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As I'm sure you recognize, the difficulty with giving employees a bump in pay for additional responsibilities is that it's difficult to remove once the duties disappear. Sometimes it's a good idea to let the situation develop for a while before taking any action to increase pay or give a bonus. You can always award an increase or bonus retroactive to the effective date the employee assumed the enhance job duties. If the situation continues with the incumbent assuming those additional responsibilities permanently, then it's time to reward them.

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Wally Bock

Well said Ann (and Becky). Don't apply a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Base pay is a fixed cost, and variable rewards are not (they're variable!).

I like the Zingheim and Schuster's approach(the authors of Pay People Right!, etc.). They say base pay is for what you bring to work everyday (your skill set, experience, etc.) and variable pay is for results.

So, following this line of thought, if you want to pay for results, or for people "stepping up," we should be doing that via variable pay, not via base pay.

Great posting - and very timely for a client situation I am dealing with, so I will be forwarding this on to their Leadership Team. thanks for consistently "bringing it" with the best and latest comp info, ideas, and innovations!


The Zinheim and Schuster distinction between base and variable pay is helpful and makes sense to me! Thanks for the reinforcement!


Glad that it comes at an opportune time!

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