in "transparency", ie thiscan be public, you add a layer of potential embarrassment. Not nice in any situation, but even more whenthe regional culture emphasises face-saving.Another cultural aspect may slow the adoption of such a tool in the GCC. The management style at manyorganisations is still pretty traditional, focused on top-down communication. There is rarely feedbackrequested from others. A lot of managers dont meet regularly with their employees, and a lot ofemployees dont ask for one-on-ones either. But a system like Rypple requires transparency, moreinformal relationships, and the willingness (both from manager and from employee) to engage in a morefrequent and open exchange. And even the best tool will never work if the intended audience does notadhere to the concept and refuses to use the system as planned.What do you think ? Have you used Rypple or a similar software ? Is the region ready for the arrival ofsocial performance management ? Please share your thoughts in the comments section !Related posts : How do you link performance management and a performance-driven culture ? What are the benefits of a good Performance Management system ? Does competency-based performance management really work ? _______________________________________________ page 14 / 35
  15. 15. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comThe 3 final steps to your bonus calculations bonus time and you have prepared all your calculations as per the rules laid out. Before going to yourCEO to show her the numbers, go through this checklist to ensure you have covered most angles andprovide value to the discussion.Check the eligibility list one last time. Who are your new joiners ? Do you prorate bonus for them, andif so, did you check that this was incorporated into your formulas ? Conversely, some companies decidethat even if an employee has worked the whole year, they have to be still employed in order to get thebonus payout. If that is the case, you should ensure that the leavers are taken off your list, includingpeople on notice period if appropriate. How do you handle your trainees ? Your international assignees ?Are there special rules for certain job families / grades / categories of employees ?Perform tests. Do a manual calculation for random employees in each of the categories for which youcalculate bonus in a different way. Check every single exception if there are any. The random tests willeither reveal some errors, which you now have time to fix before you go to the Executive LeadershipTeam, or they will give you reassurance that everything is in order.In my experience, the ELT will sometimes require some last minute changes. Often, you can anticipatesome of these because thereare often "grey" situations in bonus calculations, especially aroundexceptions and special cases. One way to support the ELT is if you run, beforehands, some what-ifscenarios. This way you will be able to come back immediately to some of their questions.Finally, compile and compare. Prepare a statiscal overview to help all parties involved understand thenumbers. The overall spend is of course useful, but rarely enough. At bare minimum, you should track : the number of eligible employees the spend by bonus pool (if you have multiple elements in your bonus calculation) the average bonus amount per employee and how much the average payout represents as a percentage of target bonus (eg : are we paying on averge 87% of target bonuses, or 112 % ?).And to make this more meaningful, compare these numbers to the past 2-3 years. Do the numbers makesense ? Are they aligned with company performance ?Having (at least partial) answers and simulations as well as statistics about the bonus spend ready beforethe meeting with the top leadership of your organisation will help accelerate the decision-making. Yes, itis a bit more work than just producing the calculations. But it is definitely worth the extra effort as it willmake you shine as a true value-adding business partner to your top management.Enjoyed this post ? Why don’t you subscribe by email to make sure you receive my articles 3 times per page 15 / 35
  16. 16. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comweek ?Related posts : From Compensation data to Compensation intelligence What to consider for salary planning 7 steps to compensation programme design - the basics 4 skills to master for influential Compensation and Benefits _______________________________________________ page 16 / 35
