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    Mapping Top Rewards and Compensation Trends for the Evolving World of Work

    August 3, 2023

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    Top Rewards and Compensation Trends for the Evolving World of Work
    Shreya Srivastava
    Written By
    Shreya Srivastava

    A traditional one-size-fits-all approach to compensation is becoming obsolete as organizations strive to adapt to a multitude of changes. Organizations are recognizing the need to adapt and embrace emerging trends that prioritize employee well-being, diversity, flexibility, and sustainable growth. In this blog, we will explore some of the ways in which rewards and compensation strategies will be shaped in the years to come.

    The employee compensation landscape has undergone significant transformation in recent years, driven by technological advancements, changing work dynamics, and shifting employee expectations. 19% of employees, or 5.4 million people, are expected to look for a new job with better benefits or a higher salary in 2023. This is according to a study done by Unum and Censuswide. This raises the need for companies to evaluate how they plan to attract and retain employees without resorting to unrealistically increasing salaries.

    Companies are also reevaluating their compensation strategies to prioritize employee well-being, flexibility, and growth in order to introduce innovative ways to motivate their employees. A great way to accomplish this is by crafting a robust compensation and reward strategy. A well-designed compensation and rewards program can play a crucial role in boosting employee motivation, engagement, and productivity and breathe new life into your workforce.

    However, to craft a truly relevant total rewards strategy, organizations need to take into account the multitude of factors that are shaping expectations when it comes to compensation and rewards. These factors revolve around the evolving nature of work, changing employee expectations, increased focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), the war for talent acquisition and retention, and so on. Let's explore some of the key challenges affecting the landscape of work that has made rewards and compensation strategies pivotal for organizations.

    Tackling Hurdles: Addressing Challenges in Compensation and Rewards

    1. The struggle to retain top talent

    Retaining top talent has become increasingly challenging in a competitive job market. As demand for skilled professionals rises, organizations need to ensure their compensation packages remain attractive. This includes offering competitive salaries, performance-based incentives, and comprehensive benefits.

    2. Rising cost of living and inflation

    The increasing cost of living, coupled with inflationary pressures, poses a challenge for organizations when determining appropriate compensation levels. According to Kornferry Report ‘Pay in 2023,’ 27% of organizations aim to offer some extra remuneration or perks to offset inflation, most commonly, one-time, cost-of-living payments, food and transportation subsidies, or monthly cash allowances.

    3. Tackling the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Because of the pandemic, many businesses had to change their ways of working, like letting people work from home or having flexible plans to keep their businesses running. As a result, many employees have come to expect more freedom at work, and employers are increasingly offering flexible work options as a way to attract and retain top talent. It has also made some companies revamp their compensation plans.

    4. Balancing Pay Equity

    Achieving pay equity and eliminating gender or racial disparities in compensation continue to be a challenge for organizations. Achieving fairness and ensuring equal pay for equal work requires a thorough analysis of pay gaps, implementing transparent compensation practices, and addressing any unconscious biases that may influence decision-making.

    5. The need for customization and personalization

    As employees seek greater flexibility and work-life integration, organizations are challenged with offering personalized compensation packages. Designing and implementing systems that allow employees to choose benefits that align with their needs and aspirations can be complex and may require investment in technology platforms and robust communication channels.

    6. Compliance with changing regulations

    Legislation related to compensation, benefits, and labor laws can change frequently, posing compliance challenges for organizations. Staying up to date with legal requirements and ensuring compliance across multiple jurisdictions can be a complex task.

    7. Employee well-being and mental health

    The increasing focus on employee well-being and mental health presents challenges in designing rewards and compensation strategies. Incorporating wellness initiatives and benefits into compensation packages can be demanding, requiring investment and ongoing assessment of their effectiveness.

    As we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of the year 2023, it is evident that the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to compensation is becoming obsolete. Forward-thinking organizations are recognizing the need to adapt and embrace emerging trends that prioritize employee well-being, diversity, flexibility, and sustainable growth. Keeping these challenges in mind, the following trends can be foreseen in compensation and rewards programs in the coming years.

