Edward Houghton: The best reward strategies are often data driven

edward houghton

Reward and pay are fundamentally important factors for helping to attract, retain and engage employees at work. Given the availability and increasing prominence of data systems to HR professionals, the best strategies are now, more often than not, data-driven: both in their development and in their communication. To succeed today, organisations are far more likely to deliver the impacts they desire if they apply the concepts of data analytics and evidence-based HR to developing and delivering on their reward strategy.

Much has been said in the recent past about the importance of data and insights for HR, and nowhere is this truer than when defining employee pay and benefits. Employee data is a central element of an effective and fair pay and reward strategy. Pay specialists should therefore look to ensure they are using the data and evidence at their disposal when crafting pay and reward programmes. Insights about the impact of historical reward and benefits packages in particular can help to highlight how to improve offers to employees, and retain the best talent.

Data about what attracts, retains and engages particular employee groups is important in crafting specialist strategies and reward packages. Reward strategies are only really effective when they take into account the specific needs of employees; by segment and grouping in particular. Specific talent segments may require a focused reward strategy: insights into what this looks like can only come from HR data and insights.

As with all aspects of HR data, effective reward strategies only land well if they are communicated clearly and transparently to employees. This includes illustrating how benefits work, why they’ve been selected, and how they can be accessed. Meaningful communication that highlights how reward and pay works can itself act to motivate and engage staff. By communicating through data, with easy to understand graphics and interactive dashboards, even the most complex benefits packages can become more easily understood and therefore effective for employees. ​

Edward Houghton is senior research adviser for human capital and governance at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

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