  17. 17. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comHow to do it in Excel todays edition of Sunday Skills I am delighted to share with you an article that was originallypublished on the excellent blog from Cole Nussbaumer, Storytelling with Data."How to do it in Excel" will show you step by step how to move from the traditional, boring line graph toone that is visually appealing and conveys the one point that you want to highlight. This is especiallyuseful in Compensation & Benefits and for presenting any other trend data in HR. Of course it applies -after all, Cole is a Manager on the People Analytics team at Google - and who could say that Google isnot good at understanding data and making the best use of it, whether for its people or for its business ?So without further ado, here it is :How to do it in ExcelOne common piece of feedback I get after presenting on the topic of data visualization goes somethinglike this: Wow, that was super useful. Im never going to use pie charts again. But when it comes to thegraphs, how do you actually make them look like that? Im not!Pretty much everything I do is in Excel. I like to refer to it as "brute-force" Excel, because in many casesthe graphing application doesnt make it so straightforward to get from plotting the data to the finalproduct. So I thought Id take a few minutes to walk step by step through an example to expose those whoquestion their Excel expertise to some of my tricks.The following example may look familiar; its from the FlowingData Challenge earlier this year (originalblog post here).Note: I havent found an eloquent way to upload the full spreadsheet to Blogger (it may be that there isntone and the formatting goes crazy when I try to upload to Google Docs), but if youd like the fullspreadsheet, feel free to email me at and Ill send it to you. page 17 / 35
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  22. 22. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comWhat you require most to get from Excels original graph to the one you actually are proud to present ispatience and time. Youll improve your odds of success by leaving ample time for the visualization step:dont rush this important piece, as its what your audience sees of all your hard work! page 22 / 35
  23. 23. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comColes bio :Cole Nussbaumer works at Google as a manager on the People Analytics team, which uses a data-drivenapproach to ensure that Google attracts and retains great people and that the organization is best alignedto meet business needs. Cole specializes in the effective display of quantitative information and hastravelled to Google offices around the world to teach her course on data visualization.Analyzing data in order to provide insight and drive action has been a common thread throughout Cole’svaried career. Prior to joining Google, she worked on several credit and repurchase risk projects withCerberus Capital Management, coaching executive management on interpretation of projections andanalyses. Before that, Cole managed operational risk and fraud management at Washington Mutual inSeattle.Cole has a BS in Applied Math and an MBA with focus in quantitative methods, both from the Universityof Washington. When she isn’t working hard as a Googler or on her consulting work with Storytellingwith Data (, Cole enjoys traveling and spending time in her kitchen,creating and blogging about her culinary adventures.Liked this post ? Why don’t you share it on LinkedIn or Facebook ? Simply click on the link below andhelp your friends and connections benefit from it too !Related posts : How to use Vlookup in Excel How to use Concatenate in Excel How to use Text to columns in Excel Even pictures have fine print _______________________________________________ page 23 / 35
  24. 24. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comEnhance your Google search skills for Compensation research all use Google at least once a day. Yet, we have never been formally trained to perform efficientsearches and apart from AND and OR, most users still type a question and hope for the "proper" answer.Lets face it, when you are looking for targeted information (like when doing specific research forCompensation & Benefits projects), this kind of approach does not always yield the results we hope andexpect.Google has published some guidelines to help users perform better searches. Theyre a good startingpoint. But then, a few months ago, through Mashable, I found a great infographic with real-life examplescreated by HackCollege. The infographic is targeted at US students, who are supposed to do a lot ofonline research for their papers and essays. Yet, as the Mashable article points out, the vast majority ofthem actually have very poor online search skills.I am happy to reproduce the infographic here, and hope you will use those tips for your future researchneeds. page 24 / 35
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  26. 26. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comCreated by: HackCollegeLiked this post ? Why don’t you share it on LinkedIn or Facebook ? Simply click on the link below andhelp your friends and connections benefit from it too !Related posts : Get laser-focused Compensation information with Alerts How RSS feeds and News Readers can help Compensation & Benefits Create the best rules in Outlook to boost your productivity Two uses of LinkedIn Groups for the Compensation professional _______________________________________________ page 26 / 35