    Beyond the Paycheck: Unraveling Modern Rewards and Compensation Trends

    1. Implementing skill-based pay

    In recent years, skill-based pay, which pays employees based on their skills and competencies instead of their job title or length of time on the job, has become more common. Skill-based pay structures will be used by more companies in the coming years to reward employees for their unique skill sets and push them to keep learning and growing. For instance, by the end of 2021, both Accenture and IBM had demonstrated significant efforts to reduce degree requirements in their hiring practices. At Accenture, only 43% of IT job postings included a degree requirement, while at IBM, the percentage was even lower, with only 29% of IT job postings specifying a degree requirement. This indicates a shift towards valuing skills and experience over traditional educational qualifications in their recruitment processes.

    2. Increased focus on employee well-being

    and happiness, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming years. In addition to standard benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, employers are starting to realize how important it is to offer rewards that help their workers' physical, mental, and emotional health. According to Mercer’s Health on Demand Report, 42% of employees with access to mental health benefits are less likely to leave the company compared to 27% of those without access. We can expect to see more wellness programs, mental health resources, and work-life balance efforts from companies in 2023 and beyond.

    3. Real-time recognition

    Real-time recognition, which means giving comments and praise right away when an employee does a good job, has become popular in recent years. In fact, rewards and recognitions on mobile are becoming increasingly popular in modern workplaces due to the convenience and accessibility they offer. Real-time recognition programs, such as peer-to-peer recognition platforms and social recognition tools, will be used by more companies in the coming years to boost staff morale and motivation. Darwinbox's Rewards and Recognitions functionality on mobile enables employees to give and receive recognition on the spot, facilitating timely and meaningful appreciation.

    4. Increased focus on variable pay

    In recent years, variable pay, like bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing, has become more common. Employers are starting to realize that giving workers variable pay can help inspire and incentivize them to do their best work while also giving them more flexibility in how they are paid. In fact, according to SHRM India, variable pay can help retain keep top performers who are truly adding value from leaving the company for a competitor who is offering an extra 10 % base pay.

    5. Total rewards take center stage

    Many companies now put a lot of emphasis on total rewards, which include both financial and non-financial benefits. More companies are likely to offer more than just traditional pay, such as wellness programs, flexible work schedules, and chances for professional growth, in addition to traditional pay. Employers can find and keep the best workers by giving them a full benefits package. For instance, according to Gartner, discretionary employee effort can be increased by 21% by offering a comprehensive well-being program under a total rewards strategy.

    6. Increased focus on data and analytics

    Employers who want to make good choices about compensation are using data analytics more and more. In the coming years, more businesses will use data and analytics, like benchmarking against industry standards and analyzing employee performance metrics, to figure out how to pay their workers. Employers can make sure that their pay packages are competitive and in line with their organization's goals by using statistics. Google executives have determined that exceptional technologists can outperform average ones by as much as 300 times. Insights like these help organizations allocate the necessary resources for hiring, retaining, and developing exceptional talent, recognizing the value that top performers bring to the organization.

    7. Increased focus on pay equity

    In recent years, pay equity has been a big issue, and this is expected to continue. Employers are starting to realize how important it is to make sure that everyone gets paid properly, no matter their gender, race, or anything else. In the evolving world of work, more companies are likely to do pay equity studies and take steps to close any pay gaps they find. According to a survey by Payscale, 66% of organizations planned to conduct a pay equity analysis in 2022, marking a 20% increase from the previous year.

    8. More help for caregivers

    Employees with caregiving responsibilities have to figure out how to work and take care of young children or older people who depend on them. The present generation of people who have to take care of both young children and elderly parents is called the "sandwich generation." No matter what, having more caring responsibilities can be stressful for everyone. Employers can help their employees and their families even more by giving benefits like:

    • Flexible stipends, like food or wellness stipends that cover backup care for children or the elderly or help pay for general living costs, even if they aren't tied to caregiving.
    • Implementing an employee assistance program (EAP) that gives workers free or low-cost access to resources like career recommendations, crisis intervention services, low-interest loans, and family or personal counseling.
    • Letting employees set their own hours or work from home.

