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SZA Articles

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"Engaging Talent While Managing Pay Costs" 
A CEO said to her top HR leader, "We are pressed for cost management and return on workforce investment. I want you to adjust the emphasis of our human resource programs over the next 18 months to get more performance advantage from one of our largest expenses, the cost of employee pay." The catalysts for this needed change were most likely...
"What Are Key Pay Issues Right Now?" 
Compensation & Benefits Review
What are some of the most challenging issues and questions facing the pay and rewards field right now? During the last year, we have asked human resource (HR) conference attendees what are the most critical topics on their minds as senior HR leaders and professionals. The most frequently mentioned issues include...
"How to Create High-Performance Pay"
White Paper, WorldatWork Website
How does an employer really engage a workforce and make each employee a stakeholder in the company's success? Paying everyone competitively isn�t enough�nor is merely following best or prevailing practice...
"Building the Case for Paying for Performance"
Human Resource Executive Online
Actions by HR leaders are the most important variables in determining ways in which pay and other rewards--from top to bottom throughout the organization--are structured. The stakes are high...
"Piloting Pay for Performance"
White Paper, WorldatWork Website
CEOs are struggling to improve mileage from major opportunity expenditures. And what organizations spend on pay and rewards often is one of the major costs of running an organization--for-profit and not-for-profit alike. In many instances, pay and rewards constitute the largest cost. As an organizational leader or HR professional, it�s essential to manage pay and reward costs to add value to organizational goals. But paying for performance in real terms is not easy--it's easier to avoid basing pay on performance or addressing performance issues...
"Executive Compensation: Rewarding Excellence and Ensuring Governance
xecutive compensation governance is a major challenge for both profit and nonprofit organizations. Organizations are changing executive compensation advisors, and board members are either learning more about the executive compensation programs they are asked to approve or running the risk of incurring potential liability and embarrassment. Board directors fear the effects of egregious examples of arguably deficient governance as provided recently by the New York Stock Exchange as well as the Walt Disney Corporation.
"The Executive Compensation Crisis in Tax-Exempt Organizations
id you know that nonprofits, including tax-exempt hospitals, charities and social-welfare organizations, number in the millions in the US? And that many of these are in California? Did you also know that many of them are on the cusp of an executive compensation crisis? Why? Because most CEOs and board members don't know the tidal wave coming their way and its impact on executive compensation governance and board liability.
"Total Rewards: People Want More Than Money"
Executive Excellence
Since many leaders are concerned about how pay and rewards are managed, we recommend a talent management solution of total rewards that better uses scarce dollars.
"Bring Practical Total Rewards to Your Organization
HR leaders deserve the chance to play a more essential role at the business strategy table. CEO's say they're universally concerned about how pay and rewards, a major business opportunity cost, are managed. The HR press reports that HR leaders spend the majority of their time on the "softer" elements of HR--training, development, and nearly everything other than pay and rewards. This article encourages considering a talent management solution of total rewards that better use scarce reward dollars and help HR leaders become stronger players in formulating business strategies.
"Pay It Forward"
People Management
Branding total reward schemes has become globally popular. But there is a problem. Too often, when companies talk about "total reward" they simply mean providing generous benefits and a positive place to work. This makes a company attractive to the workforce in general but perhaps not to those who will make your enterprise prosper. We believe companies need to fashion their workplace to be attractive to people who are dedicated to adding value to the business. This is a critical priority, especially during these competitive business times.
"How You Pay Is What You Get
Across the Board
In the lounge of the Shanghai airport, we chanced upon two Midwesterners on their way home. They were closing down a U.S.-China joint-venture manufacturing business that had gone broke. Their assignment had been to globalize their U.S.-based business in Asia, but their Chinese partners never provided the necessary raw materials or local support. The deal finally collapsed when their Chinese partners secretly refinanced their jointly owned factory and ran off with the money. This was the pair's first expatriate assignment, and they were on their way home with their tails between their legs. They did not understand Chinese business law (or the lack of it)...
"Winning the Talent Game: Total Rewards and the Better Workforce Deal!"
Compensation & Benefits Management
The next decade may prove to be the best of times for companies and workforces, bringing good financial performance and good work to do. However, some dramatic but positive course corrections are necessary, especially in the workplace. More jobs are chasing fewer talented people. Companies have elected to try to "grow to greatness" rather than just emphasize cost reduction.
"Retaining Top Talent"
Executive Excellence
ow do you attract, hire, and keep the best people? Let's look to what you can do to make yourself a winner in the war for talent.
"Doing Your Executive Comp Deal?"
Executive Talent
We'll bet you're expecting an article on negotiating a compensation deal with an employer that will take a "win-lose" perspective--telling you how to "win" and how to make the company "lose." Guess again.
"Total Rewards"
Human Resource Executive
Olympic ski champion Picabo Street is a winner. When she was growing up, her home was near the Sun Valley Ski Resort. When she won her first Olympic medal, the resort let her select the ski run that it would name after her--Picabo's Street."...No money in the world could have made up for the power of that message about recognizing and celebrating success. 