  27. 27. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comFour womens influence on my career is International Women’s Day and I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon a few women thathave influenced my professional life.Many, many years ago I did an HR internship at French car manufacturer Renault. The company was veryadvanced in terms of HR practices, being studied in all business schools like mine especially for theirpeople best practices. At the time, Marie-Christine Caubet was leading the Sales force across thecountry (over 12,000 people if I remember well), the only female at this level of responsibility. MC2, asshe was nicknamed, was greatly respected and even a bit feared in this male-dominated environment. Shewas a fiercely intelligent woman with great presence and charisma. She was not afraid to make difficultdecisions but did not overplay on the “tough as nails” aspects. I was lucky to attend a few meetings withher, and she impressed me by her charisma, her self-confidence, her poise and her ability to command theattention of the room without having to exert much effort.Even though she was not an HR person, she became an important role model for me, as I could see that awoman could “make it” even in a macho environment like car manufacturing. She could be respected, herideas listened to and implemented. She did not have to play upon her “feminine side” nor pretend to beone of the boys in order to achieve that.A few years later, I became a full-time Compensation & Benefits manager and landed a role at a massivesemi-governmental organisation. The HR Director, Danielle R., was my first female manager. She hadbeen appointed because of her acquaintance with a (then) rising politician who could be useful for thecompany’s lobbying efforts. Her knowledge of HR was limited, which would have been OK… if she hadnot pretended to know everything and refused to ask any question. This led her to make wrong decisionson the job, which she could have avoided if she had relied on her team members’ advice. As a result, theteam could sense she did not feel confident enough to acknowledge her own limits. She tried tocompensate this by being very tough on people, routinel making employees of all levels, male andfemale, cry in her office. The team turnover was huge, with staff asking for internal transfer out andprofessionals resigning at a massive rate in HR (15 departures out of 19 employees in 18 months !).She taught me everything I did not want to be : uncaring, afraid to ask questions, unable to recognise mymistakes and blaming others for them. I also learned from her the importance and the impact that a directmanager had on their team members. The line manager is the most important component in anemployee’s perception of their job, their company, and directly drives engagement levels. Through herdisastrous management style, she taught me to focus on being a good manager to my own team, beinginclusive, looking for advice when needed, and letting my people shine in their own right.Transitioning to ladies who are part of my life today, I would like to pay tribute to my dear friend Soraya page 27 / 35
  28. 28. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comSalem. Soraya and I have know each other since the beginning of our careers, when we met at the HRdepartment of the French HQ of Philips Consumer Products. We were the only two young professionalsin the department, and rapidly hit it off on a personal level.Sixteen years on, there are many things I admire about Soraya. If I put it very bluntly, being a blackmuslim girl from an immigrant Algerian family in one of the toughest areas of France was definitely notstacking the odds in her favour in terms of her career prospects. Add to it that her family was not able toafford for higher education, and the picture gets even bleaker.Yet Soraya rose above all challenges, paidfor her education by working and studying at the same time, and eventually chose to specialise inCompensation & Benefits. After a few years of experience in France where she had to fight blatant and/orpassive discrimination, she successfully moved to the UK where her careeer blossomed.Today she is one of the few people that I turn to when I want to discuss C&B challenges. She is alwayswilling to take on a new challenge, and has always been able to establish meaningful relationships withthe business side of her organisations : she is defintely not one of the Compensation people who live intheir ivory tower far from the realities of the business ! But beyond her marvelous sense of humour andthe quality of her insights, what Soraya taught me is that if you are focused enough, if you have enoughdrive, you can grow beyond society’s expectations.… which leads me to the final person I want to mention today. Her name is Asma Al Nuaimi and she is aUAE National who works on my team. Asma is a strong female, a force to be reckoned with. She hasbeen exposed to many aspects of HR in her career to date, and has chosen to specialise in Compensation& Benefits. That in itself puts her apart in terms of career choices for UAE Nationals.She is fully expressed socially and does not hesitate to discuss her opinions and ideas in the workplace,including with the top management of the organisation. She also feels confident enough to acknowledgeher limits, and has made a conscious decision to learn and grow her skills. She is eager to incorporate newknowledge and asks for opportunities to work on stretching assignments. I have really pushed her out ofher comfort zone a few times, and even though I could see that she did not