What is Reward?
A Reward team sits within HR and it is one of the most integral parts of an organisation. They are responsible for striking the balance between performance and pay. Reward teams, through various means, look at engaging with employees and work out fair packages that are representative of different criteria, whilst at the same time ensuring that the company remains profitable. After all, if they overpay a company becomes unprofitable! Getting it right can be very tricky - some say that Reward is a science and others say it is an art. You need to ensure employees at all levels are happy whilst keeping a company in the black!
Depending on the size of an organisation a Reward team can be split into multiple areas. In a larger company, it might be broken down with separate compensation, benefits and pensions teams, whereas in a smaller company a Reward employee might be expected to cover all these areas in an overall Reward position.
What does it take to work in Reward?
A strong Reward professional needs to have a good analytical mindset. They will be looking at large amounts of data both from internal sources and the external market and must be able to process, analyse, interpret and take appropriate action based on the information they have.
Innovation is a large part of Reward, it’s not just a question of working out correct salaries, bonuses or offering every benefit under the sun. It is about being creative and figuring out what works for the organisation you are in. Culture plays a big part in what people want and a true Reward professional needs to understand this and realise that every company is different, and that different offerings motivate people in different ways.
Reward professionals will often be liaising with senior stakeholders in a business where they will be presenting their findings and proposals for change. They will also be speaking to the wider business and educating them about pay, bonuses, benefits etc, so good communication skills are essential. You will be dealing with highly confidential information such as employees’ salaries and bonus details and it is essential that you can demonstrate your ability to handle this type of sensitive information.
How to get into Reward?
There is the question of why do you even want to get into Reward? Is specialising in a specific area going to stereotype you and hamper your career moves in the future? Maybe that is the case with certain roles but not in Reward, which has the possibility to open many doors. It will broaden your HR experience and can lead onto widening your HR career, for example you could move into business partnering or learning and development roles. If you love reward and want to progress up the reward ladder, senior Reward roles can be highly lucrative.
So….hopefully I haven’t put you off and you still want to get into Reward! If you are looking to get in at an entry level then ordinarily companies would look at graduates with business, finance, HR or similar degrees. It is also possible to transfer into Reward if you already work within HR - it might be worth speaking to the team and telling them about your interest in Reward. They might be able to help with internal transfers or putting you in touch with the Reward team where you could shadow them or assist on certain projects. If you are working in other areas such as financial or analytical roles then it could also be possible to make the move.
If you are looking to get into Reward, or if you already work in Reward and are thinking about your next career move then please feel free to get in touch on SimonLazarus@oakleafpartnership.com