Classic SZA Articles

"How to Pay Members of Small, High-Performance Teams
Compensation & Benefits Review, special issue Team Pay Case Studies
The name of the game in companies today is performance. Although that term has always been part of our management vocabulary, it takes on special cogency in the context of what we call "high commitment" or "high performance" work practices. Studies of these practices in various industries
--automotive manufacturing, semiconductor assembly, textiles, and steel production--consistently reveal performance improvements of between 25% and 50% Substantial gains by anyone's measure!

"Best Practices for Small-Team Pay"
ACA Journal
Increasingly, companies are forming small teams in their quest for performance. Management and organization effectiveness literature emphasizes teams as a positive option for companies committed to competitive advantage through people. The question of how to pay team members eventually arises. Should traditional pay that focuses only on individual performance and the job remain dominant in team-based organizational designs? Alternatively, should some portion of team member pay be based on the performance of the small team? Should skills and competencies, rather than the job, become the "atoms" of team pay design?
"Competencies and Competency Models: Does One Size Fit All?
ACA Journal
Although competencies are not new, paying for competencies is rapidly gathering attention. In many firms, the rate of change is so great that the individual job has ceased to be useful as the "atom" around which organizations and human resources practices are structured. Job-based pay has outlived its usefulness in such companies. Firms are searching for a new logic to pay and a new basis for salary structures that are better aligned with organizational strategies, structures, cultures and other HR practices. At this point, competency-based pay is the most promising base pay alternative to job-based pay.
"Moving One Notch North: Executing the Transition to New Pay"
Compensation & Benefits Review
Performance-based initiatives such as total quality, cycle-time improvement, and customer focus do not, in themselves, give a company any unique advantage. Rather, a company builds competitive advantage by combining the right strategy with the effective execution of that strategy.
"Supporting Teams with Multi-Rater Performance Reviews
Compensation & Benefits Management
Much is written about performance appraisal and performance review, and most of it seems to emphasize the process of designing a form for reviewing performance or "how to get the most out of supervisor/employee performance discussions." Although important, the traditional performance review that receives the most attention in the literature is most often only a one- or two-dimensional process.
"Building Pay Environments to Facilitate High-Performance Teams"
ACA Journal
Dynamic change and increased competition, which characterize business in the 1990s, most likely will accelerate the trend toward high employee involvement. High involvement increases the role employees play by giving them opportunities to assume more responsibility for organizational results and directions.
"Linking Quality and Pay
HR Magazine
Traditional pay based on tenure, entitlement and bureaucratic organizational structure is not compatible with business and human resource challenges of the 1990s...Today it is essential to link pay to measures of quality and customer value.
"Sales Compensation Strategies at the Most Successful Companies"
Personnel Journal
Do the financially best-performing companies have some special sales secrets? Yes and no...A recent study of sales compensation programs in 75 companies indicates that, although they have no secrets, top performing companies do apply some common principles to the design, implementation and communication of methods to compensate their sales personnel.


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