What should you expect from your C&B colleague?

What should you expect from your C&B colleague?

It’s nice to see that nobody’s knocking on others’ doors in the festive season; so many people are having very relaxed time at the end of the year.
In Middle East, the general practice is that short-term incentive payout and the salary reviews are generally done in the first quarter of the year, so it applies for the C&B professionals here as well.
Well, this might be the silence before storm (Yes, it is!) but it’s the subject of another post.

We mentioned knocking on doors… The dark, unholy and rusted doors of the narrow cave called C&B Department?
Hey! Chill… Just joking… We’re not Orcs…

Image courtesy by Iron Mitten

However, I understand. Since many years, C&B has been the black box of the organization and the C&B professionals are seen as the bad guys of the town. Employees were very nervous to talk to them or ask questions… They were afraid to get a call from them which might mean that their time in the organization is over…

But it’s not the case in reality and I blame us for this.  We created this dark environment by being secretive, discussing the matters behind closed doors and doesn’t come up with answers when even the most simplest questions like “how are the salaries reviewed?” are asked.

Flickr_IntroverLeadersCommunicationMED-kenfagerdotcom4886342418_db75a10808Since last decade we are investing on the importance of the strategic communication in Total Rewards and try to be more transparent, educative and approachable. We are saying that three main objectives of Total Rewards approach are to attract, motivate and retain the employees and we are working on that.
We are spending our efforts more and more on how to communicate rather than how to calculate.
This has been accomplished in some regions and it’s still in process in others.

That makes me feel we’re in the good way when I see the happy sparks in the eyes of the employees I train on Total Rewards.

Do the C&B professionals to be that much approachable and transparent? What do you need to expect from them?

I think that there’s a limit. Yes, we should be more open and social  but we cannot give up from the main characteristics our job requires:

  • Confidentiality

A C&B professional is not allowed talk too much. At least about the details of his/her job. As a person having the maximum access to the most sensitive data of the organization, he/she cannot spread even a single part of that data. Luckily, many C&B professionals follow this invisible oath.

What do you need to do:
You shouldn’t ask too many questions regarding other people or any plans and projects about organization.

  • Working under pressure

We work under pressure.
Yes, everybody does but we do  a bit more. We work with Human; we work with Government; we work with Blue-collar and also Executives; we work with past, present and future money transactions which goes directly to YOUR pocket rather than the bank reserves which has a direct impact on people’s lives. We work with transactions as well as strategic plans.

What do you need to do:
Do not blame us for issues and problems directly and have a co-working approach. We work in the same organizations and we support you; so should you. Please do not think that C&B is just printing some pay slips and transferring money via online banking.
We can prove easily that we conduct analytical practices that many engineers never do in their daily routine. (No offense; I gave this example because I was an engineer before and never done such exhaustive analysis before)

  • Influencing

We are your consultants. If your C&B Specialist is a very well-educated and experiences in his/her area, she can be very influencing on you and your decisions.
Personally, I helped many employees when they got another offer from another company and we cannot retain them anymore (after the real break-up you can stay friends, no?), when they had issues with tax authorities or even when they were confused about the host package for their expatriation. So, again, we’re here to help.

What do you need to do:
Consider us your therapists in your Rewards. We’re there to help but also be fair and consistent. We can give you insight about the information that you can only have by word of mouth (which is almost always untrue) or won’t have access at all. Think about it like you have a legal issue and you go directly to the Corporate Legal Counsel.
Same thing here… Just don’t misuse this service and don’t take our recommendations as we try to damage your career – if we say so, it’s real.

I assume that if your C&B professionals and employees work together taking above points into consideration, the organization’s journey in Strategic HR Communication will have a big leap sooner than you think.

Infographic: Inflation Rates of the Last Decade

Infographic: Inflation Rates of the Last Decade

One of the most important economic factors that Compensation & Benefits professionals usually take into consideration is the inflation rate in their country and/or region.

Since some time, I have gathered quite a significant amount of data from various survey providers and economic research reports and summarized the outcome in a simple yet effective infographic.

The results are interesting and more analysis can be done with the data but I tried to give a nice sneak preview with that.

This infographic shows you some key data regarding the worldwide inflation rates between 2003 and 2013.



P.S.: Please click here if you cannot see the embedded version.

Should the C&B professionals be certified?

Should the C&B professionals be certified?




I’m really delighted to see my score on my last required exam to be certified as CCP (Certified Compensation Professional) by the renowned and reputable organization WorldatWork.  This is my second certification – the previous one was GRP (Global Remuneration Professional) – and I admit that it really took a lot of time and hard work to get them.

When I was talking with my colleagues and friends about my study the whole year, I’ve been asked many times if it’s worth it or if I really require them.

First of all, I just want to highlight the famous quote of Allan Bloom:

 Education is the movement from darkness to light.

That is I really care about and believe in. What I see in today’s world that it’s not the financial system nor the army or technological advancements, but the education system. If you really want a population regardless the scale, be it a nation, a group or just a team, develop and transform itself to adapt rapid changes of mankind, you need to have a robust education system. Afterwards, it has to be enhanced with the mindset of the people: Continuous, lifetime learning.

