Confessions of a benefits manager: Candid runs manager training on incentives

Confessions of a benefits manager

I don’t want to sound like a shirker, but it really is not my job to manage the incentive programme. Yes, bonuses fall under total reward, but there is a separate incentives team headed up by Iris who purportedly do all that. And they do. Well as far as managing the incentives module of the HR system Choreday, making sure all the data is loaded, and such. What Iris does not seem to be capable of is presenting. When it comes to running manager training it is down to Big Bad Boss. In other words, he gets me to do it.

I have had to do a lot of presentations, so I am confident enough, but what I do not like is presenting someone else’s slides. Iris has already been through last year’s deck updating for the changes made to the plan this year. But if I am going to carry it off, I am going to have to substantially rewrite the presentation.

I get Iris to send out the invitations, after all this is her area, but straight away we have complaints that certain managers have been missed off. Sigh. Do I have to do everything myself? The session will be recorded and stored on our manager intranet, so I must remember to look vaguely presentable that day.

Giving the presentation

Big Bad Boss does join the call giving the introduction. That is nice. In a way it shows that we are one reward team with an engaged leader, but I cannot help wondering why he couldn’t just do the presentation himself in that case. Because he does not keep dogs and do the barking himself, that is why. Huff.

His intro is a bit waffly, and we do not have any slides it. Meanwhile, in the meeting chat participants are getting all agitated thinking the slides are not moving on. I am willing him to stop talking so I can move to the contents slide and get going. In the chat, several people continue to tell us to move on, with one even resorting to capitals: SLIDES.

Finally, I can start presenting. We have put everyone on mute and asked them to put their questions in the chat. I have got Iris on standby answering the chat questions by text as we go but it is hard not to be distracted by the incessant text chatter. Will we record the meeting? Will the slides be shared? Yes, obviously.

Things get nasty

When we get to the changes for this year things get nasty, and I am so glad the participants are on mute. Why are we making these changes anyway, managers in the chat ask? Surely, someone asks, these changes are designed to demotivate employees and encourage resignations? Yes, what we really want is for all you moaners and whingers is to get up and leave, I think. I am trying to ignore the chat pop-ups and concentrate on the presentation. I just hope Iris is putting good answers in the chat. I am worried she might be putting into words what she should just say in her head.

Finally, we get past the unpopular plan design changes and into the Choreday system itself. That part of the presentation is less contentious, and I am familiar with the screens having been through the process many times myself.  But still the chat is on fire with trolls. People on the call have found an outlet for all their frustrations with the company. They bemoan the bonus changes in the light of a recent redundancy programme and even mention office layout changes and problems with the coffee machine. I guess all these nasty infringements appear to be born out of the human resources department, and we are all responsible for their troubles. I do not like being the focus of all this anger, I am just trying to communicate this stuff, that is all.

We finish off by pointing out where all the relevant information can be found on our intranet, including recordings of the training, slide decks, and frequently asked questions.

Questions and answers

At the end of the call, I go over a few prepared questions and answers. Not the rude troll questions we have been getting, but sensible ones composed by an imaginary attentive audience. I notice that we have anticipated all the meaningful questions from the chat on these two slides, but I do not say so. I say that we will add any unanswered questions to the resources online. Still the chat shrieks: why are we ending the call when there are still questions unanswered? Because I cannot take any more of this, I think. Things can get awkward when I present benefits changes, but really nothing as hostile as this.

After the call, I start getting messages and emails with more questions. Why didn’t I mention for people to contact Iris, I curse myself. Now, everyone on the call associates my name with the incentive plan as well as benefits. Sigh. I am torn between simply referring them to Iris and wanting to help by giving the answer directly. In the end, I do both. I look up the answers from the frequently asked questions document no-one has bothered to look at, give them the answer, and refer them to Iris if they need anything else.

In the following HR team meeting, Big Bad Boss boasts that the managers have been successfully briefed on the incentive plan. There is no mention of my help. How do I get more credit for the things that I do?

Back at my desk, my messages ping with another note entitled incentive training. Oh no. How do I make this stop?  I click to open it and it is from one of the HRDs. That was a difficult message to get across clearly, he says, and you presented it very well. That’s all it takes; one little bit of recognition and I feel so much better.

Next time…Candid checks out some of the voluntary benefits.