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Evolve Pay for Performance

Shift from a one-size-fits-all to a tailored approach to base pay increases and bonuses.

  • Budgets typically aren’t big enough for true differentiation among employees, and many managers do not bother trying to differentiate their direct reports.
  • The annual merit increase process is lengthy with the involvement of many stakeholders, and the outcome has minimal impact.
  • Today's work environment no longer supports a one-size-fits-all approach to base pay increases and bonuses.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst.

  • Get on-demand project support
  • Get advice, coaching, and insight at key project milestones
  • Go through a Guided Implementation to help you get through your project

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Make realistic decisions on the base pay increase and bonus options that can be implemented.
  • Have the courage to identify and define objectives that depart from the norm.
  • Be creative in how you design an approach to achieve your defined objectives.

Impact and Result

  • Redefine the objectives of providing base pay increases and bonuses to align process with practice.
  • Design a tailored approach for base pay increases and bonuses that aligns with defined objectives in order to achieve desired outcomes.
  • This will require a cultural shift in how organizations and employees view the purpose of such compensation programs, as well as transparency regarding what the organization is paying for.

Evolve Pay for Performance Research & Tools

1. Evaluate current pay for performance approach

Evaluate the organization’s compensation philosophy, employee value proposition, performance management practices, current approach to annual base pay increases and bonuses, culture, workforce data, and organizational readiness for changes to the current approach.

2. Determine new objectives for base pay increases and bonuses

Determine base pay increase and bonus objectives and select measurements of success over time.

3. Design base pay increase and bonus approach

Design the base pay increase and bonus approach, conduct a simulated costing exercise, and obtain stakeholder feedback.

4. Develop implementation plan

Conduct a risk assessment, pilot the roll-out, if appropriate, and develop the change management and communication strategies.

Pay for Performance

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How to complete this course:

Use these videos, along with the Project Blueprint deck above, to gain an understanding of the subject. Start with the Introduction, then move through each of the Course Modules. At the end of each Module, you will be required to complete a short test to demonstrate your understanding. You will complete this course when you have completed all of the course tests.

  • Number of Course Modules: 4
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

Examine how to align pay for performance with an organization’s context and people strategy, defining objectives for the approach and selecting appropriate methods to determine annual base pay increases and bonuses.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Explain why the current approach to pay for performance is not effective and how a new approach is needed to align with today’s work environment.
  • Describe the three different objectives for a new approach and how to identify which is most appropriate for your organization.
  • Discuss various options for annual base pay increases and bonuses, how they align to the three different objectives, and when they are most appropriate for an organization.

Course Modules

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Module 1

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Module 2

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Module 3

Workshop: Evolve Pay for Performance

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Identify Compensation Challenges and Complete a Current-State Assessment

The Purpose

  • Discuss compensation challenges and complete a current state assessment.
  • Gauge organizational readiness.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Implications and organizational readiness for changes to annual base pay increases and bonuses have been assessed.




Identify and discuss your compensation challenges.

  • Pain points of the current pay for performance approach are identified.

Examine performance management practices.

  • Required links to performance management are determined.

Evaluate current pay for performance approach.

  • Effectiveness of the current approach is reviewed.

Analyze workforce data and trends.

  • Workforce data is analyzed for possible implications to pay for performance changes.

Evaluate the cultural landscape.

  • Required alignment between organizational culture and pay for performance is determined.

Assess your organizational readiness level.

  • Organizational readiness for changes to annual base pay increases and bonuses determined

Module 2: Design a New Approach to Base Pay Increases and Bonuses

The Purpose

  • Define objective(s) for annual base pay increases and bonuses, either by employee segment or organization-wide.
  • Set metrics and design the program approach.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Objectives are aligned to organizational strategy, structure, and culture.
  • Metrics for success are determined and the program approach foundation is outlined.




Determine new objectives for base pay increases and bonus programs.

  • New objectives for base pay increases and bonus programs.

Select goals and metrics.

  • Goals and metrics to measure the success of your base pay increase and bonus approach.

Design base pay increase and bonus approach.

  • Building blocks for the new base pay increase and bonus approach are selected.

Module 3: Complete a Costing Simulation, Identify Risks, and Develop Your Communication Strategy

The Purpose

  • Conduct a simulated cost exercise.
  • Identify potential risks with the new approach.
  • Develop an employee communication strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Budgetary implications are understood at a high level.
  • Risk assessment is conducted.
  • Communication plan is established.




Conduct a simulated costing exercise to identify any budgetary impacts.

  • High-level financial impacts of the new approach are calculated.

Identify potential risks and difficulties in rolling out new approach.

  • Risks identified and mitigation solutions brainstormed.

Develop an action and communication plan.

  • Implementation strategy determined.

Determine how to prepare managers.

  • Managers equipped to succeed in their new role.
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About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 13 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Evaluate current pay for performance approach
  • Call 1: Review employee value proposition, compensation philosophy, performance management practices, and the current annual base pay increase and bonus approach to highlight areas that will inform the design process.
  • Call 2: Examine workforce data and culture, ensuring that there is a stated dominant culture and the organization is trying to help drive a desired culture with the approach.
  • Call 3: Determine organizational readiness for change and the extent of change possible in the new approach.

Guided Implementation 2: Determine new objectives for base pay increases and bonuses
  • Call 1: Determine if objectives will be by employee segment or organization-wide.
  • Call 2: Identify the appropriate objective(s) for the approach.
  • Call 3: Define each objective to reflect the organization’s strategy, structure, and culture.

Guided Implementation 3: Design base pay increase and bonus approach
  • Call 1: Review and discuss each of the options for base pay increases and bonuses.
  • Call 2: Identify the appropriate options for each employee segment or organization-wide.
  • Call 3: Conduct a costing simulation exercise to identify high-level budget impacts.
  • Call 4: Prepare for the stakeholder meeting to present the proposed approach.

Guided Implementation 4: Develop implementation plan
  • Call 1: Identify risks and challenges in rolling out the proposed approach. Determine whether an organization-wide or pilot approach is appropriate.
  • Call 2: Develop change management strategy and identify potential champions for change.
  • Call 3: Create a manager and employee training plan to prepare the workforce for the new approach.


  • Kareen Clattenburg, Director of Total Rewards, Moneris
  • Chuck Csizmar, Principal, CMC Compensation Group
  • Eric Grobecker, Director – Global Compensation, Ingersoll Rand
  • Irwin Jankovic, Ph.D., Strategic Program Manager – Human Resources Group, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Ilia Maor, Research Director – Application Practice, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Larry McMullen, Director – Learning & Organization Development, The Hillman Group
  • Robin Miller Dewit, Senior Specialist – Talent Management, Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Vatche Rubenyan, Senior Director Compensation and Benefits Programs, Rogers Communications
  • Dow Scott, Ph.D., Professor of Human Resources and Consultant, Loyola University Chicago, Performance Development International, LCC
  • Melissa Tucker, Vice President – Employee & Labor Relations, HealthNow Inc.