For many people involved in the study of compensation strategies, their goal is to work in the compensation field — as soon as possible. Coincidentally, the federal government is looking for qualified compensation advisors to begin working — as soon as possible.
What’s the catch? The work itself requires some heavy-duty clearing up of the systems mess resulting from the implementation of the Phoenix pay system for federal employees.
As reported through Canadian news outlets, the federal government is continuing in its efforts to try to fix the numerous issues that continue to plague its pay systems. There is, apparently, a fundamental problem that has resulted in hundreds of federal employees receiving incorrect pay, or no pay at all. These issues have been in the news since the winter of 2016 and are still not resolved.
An important element of learning is the process of figuring out how not to make the same mistake over and over again. Though I don’t have the benefit of all of the facts linked to the system problems, it seems evident that there is a significant failure of learning in this case. The mistakes continue to be made.
What we can learn from this is how critical it is that the right strategies be implemented with the right people in the right way in order for any compensation change — be it structural or procedural — to be successful. It does not matter if the amount of compensation offered to federal employees is generous, or even fair. If these employees do not get paid what they were offered and what they accepted as part of their contract of employment, the amount of compensation considerations mean nothing.
Hopefully, the compensation advisor positions will be filled as quickly as possible by qualified and dedicated professionals (like you), who are ready to get the job done.
- Would you accept a position as a compensation advisor with the federal government as described in the news article? Explain your rationale.
- If you were the Human Resources practitioner with responsibility for employee communications in a department impacted by these pay problems, what would you say to those employees?
- If you were an employee of the federal government, what types of expectations would you have with regard to your compensation, both retro-active (if mistakes were made) and on a go-forward basis?