Socialize your Compensation & Benefits annual business plan

Socialize your Compensation & Benefits annual business plan

So the time has come to socialise your brilliant Compensation & Benefits annual business plan.

You spent hours gathering and  integrating feedback from your internal clients, thinking about the company strategy and how your team can help accelerate the organisation’s vision and objectives, and putting together a detailed program inclusive of organisation chart, resources needed and timelines. “Budget time” came and your plan was approved. There are still a few weeks left to the year, so what do you do now ?

You take to the road again, and go back to your internal clients in order to gain their buy-in and demonstrate to them how you are planning to bring them even more value in the coming year.

Why is this step so important ? Most of the time, HR, like other support functions, only communicates about its most visible 2 or 3 objectives. These often include a focus on Recruitment and Training and Development, as these 2 aspects are immediate and easy to grasp by anyone in the organisation.

In C&B though, you need to go a bit deeper in order to get buy-in for your projects. Most managers don’t really understand what we do, and fail to graps the systemic impact that the function has on the organisation. This is due to the fact that manay managers or Directors will come to Compensation only to solve an issue about a specific individualor a particular subgroup of employees. Consequently, it is not easy for them to grasp how we can affect the whole company through major initiatives such as a redesign of grading approaches, a new approach to salary reviews, or the implementation of a new governance approach between Corporate and the Divisions through the deployment of virtual teams.

It is therefore essential that you, the C&B Manager, spend time with your most important stakeholders, and explain to them in detail how you listened to their feedback and included it into a plan that is not just a clever technical scheme, but brings specific value to their life as a business leader. Once they understand how your ideas can make their job easier, faster, more efficient, cost-effective, or simply smoother, they will support your efforts throughout the year. This will in turn make your life easier, and everyone will win.

In order to help you have these exchanges with your partners, I have created an easy 4-page template that will get you started on the conversation. It includes the 4 main stages you should cover :

  1. a quick recap of your achievements this year and how they translate into value for the business
  2. lessons learned (to demonstrate that you listened to the feedback given to you previously)
  3. your proposed goals for next year, with the all important translation into “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM) ie the benefit for your stakeholder. This is an essential approach : if you are unable to explain how your project will help your audience, you will not get their buy-in and you might as well stay closed in your office (a.k.a “iveiry tower”).
  4. your assessment of major challenges and interdependencies, as well as a mitigation plan. This helps demonstrate that you anticipate risk and think of alternatives to deliver similar value even under difficult circumstances.

Obviously the last 2 slides are the ones where you will engage the most with your internal clients. Don’t forget to take notes of your conversation. This is where you may get some spontaneous offers of support through resources or influence – after all, once the Director is “sold” on the relevance of your plan to his work, it is in his best interest to support you :-).

And now go get creative and don’t under estimate the power of the WIIFM approach ! So you may have to taylor this presentation for each of your main stakeholder, but believe me, it will be worth the time spent on seeing your job through the eyes of your customers. You will gain fans, be able to deliver more easily, and this establish a virtuous circle which will eventually benefit your C&B career as you will position yourself as someone truly bringing value to the company.


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