necessarily feel sure that shecould achieve everything, she took the challenges… and delivered !Through her vibrant contribution to my team, Asma reminds me every day that female Emiratis have animportant role to play in the economic future of the UAE. Beyond her curiosity, open-mindedness,capacity to give advice to others, and assertiveness, I see in her a woman whom I am proud to call myfriend, and delighted to work with every day.Most Compensation & Benefits professionals are expats in the GCC – I urge you to find at least oneAsma in each of your companies. The region has a whole generation of females who are willing tocontribute to the workplace while maintaining their all-important role at the centre of the family structure.Engage with them, and you will create a triple win situation, for you, for your employee, and for yourcountry of residence. page 28 / 35
  29. 29. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels. (Faith Whittlesay)Related post :Board and quotas - For or against them ? _______________________________________________ page 29 / 35
  30. 30. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comHow to be a Compensation leader - even without a title Sharma was in Abu Dhabi recently and I attended his seminar "Lead without a title" with myteam... and a few hundred more people. Robin is the author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and TheLeader Who Had No Title among other best-sellers, and delivered an interesting performance on (self )empowerment in work and life.He is a great speaker who masters all the right techniques to engage his audience : few slides, with fewwords so that you focus on him not the screen. Activities to do with the people sitting next to you so thatyou start to appply some of the concepts he mentions (and it does not feel too passive). Great voicecontrol, from whispering to highly nergetic. Clever use of storytelling, either through him speaking or byvideo. Appeal to logic and emotion. Repeating the more important sentences 3 or 4 times to fullyemphasize the message. Interjecting a bit of humour. All perfect, maybe even a bit too polished - Iwonder how many times he has delivered the exact same speech ?But beyond the mastery of the speaking techniques, the message was an inspiring one. Of course it wasnot geared specifically towards Compensation & Benefits folks, but the advice applies to all, junior orsenior in the organisation so I thought I would share :-)After mentioning that people on average spend more time planning their vacation than thinking abouttheir goals, he urged us to think about what we really want to achieve.He spoke about the difference between real work and busy work. Conquer you addition to distraction asdistraction and interruptions eat more than 2 hours of our life every day. There is no need to check emailconstantly ! Give people the gift of presence, your presence.We should be aware of our inner saboteur : as a child, we are taught to fit in and that creates a fear ofsuccess as we would stand out if we are successful. So we focus on busy work during our most valuablehours. As a result "most people live the same year over and over 75 times, and call it a life".Think about how you want to be remembered at the end of your life, your dreams, your values. Who didyou become ? You need to express your talent. And how many lives did you help ? Once you find outwhat is going to be the most important for you at the end of your life, then... make it the most importantnow - or you risk repeating yourself over and over again for 75 years without becoming fullyself-expressed and achieving what is truly essential to you.We also fear that if we achieve our goals, we will have to change. But "the discomfort of change isalways better than the heartbreak of stagnation". As Robin put it, if youre not feeling uncomfortable atleast once a day, you are not making much progress - this is very true, because how do we learn ?Through doing new things, and of course these take us out of our comfort zone. So think about it : thework youre avoiding may be the one with the most growth for you... Remember that "potentialunexpressed turns to pain". page 30 / 35
  31. 31. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comRobin also shared some productivity tips with the audience, to help on the way to realising our dreamsand true goals : 1. Join the 5 oclock club : get up early and focus on yourself. Do the daily 5 : What 5 things do you need to do today to make it a productive day (dont forget the "little wins") ? And at the end of the day, do the nightly 5 : what are 5 good things that happened to you today ? 2. Spend one hour per day without stimulation (TV, radio, internet, games....). This is needed for the brain to function properly and not become overloaded with information. Robin was adamant that the advice was actually based on neuroscience, not psychology, and he showed some research results supporting the recommendation. 3. Work in 90 minutes cycles + 10 minutes recovery (also based on neuroscience). 