Reward Directors‘ Circle - Germany - April 2015
Frazer Jones Germany held its first Reward Directors’ Circle on the 15th April 2015 which took place in the Hyatt Regency in Düsseldorf. With it being the hottest day in Germany this year to date, all the attendees appreciated the outdoor terrace.
Our speaker was Marie-Luise Bayer, Senior Expert Compensation and Benefits at Deutsche Post DHL, with responsibility for the design and implementation of their global Compensation Policies as well as the standardisation and harmonisation of Compensation Processes.
Marie-Luise talked about the ongoing challenges that companies in Germany are facing when implementing value-adding Reward strategies. It is worth mentioning that in Germany the Reward landscape remains a few years behind developments in other parts of the world. Companies are currently in the process of “discovering” the advantages of in-house Reward experts. The market is however by no means as saturated and as large as in the UK or US for example. To date, many companies on this side of the channel utilise external providers to fulfil their business’ needs.
Marie-Luise’s presentation adapted a broader, holistic perspective to Total Rewards, incorporating all elements of this area, with a focus on Executive Compensation as this is the area in which companies have the greatest influence in the German market place. The evening highlighted the pertinence of having a clear strategy in place along with guiding principles to successfully implement a working Reward strategy. To do so it is important to understand your company, including its goals and target groups. According to Marie-Luise the company size already sets the parameters for a Compensation and Benefits strategy. Additionally a company’s presence in multiple countries adds to the complexity.
Moreover, for the strategy to have the desired impact, a well thought through communication strategy is key. Marie-Luise provided examples of the strategies used at DHL and the importance of transparency and keeping the communication as simple as possible. Some countries require for instance flexibility, whereas in comparison to others the ability to cope with a large employee population matters.
A further pertinent and often underestimated aspect is setting realistic goals. From experience many companies spend too little time on the planning phase, which often results in poorly implemented strategies that do not deliver what is intended.
There were further questions that were discussed throughout the evening including; how we deal effectively with bottlenecks and the necessity for exceptions despite having rules.
We expect other multinational organisations in Germany, with the increasing focus on profitability, performance and developing and retaining a talented workforce during these earlier stages of reward, to undergo such changes.