Back to the question of the requirement, I’ll be very political…
I do not have a clear answer, so: Yes and No.

Yes, because:

  • I’m 100% sure that you’ll have a basic foundation about the methodology and generally accepted updated practices.
  • They give you a good point of view for the new era of HR: Being strategic business partner specialized in Total Rewards.
  • It’s an accepted and respected certification, which will shine in your CV.

And No, because:

  • Like all other certifications, nobody forces you to get one for a job. Many experts, gurus, VPs etc. don’t have such certifications. It won’t hurt your career advancement if you don’t get it.
  • There’s a cost, eventually. That might be a burden for many people.
  • It takes a lot of time and work (even if you’re a seasoned expert in Rewards area). I’m one of the fastest certified people especially in Middle East while working and it took almost one year for me to get both certifications.

So, I’m not going to do any advertisement for the certifications, especially after I also started having a volunteer participation in WorldatWork, but when I look at each of those 3 top reasons for both answers; I would choose the part “yes” and go for them.

I did and I’m going to do so… “because education matters.”


The main bridge between HR and Finance is C&B

The main bridge between HR and Finance is C&B

All organizations in modern business world are trying to bring Human Resources and Finance closer as a main result of cost efficiency or profit maximization. As HR costs rise day by day and the war for talent is pushing really hard on organizations to reduce such costs; both departments’ professional are forced to work together to control the costs.

Yes, we always mention the word costs because (unfortunately) HR is one of pillars in an organization that doesn’t create any revenue although carries an enormous capital. As a fiscal point of view, being a good HR professional requires with a competency of controlling costs.

Image courtesy of sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, when we talk about money, especially within Human Resources area, all fingers point to one department of course: Compensation&Benefits.

As we always say; A good C&B practice is simple and cost-effective. Therefore a good C&B professional needs to have the competency I mentioned above. Combined with communication skills, C&B professionals should bridge Finance and HR departments and ensure that both talk the same language and align seamlessly.

Following tips might help you to be successful if you are experiencing hard time with this issue:

  • Go to Gemba

If you never heard this jargon, the  Japanese term “gemba” means “the real place” or “where the action happens or value created”. So, in production areas if you have an issue in your production line according to Kaizen or Continuous Improvement methodologies you should go to “gemba”. You should go to the place where the problem rose and check what happens. In our case, basically you should directly go to Finance department and talk to respective stakeholders to align with them. Don’t forget; communication matters!

  • Streamline processes

From my previous experiences, it’s always good to brainstorm/sit down couple of days and sort all processes between two departments and create process maps. Document it, train it and always check it. You’ll see that if two people start talking the same language actually they don’t stop!

  • Standardize tools

This comes along with the former point. By streamlining processes you should really start creating robust, standardized reports that have to be useful and meaningful for both parties. According to Aristotle, there are three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, logos whereas logos meaning logical appeal (by facts, figures) is the most persuasive out of this three.
Long story short; standardized tools and reports persuade better.

  • Be able to look from multiple points of view and listen

I think this is the hardest but most important factor. Usually, both sides have a very different angles to look into the issues. That’s why you always have to look at both sides listen to rationales of both and try to solve all issues closest to the optimum “win-win” situation.

I assume that if you can make all above worked out, your organization (and eventually yourself) will benefit from it.

Split Pay Dilemma

Split Pay Dilemma

First I have a question:

What comes first? Business, right?

…and I answer: Yes, 99% it is.

Split pay is a method a business may use to pay its employees who are on international assignments.

Split pay is generally used in Global Mobility, where you can protect the employee from the effects of “being mobile” especially between geographical areaes where the income, cost of living and even quality of living difference is substantial. It also transfers exchange-rate risk from the employee to his company and makes it easier for companies and their employees to comply with the host country’s regulations for work and for transferring money out of the country.

If you consider split pay in any of the markets under your responsibility; most probably that country is in a trouble; either financially or legislative.

So, it sounds like a great support to the business, to the employee, but… Yes, there’s a but

The administrative burden of split pay is complicated and huge yet it does not solve all your problems. Then the only question comes to mind is: Is it really worth to keep doing this?

I’ve answered this question many times back in the early days with a “No!”.

Was that the correct answer?

You have to understand the business context and its linkage with the very basic need to talent.

Usually, such countries have an additional problem beside socio-economic problems, which is TALENT. When I talk about talent, she’s not the star of the company or the 14-years old singer on TV. When we, HR professionals, talk about talent we mean professionals who are able to manage/support/develop business in the circumstances their capabilities and skills are required.

Hence you’re developing a business or even trying to stabilize your market coverage, you need those talents.

So, it has a double effect. Additionally, these countries lack talent.

So, that’s why you are mostly forced to mobilize your talents from other parts of the world and consequently you will need to process a split pay, ALTHOUGH it will create you so much trouble in the administration.

If you can look from business perspective, there is no need to be stuck with a dilemma because the formula is so simple as I told you in the beginning:

Business comes first. 99%.

P.S.: I’ll try to write about the common issues you can have when processing a split pay in another post. Oh, by the way, I’m still not a fan of split pay.