When the pandemic hit the country, companies and businesses struggled to ensure their survival. Among these challenges, the biggest one is how to compensate its employees.
Experts have perfected a roadmap for a compensation strategy and have recovered from many challenges since the 18th century. We have seen the best approach adopted by companies, but none expected this pandemic. Medium to small-scale enterprise companies had to decide between keeping the company or keeping the employees.
Managing uncertainty is difficult. For some companies, keeping their employees would mean reducing their salary and adjusting their compensation based on the capability of the business to earn. The past year and a half took employees from a tight and competitive labor market to massive employee retrenchment.
While industries like travel and tours, restaurants, entertainment, leasing and hospitality have been hit hard, their employees felt the burden and pain. They started thinking of how they will cope and survive this pandemic when they mainly relied on their salary.
But despite the challenges, there have been employers and employees who worked to benefit both worlds. They gave their best effort to be flexible in pay and compensation, implement programs, encourage training and development, and even seek organizational restructuring to keep the business and its employees as financially stable as possible while the world is in a pandemic and economic crisis.
The question is, was it enough? Some companies have committed to supporting their employees and families by giving options, financial support, and flexible compensation programs to keep their employees motivated and endure these difficult times. It’s not a matter of how much is enough, but what matters is keeping what is essential and “Being Safe.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has become a global crisis, affecting all industries. Even the most successful companies were not spared, putting all at risk, including jobs, life and people. While there have been rise and fall cycles, we have not seen the world collapse in just a matter of days since the Great Depression. Although there might be future crises, this crisis has taught us to create models tailored to the current demand and workforce.
Addressing compensation and benefits reduce a significant risk. If not addressed, the chance of losing your reliable employee is inevitable. Some may look for better opportunities elsewhere.
Reflecting on this crisis, I have realized that a company should not dwell on compensation alone but rather improve the welfare of its employees. I’ve seen and personally witnessed that in times of great crisis, it’s the employees who we rely on most. It changes my approach and understanding of compensation. Beyond monetary value, companies must create an employee-centric environment. While no one can deny the significance of financial incentives, more employees are more concerned about their welfare, work-life balance and corporate environment.
I have worked in a company, which I owed everything for making me what I am now, that despite the low compensation, I have never felt undervalued. While high salaries may attract us to work for a particular company, I have realized that no matter how the company pays us, it is more important how it treats us. Based on my personal experience, we tend to stay longer in a company that offers an employee-centric environment rather than a high-paying job.
I am also reaching out to the management, most especially to the human resource (HR) department, to revisit its strategy, give more importance to other benefits, and promote employee welfare first. HR should develop programs and compensation packages that would influence the way we work. Some non-financial benefits include medical assistance programs covering immediate family, educational programs that provide opportunities to employees who seek to improve themselves, and corporate housing loan incentives. It would also be good to offer extended family assistance, grocery and gas incentives, and a pandemic assistance program (which is timely) during these difficult times.
Being a seasoned professional, who rose from within the organization’s ranks, I advocate these compensation benefits to encourage people to work with passion and loyalty. A value-based compensation package results in solid growth for both the employees and the company. I always believe that when people grow, so does the company.
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.