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Making reward strategies flow

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How can you ensure your reward strategy aligns with your business goals? Gary Brewer, of family distillery William Grant & Sons, tells Emily Sexton-Brown how he’s doing it.

MY ROLE HAS THREE KEY AREAS.Firstly, I lead the reward strategy; ensuring the rewards systems and processes are designed to reflect best practice and are embedded in the business. I also lead the company learning strategy; ensuring our global learning plan supports our five-year business plan, underpinned by an appropriate evaluation framework. Lastly, I’m a member of the regional leadership team, leading the HR function in the Asia-Pacific.

WE HAVE A SMALL TEAM THAT GIVES A GLOBAL REACH TO OUR 1,800 EMPLOYEES ACROSS SIX LOCATIONS.Our recent employee engagement surveys were very positive, scoring 87% and 89% across two main studies. Our universal benefits apply regardless of status or seniority, our benefits benchmark well against the marketplace in terms of car provision, health cover, life assurance and access to our products, and coupled with year-on-year pay increases and long-term incentives, it makes for a compelling employment proposition.

WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO TO TELL OUR STORY AS AN EMPLOYER. While our brands are well-known, I think we are still (as a distillery) something of a well-kept secret on the employer branding front. We love attracting ‘rare characters’ and, although there are bigger and wealthier competitors, we give our employees a chance to take on more responsibilities, enjoy a varied workload and create a great reputation, which is recognised.

REWARD STRATEGIES HAVE TO START WITH AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE OVERALL BUSINESS STRATEGY, and where reward can play a full and constructive part in realising the ambitions of the company. In practical terms, that can range from measures and interventions that make your organisation somewhere that people want to join and remain in. As a reward professional, you must be alert in terms of what is happening in the marketplace. It’s also about assessing how costs can be managed and controlled sensibly, not just looking at the next quarter but the long-term too.

“Reward is enjoying a real movement at the moment, despite it being a function that once attracted a dusty and static reputation”

GLOBALISATION IS A CHALLENGE FOR REWARD PROFESSIONALS OVERALL. It creates challenges relating to cultural and legislative differences; poses questions about flexibility and autonomy and asks that we address consistency and precedent. The demand to find cost-effective solutions – as labour costs often remain an organisation’s major expense – is also an issue. The pace of decision-making has to be quicker.

REWARD IS ENJOYING A REAL MOVEMENT AT THE MOMENT, despite it being a function that once attracted a fairly dusty and static reputation. Encapsulating pensions, global mobility, tax efficiencies, governmental involvement, incentivisation, skills premiums and benefits – it’s hugely varied. However, you need to be up-to-date with recent and relevant knowledge, engaging with narrow specialisms and developing a broader appreciation for the commercial world. Being able to span reward, OD and HR in my role is appreciated, with nobody feeling they need to put me in one box.

I LIKE THE FACT THAT THIS IS A FAIR-MINDED ORGANISATION that looks after people well. What we do within reward and HR does make a difference and makes a contribution to the success of the wider business.

Emily  Sexton-Brown

By Emily Sexton-Brown

Emily is the commissioning editor at Changeboard

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