Are all employees really in it together?


Are all employees really in this together?

Politicians and executives need to seriously investigate the distribution of risks and rewards in the UK economy, “as many people, including me, are feeling that they have got out of kilter,” says Duncan Brown, writing in a recent edition of People Management magazine.

Brown, who is Principal - Reward and Engagement at Aon Hewitt, cites evidence from his firm’s engagement database showing that only a third of UK employees think their pay is fair and even fewer trust their senior managers.


As Brown explains: “Escalating rates of executive pay, when everyone else is feeling the worst squeeze on living standards since the war, may not explain the overall decline of 10% in employee engagement levels on our database over the last 12 months, but they certainly can’t be helping.”

Seasonal wishes

He concludes by offering his “two seasonal wishes for a more fulfilling and rewarding New Year for more of us”.

First, employers must “link the top and bottom of the house” in a reward sense and show all employees really are in it together. Brown says: “That doesn’t mean that they all need to have a common flat rate bonus scheme like John Lewis, with no executive Rolls Royce version (although JL seem to do rather well with it, don’t they?). But all staff should have the opportunity to share in an employer’s performance improvement, not just those at the top.” He urges more organisations to adopt profit or gainsharing schemes which “have an excellent research record”.

Secondly, organisations should be required to publish key human capital and reward statistics, including their gender pay relativities and internal pay ratios, absence levels, training investments and engagement scores. Brown observes: “Once everyone is forced to do it, the novelty will soon wear off and we can really get into examining why some employers are so much better at creating high performance from the engagement of their employees than others. And I guarantee you, it won’t be those that pay the least.”

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Title: “It’s time to show that we’re all in this together”, by Duncan Brown, People Management, 3 January 2012.

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