    9. Implementing flexible pay

    In recent years, flexible compensation has become more popular. Under a flexible pay system, employees may have the option to allocate a portion of their total compensation package across various components such as base salary, bonuses, benefits, paid time off, work schedules, and additional perks. Using flexible compensation, companies can attract and retain top talent, promote employee satisfaction, and adapt to the changing dynamics of the modern workforce. According to a research study from EY, 60% of respondents stated they would view a prospective employer more favorably were they to offer flexible pay as part of their benefits package. We can also expect more companies to offer flexible ways to get paid, like flexible spending accounts and stock options.

    10. Non-monetary rewards

    In addition to job flexibility, extended vacation time, recognition, etc., several interesting reward strategies are standing out; an instance being Google’s initiative to encourage employees to dedicate 20% of their working hours to passion projects.

    Another excellent example is Amazon's ‘Just do it Award,’ which honors staff members who exhibit the company's fundamental values- innovation and bias for action in the workplace. The most sought prize in the company is one which comes in the form of an enormous shoe, demonstrating that it's not always about monetary rewards.

    11. Increased weightage to employee choice

    In recent years, giving workers more control over their rewards and recognition has become more popular as employers realize how important it is to do so. In the coming years, we can expect more companies to offer employee choice programs, such as rewards catalogs or point-based systems, that let workers choose the rewards that mean the most to them. For instance, some organizations implement points-based reward systems, where employees earn points for their achievements and can later redeem them for a selection of rewards such as gift cards, travel vouchers, or merchandise. This approach provides employees with the freedom to choose rewards that are most appealing to them. Darwinbox’s Rewards and Recognitions program facilitates easy peer recognition on mobile app, and social recognition via its native social networking platform, Vibe.

    12. Use of modern technology

    From sophisticated data analytics to AI-driven performance evaluations, technology will enable companies to create personalized and fair compensation packages tailored to individual employee contributions, ultimately fostering a more motivated, engaged, and high-performing workforce. Moreover, In the coming years, more businesses will use technology-driven solutions like gamification platforms and mobile apps to make their rewards and recognition programs more fun and effective. For example, Blueboard is a contemporary workplace platform that offers experiential recognition and rewards. It allows organizations to express appreciation to their top talents and hardworking employees by gifting them experiences such as skydiving, pottery classes, and cooking classes.

    13. Focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become important to many employers, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Employers are starting to realize how important it is to give rewards that promote DEI, such as programs that celebrate employees from different backgrounds or rewards that support DEI-related initiatives. By leveraging data analytics and AI, companies can identify and rectify any biases that may exist in compensation decisions, ensuring fair and equitable rewards for all employees. HR tech helps DEI efforts by providing tools for unbiased hiring, diversity analytics, and training, fostering inclusive job postings and equitable workforce representation. Darwinbox’s total compensation module offers pay equity management to make rewards fair and equitable for a sound compensation strategy.

    14. Increased focus on environmental and social responsibility

    With mounting concerns over climate change and societal impact, businesses are expected to integrate environmental and social responsibility metrics into their compensation frameworks. In comparison to their rivals, purpose-driven businesses are 40% more likely to retain employees, according to Deloitte's Global Marketing Trends Report. In the coming years, companies may reward employees who actively contribute to sustainability efforts, philanthropic initiatives, or community-building activities. Such initiatives not only benefit the planet and society but also contribute to a sense of purpose among employees.

    The Way Forward

    The realm of compensation is poised for a transformational shift. Ultimately, these trends highlight a more human-centric approach to rewards and recognition, where employees' needs and aspirations are at the core of organizational success. Organizations that effectively embrace these compensation trends will be best positioned to attract, retain, and empower their workforce for a brighter future.

    Darwinbox X Compport: Your Key To Crafting a World-Class Total Compensation & Rewards Strategy

    Darwinbox’s digital compensation module, Compport, is equipped with best-in-class security and compliance functionalities, a consumer-grade user experience, and extraordinary efficiency. It can help you craft a world-class total compensation and rewards strategy that allows for the enablement of competitive, fair, and equitable pay practices. It is a single source of truth for employees, with comprehensively transparent, trustable, and actionable data. It also allows employees to share expectations and feedback on reward strategies, making the process of rewards a two-way street.\


    Interested in exploring further? Find out how Darwinbox X Compport can simplify compensation and rewards management for your organization; book a demo today!

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