4. Get fit like Madonna 5. Eat less food 6. Get more done 7. Get a massage once a week to help reduce the stress and prolong a healthy life. He actually commanded the UAE for offering easy access to such activities, and for having so many residents that take taking care of oneself seriously.Finally, I would like to share a bunch of great leadership quotes from the seminar (with thanks to mycolleague Zouhair for helping collect them), because you dont need a title to be a leader, as "you are theCEO of your own job". Leadership is about 3 things: inspiration, influence, and impact. People may forget what you said, people may forget what you do, but they wont forget how you made them feel. Dont fall in love with the way you think. Learn to take risks. If you cannot motivate, no one sees you as a leader. The best way for people to listen to you is for you to listen to them. How good are you depends on what you do when no one is watching. Leadership is about impact no about money. Provoke people to do jobs they never thought of doing. Leave people better than you find them. If you lose conversation with your team you lose business. A job is an opportunity to show human talent (to influence others) Victims make excuses, leaders deliver results. Small daily improvements over time create extraordinary results. Focus is more important than intelligence. Work on your career not in your career. Your job as a leader is to leave a trail of leaders. Delegation is firing oneself. Victims love entertainment, leaders love education. Real recreation is supposed to recreate you. What the victim calls genius the leader calls practice. ( It took me 30 years to doing it in 30 seconds) Shift from Command and Control to Connect and Create. Dont derive power from your title but from the relationships you have built. page 31 / 35
  32. 32. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - The goal is not to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.So what do you say ? Do some of these recommendations apply (or not) to your work in HR andCompensation & Benefits ? Have you always felt that you never needed a title to be a leader ?Related posts : Fresh professional goals for 2012 as a Compensation leader A few career and life lessons from my last job in Italy No, no-one becomes a Compensation Manager in 2 days ! _______________________________________________ page 32 / 35
  33. 33. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - http://compensationinsider.comSpring cleaning : 4 tips to declutter your work always feel that when my environment is clear, my thoughts are clearer too. So here are 4 quick tips tohelp you spring-clean your work environment.1 - Recurring Compensation & Benefits pain points : create a solution. Design a process, draft a policyor simply create a standard reply email or a cheat sheet / FAQ that you can hand out to the people who areasking you a question that you hear on a regular basis.2 - Improve your organisation : book a meeting room and spend one day getting more organised. Cleanyour inbox and create rules in Outlook to manage your incoming flow of emails and organise your harddrive for fast access to your most important documents. Then go back to your desk and ruthlessly destroythe papers that clog your files and drawers. Scan the really useful ones if you dont have soft copy and addthem to your newly cleaned hard drive.3 - Nice-to-haves : its the stuff that is always on your to-do list yet you never even started. Let go !Clearly, these items are not that important for you now. Create a special file or folder for these ideas, andstore them for when they will become a real priority.4 - C&B Policies & Procedures : re-read them to ensure they reflect all the changes youve introducedrecently. For example, new grades or job titles may be referenced in more places than just the jobevaluation and grading policy.Have you been throught these steps ? Congratulations ! Now, here is a bonus. Its a simple way for youto capitalise on the good feeling you are experiencing right now. Its easy : get feedback.Ask colleagues, both in HR and the business, about what they would change or create, right now, as"quick wins" in the Compensation & Benefits programmes at your company. This will give you an ideawhere to look at to accomplish something positive with relatively low effort before you dive back into thebig projects. And remember : 2 is a coincidence, 3 is a trend.Thats it ! Four simple tips that help you feel more focused and therefore deliver faster on yourCompensation projects. Sometimes, its worth investing a bit of time to tidy up as it increases yourproductivity. What are your tips for organising your work better ?Enjoyed this post ? Why don’t you subscribe by email to make sure you receive my articles 3 times perweek ?Related post :Create the best rules in Outlook to boost your productivity page 33 / 35
  34. 34. Compensation Insider - March 2012 postsCompensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - _______________________________________________ page 34 / 35
  35. 35. Compensation Insider - March 2012 posts Compensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair - Compensation and Benefits with a Middle East flair PDF generated March 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM by Kalins PDF Creation Station WordPress plugin page 35 / 35Powered by TCPDF (