Why align compensation with your HR business strategy?

What is the primary objective of your total rewards program? Yes, this is a real question I’m asking you today. If your spontaneous answer is “to pay your employees”, then you have missed the whole strategic aspect of a program built on 3 essential HR levers: attraction, retention and engagement.


If you receive few applications and your positions remain vacant for a long period of time, it goes without saying that the problem here is the attraction of qualified workers. Beyond offering an above-market salary, candidates will prioritize a salary based on experience and education level rather than seniority in the company. A salary structure that takes these factors into account can help you do this.

Job seekers will also consider short-term visibility on salary progression. You could indicate the increases or next salary steps that the new position holder could climb after 3 months, 6 months or a year on the job. This would allow you to offer a slightly lower salary for the probationary period, thereby controlling your costs, and then reward the employee for their successful integration and encourage them to stay.


Do employees leave soon after being hired? Is the average length of service with your company 3 years or less? Your compensation program can help you better retain your key players. Beyond retention bonuses, procedural justice and equitable progression mechanisms should be put forward. Contrary to an attraction issue, we want to recognize seniority and career development within the organization.

Long-term visibility on salary progression is also crucial to counter the desire to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. You would be giving the employee a guarantee that there will always be something better in the future with you.


Poor performance, breaches of internal rules and a negative work atmosphere can be the result of a problem with employee engagement. Your total compensation program should therefore reward efforts to achieve clear objectives. A salary progression mechanism linked to a contribution assessment program (performance evaluation) will not only convey your expectations, but will also ensure that they are met.

Visibility on the increase that could be offered if objectives are met or even exceeded is a motivating element.

After reading this article, you may be asking yourself, “If I have an attraction, retention AND engagement issue within my company, which one should I prioritize?” There’s nothing stopping you from merging multiple strategies within the same pay structure. The important thing is to contextualize your HR programs to your real needs. An Iceberg Management consultant can help you dive under the water to determine the best strategy for you. Contact us for more information!

Elyse Marineau CHRP

Writer for the HR Espace Conseils blog – Iceberg Management