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Productivity

4 Takeaways from Weekly Total Rewards Action Call: COVID-19 Business Response

3/19/2020

There’s uncertainty in all directions for business leaders
at the moment, as the COVID-19 pandemic takes us all into uncharted territory.
At the March 19, 2020 meeting of i4cp’s Total
Rewards Board
and other total rewards leaders, some of the broad-ranging
challenges they’re facing at the moment were discussed. The topics ranged from how
to compensate sales teams in the midst of the pandemic spread, to offering
incentive bonuses for employees to come onsite to work, and how to relieve
those employees for whom working from home isn’t a viable option. Some
highlights: 

1.     COVID-19
is not yet significantly affecting companies’ approach to performance
management, with most taking a wait-and-see approach. Our poll found 55% of
respondents saying no, the virus has not impacted performance management at
their organization. Another 23% said yes, they are delaying performance
reviews, promotions and other talent decisions, with an additional 23% saying
they don’t know how COVID-19 is affecting performance management within their
company. 

2.     While
the new legislation around paid sick leave does not obligate large employers to
provide any sort of paid sick leave to employees in the wake of this pandemic,
the majority of large companies are. Our poll saw 50% offering 14 days (the
amount of time affected individuals are strongly encouraged to
self-quarantine), and another 14% offering more. The remainder are providing
less than 14 days (21%) and 14% not offering any paid sick leave at all. 

3.     Companies
that haven’t already made changes to their compensation and rewards soon will,
or are at least planning a strategy for moving forward. Some steps include
adjusting comp for salespeople who are unable to travel, meet potential clients
in person, etc., providing incentives for employees to come onsite to work,
paying employees who are unable to come to work and also unable to work from
home, for example. 

4.     Organizations
are also starting to give serious though to retention strategies in the event
that pay freezes or other cuts to compensation become necessary.

3/12/2020

The discussion of the first virtual gathering of total rewards leaders covered the following compensation & benefits issues: 

Compensation

  • How
    are organizations determining comp & benefits for consultants/contractors/ vendors?

    • Some are shifting to seeing contractors as employees
    • Leading
      orgs are now extending some compensation to contractors (i.e. Lyft/Uber)
  • Is
    your org doing anything to accommodate by easing travel ban, relaxing
    salespersons quotas or making payout adjustments?

    • Some are requiring a business case for going into the office in high-risk areas where we want
      people to work from home. What
      is a worthwhile reason?
  • Re:
    Salespersons quotas – reinforcing that this is your opportunity, no immediate
    changes to quotas; reluctance to relax quotas – travel/safety implications?
  • Voiding
    requirements on # of in-person meetings and allowing virtual meetings to count
    in place of those
  • At
    what point do we change policies?
  • Many
    clients are instituting policies that do not allow visitors (limiting in-person
    sales discussions, etc.)
  • How
    do we support employees who cannot afford to practice “social distancing”
    or work from home?
  • How
    do we work with compliance?
  • Help
    understand the impact and hard lines of in-person meetings/events

Benefits

  • How
    do we adjust pay and PTO for mandated or volunteer 14-day quarantine time?

    • Most are paying
      individual quarantined for 14-day period
  • Have
    you made any adjustments to your health benefits, such as paying for testing?
  • Walmart
    – No penalty for those uncomfortable coming into work (even if not sick/under
    quarantine)
  • What
    does flex time look like?
  • Will moving to remote work now make this an ongoing part of the culture?
  • How
    do we address concerns about abuse of these new policies?
  • Extend
    trust to employees in the face of health crisis
  • Handle
    issues from WFH on a case-by-case basis
  • Potential
    lower productivity for those WFH with children at home (school cancellations)

Long-term Impact

  • How
    are you adjusting performance management practices?

    • Be
      sensitive & empathetic
    • Create teams to check-in on how people are
      adjusting/feeling
  • How
    do we mitigate expected impact and crisis mgmt.?
  • How
    should we treat higher-risk populations within our workforces?
  • Encourage
    people to listen to doctor’s advice
  • Placing the responsibility on the employee to take care of their health

Communication

  • Keep in mind the importance
    of abiding by the policies and guidance of local law enforcement, hospitals,
    client policies
  • Agility
    and flexibility – Leaders need to set the tone that they are making decisions
    based on what they know today, but will update as new information becomes
    available; anticipate tough adjustment for workforce
  • Providing
    online real-time platform with latest updates and messaging from business
    leaders (“Reach out to your HRBP for more information”)
  • Importance
    of tracking region-specific information

Misc

  • Health
    Insurance Carriers (IRS Guidance) – What co-pays should be waived for employees
    on corporate health insurance plans?
  • Next Practice
    – “Learning as a Reward” – How do we identify and reward the leaders that
    continue to drive performance, collaboration (and well-being) throughout this
    crisis and virtual platform?
  • Virtual
    leadership as a performance metric
  • Investing in
    the workforce – What is the mix of our workforce investment (stock
    compensation, etc.)?
  • Considering
    impact to company valuations

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