Are reward strategies fit for remote workforces?

Companies acknowledge that they need to adapt their pay and progression strategies in light of the increase in home working caused by the pandemic, a poll of employers has found.

The survey, conducted by Willis Towers Watson, found more than half of employers did not believe their current rewards strategy was fit for a more remote workforce. And despite many organisations expecting high levels of remote working to continue in the future, fewer than half (45 per cent) thought their current job architecture was suitable for a flexible workforce.

A similar proportion (43 per cent) said their job-levelling processes were suitable for developing flexible and agile workforces, while just over a quarter (28 per cent) said they still didn’t have policies in place to manage flexible working.

Employers are recognising many of the working practices forced by the pandemic were here to stay, the way work is structured and pay is managed is still based on roles being fulfilled onsite within geographically organised teams.

The good news is that the trend in many organisations was moving in the direction of a more flexible approach anyway and the pandemic has just turbo-charged the speed of change. But employers now need to take a step back and examine the future state of their organisation overall and decide how they can make the most of their new agile workforce.

However, the survey findings dispelled fears that an increase in remote working could lead to lower wages, at least in the short term. Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of employers polled said they intended to continue fully paying remote workers the same rates as in-office staff next year – although 57 per cent said, going forward, new work requirements would require a hybrid approach to pay and reward.

While most employers are providing flexible work arrangements for safety reasons today, they also recognise that offering remote or flexi-time arrangements can play a significant role in retaining talent, supporting diversity and keeping workers engaged and productive as we move beyond this pandemic.

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