Realities, concerns and misconstrues on matters related to performance and wage was the discourse at the recently concluded Employers’ Symposium 2015.
Titled the ‘Balancing Act’, the symposium was organized by the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) and was held on 22 October 2015 at the Waters’ Edge, Colombo.
Success and experience definitely speaks volumes opposed to mere speculation. Thus the symposium brought together some of the most experienced professionals to discuss, deliberate, and share views on the subject. Two panel discussions, “360 degree Perspective on Compensation and Benefits”, and “Pay for Performance” combined the views of local and global experts representing finance, management and human resources management.
‘Innovative approaches’ sums up the panel discussion: “360 degree Perspective of Compensation and Benefits” – a crucial aspect of the balancing between performance and wage. The complexities related to correctly associating wages with productivity came under scrutiny at this discussion. The panel, though diverged in their experience, exposure and angle of approach to the subject, agreed that compensation and benefits in this day and age requires innovative methods to attract, motivate and retain employees.
The panel also voted in favour of ‘living wages’ and vetoed traditional cookie-cutter approaches towards compensation and benefits. Gone are the days of one-strategy-fits-all. Compensation and benefit schemes should align with the overall business strategy of the organisation, and should be designed to ‘create jobs,’ and enhance work cultures that reward productivity.
The panel comprised Managing Director, Esquel Group, Edgar Tung; Director Finance, John Keells Holdings PLC, Ronnie Peiris; Vice President, Human Resources and Learning and Development, HSBC Electronic Data Processing Lanka (Pvt) Limited, Lasantha Dasanayaka; and Vice President, Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations, Sandra D’Amico. The discussion was moderated by Former Senior Specialist on Employer Activities for the South Asian Region, ILO, and Former Director General of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Gotabaya Dasanayaka.
The other decisive feature in equilibrating performance and wage is paying for performance. Measuring performance and assigning monetary values to it is a much debated and timely topic. In fact, ‘pay’ and ‘performance’ seems to be the keywords amongst employees as well as employers. Thus the symposium’s much anticipated panel discussion titled “Pay for Performance” brought together experts from different industry sectors to air their views on how exactly performance should be rewarded.
Paying more in anticipation of better performance and paying more for those who perform better are fairly new and much hyped about human resources management cultures. But paying for performance, as asserted by both panels at the Employers’ Symposium 2015, is not practical in implementation due to the incalculable variables that makes up the performance component, especially where the work involved is not of traditional types.
Need for newer approaches
The panel on ‘Pay for Performance’ emphasised the need for newer approaches, especially in modern globalised industry sectors, in measuring performance, deviating from the traditional quantitative methods of performance evaluation.
To ensure that performance is correctly reflected in the wage the multifaceted nature of performance has to be correctly and proportionately complimented in the equations or models that assess employees. Organizations should endeavour to create a performance culture. And employees should be assessed on how well they adhere to this behaviour encouraged by the organization. The panel also affirmed that performance measurement strategies should reflect the dynamisms and competitiveness of the business and industry in order for employers to retain high performers.
The panel comprised Director – Cerebrus Consultants Pvt. Ltd, Chennai, India, Sabitha Rao; President, Inter Company Employees Union, Wasantha Samarasinghe; Director Human Resources, Unilever Sri Lanka Limited, Sameer Nagarajan; Senior Independent Director, John Keells Holdings PLC, Franklyn Amerasinghe; and Director, Zebra Technologies Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Anuradha Tennakoon. The discussion was moderated by Vice President-Human Resources, Union Bank, Ravi Jayasekera.
(This was the fourth consecutive symposium of this nature organized by the EFC)