Introduction: Redefining Employee Rewards

Anne C. Ruddy, CCP, CPCU President, WorldatWork

Not long ago, human resources professionals seemed to have that “pay thing” down to a science. Reward employees with decent dollars for compensation, add top-notch health care and retirement benefits, and voila! People came, people stayed, and people worked. Employers had their pick from a seemingly endless talent pool. And, with any luck, employees matched their career aspirations and enjoyed lifelong service with a company.

So much for yesterday.

The birth of new industries and emerging markets have sprouted mergers and acquisitions, downsizings, globalization, corporate restructurings, and technological advances. All of this has occurred in a rapidly changing economy with a tight labor market. With every dollar at stake, nothing remains sacred as employers increasingly look for ways to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

At the same time, the sea of faces in the workforce has changed. Today’s labor pool is more diverse and mobile, with a rapidly growing group of older workers and retirees. More women, working parents, dual-income households, single parents, Gen X-ers, and Gen Y-ers crowd the market. And baby boomers—tired of toiling long hours—are questioning their prior commitment levels.

Indeed, job-related attitudes, expectations, and priorities are changing on both sides of the desk. As employers retool, HR professionals must rethink their directions and realign their focus. The question ...

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