Jun 2, 2011

Achieving The Aims | Reward Management

The aims of reward management are achieved by developing and implementing strategies, policies, processes and practices that are founded on a philosophy, operate in accordance with the principles of distributive and natural justice, function fairly, equitably, consistently and transparently, are aligned to the business strategy, fit the context and culture of the organization, are fit for purpose and help to develop a high-performance culture.

Reward Philosophy

Reward management is based on a well-articulated philosophy – a set of beliefs and guiding principles that are consistent with the values of the organization and help to enact them. The philosophy recognizes that, if human resource management (HRM) is about investing in human capital from which a reasonable return is required, then it is proper to reward people differentially according to their contribution (ie the return on investment they generate).
The philosophy of reward management also recognizes that it must be strategic in the sense that it addresses longer-term issues relating to how people should be valued for what they do and what they achieve. Reward strategies and the processes that are required to implement them have to flow from the business strategy.
Reward management adopts a 'total reward' approach, which emphasizes the importance of considering all aspects of reward as a coherent whole that is linked to other HR initiatives designed to achieve the motivation, commitment, engagement and development of employees. This requires the integration of reward strategies with other HRM strategies, including talent management and human resource development. Reward management is an integral part of an HRM approach to managing people.

Distributive Justice

Distributive justice refers to how rewards are provided to people. They will feel that they have been treated justly if they believe that the rewards have been distributed in accordance with the value of their contribution, that they receive what was promised to them and that they get what they need.

Procedural Justice

Procedural justice refers to the ways in which managerial decisions are made and reward policies are put into practice. The five factors that affect perceptions of procedural justice are:
  1. The viewpoint of employees is given proper consideration.
  2. Personal bias towards employees is suppressed.
  3. The criteria for decisions are applied consistently to all employees.
  4. Employees are provided with early feedback about the outcome of decisions.
  5. Employees are provided with adequate explanations of why decisions have been made.


A fair reward system is one that operates in accordance with the principles of distributive and procedural justice. It also conforms to the 'felt-fair' principle. This states that pay systems will be fair if they are felt to be fair. The assumptions underpinning the theory are that:
  • there is an unrecognized standard of fair payment for any level of work;
  • unconscious knowledge of the standard is shared among the population at work;
  • pay must match the level of work and the capacity of the individual to do it;
  • people should not receive less pay than they deserve by comparison with their fellow workers.
This felt-fair principle has passed into the common language of those involved in reward management. It is sometimes used as the final arbiter of how a job should be graded, possibly overriding the conclusions reached by an analytical job evaluation exercise (the so-called 'felt-fair test'). Such tests are in danger of simply reproducing existing prejudices about relative job values.


Equity is achieved when people are rewarded appropriately in relation to others within the organization. Equitable reward processes ensure that relativities between jobs are measured as objectively as possible and that equal pay is provided for work of equal value.


A consistent approach to reward management means that decisions on pay do not vary arbitrarily – without due cause – between different people or at different times. They do not deviate irrationally from what would generally be regarded as fair and equitable.


Transparency exists when people understand how reward processes function and how they are affected by them. The reasons for pay decisions are explained at the time they are made. Employees have a voice in the development of reward policies and practices.

Strategic Alignment

The strategic alignment of reward practices ensures that reward initiatives are planned by reference to the requirements of the business strategy and are designed to support the achievement of business goals.

Contextual and Culture Fit

The design of reward processes should be governed by the context (the characteristics of the organization, its business strategy and the type of employees) and the organization's culture (its values and behavioural norms). Account should be taken of good practice elsewhere, but this should not be regarded as best practice, ie universally applicable. Best fit is more important than best practice.

Fit For Purpose

The formulation of reward strategy and the design of the reward system should be based on an understanding of the objectives of reward management and should be developed to achieve that purpose.

Developing a High-Performance Culture

A high-performance culture is one in which people are aware of the need to perform well and behave accordingly in order to meet or exceed expectations. Employees will be engaged in their work and committed to the organization. Such a culture embraces a number of interrelated processes that together make an impact on the performance of the organization through its people in such areas as productivity, quality, levels of customer service, growth, profits and, ultimately in profit-making firms, the delivery of increased shareholder value. In our more heavily service- and knowledge-based economy, employees have become the most important determinant of organizational success.
Lloyds TSB has produced the following definition of what they mean by a high-performance organization:
  • People know what's expected of them – they are clear about their goals and accountabilities.
  • They have the skills and competencies to achieve their goals.
  • High performance is recognized and rewarded accordingly.
  • People feel that their job is worth doing, and that there's a strong fit between the job and their capabilities.
  • Managers act as supportive leaders and coaches, providing regular feedback, performance reviews and development.
  • A pool of talent ensures a continuous supply of high performers in key roles.
  • There's a climate of trust and teamwork, aimed at delivering a distinctive service to the customer.
A high-performance culture can be developed by taking into account characteristics such as those listed above and applying an integrated set of processes, of which reward is an important part. Besides reward, the processes will include those concerned with resourcing and talent management (ensuring that the organization has the high-performing people it needs), learning and development, performance management, the enhancement of the working environment (for example, work design and work/ life balance) and communication.


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