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Love, Compensation and Washington, DC

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Teri Zipper
on May 11, 2017

Washington, DC – not exactly the “city of Love.” And yet this week, love was in the air. In addition to being the location for the 2017 Total Rewards Conference, Washington, DC, was host to the lovely Valentine sushi roll (in May for some reason?) at Momiji which was well-presented, as were the sessions at the conference.  Did I mention how delicious that roll was?


People attending the conference were showing how much they LOVE compensation (and benefits), showing up in droves for regression analysis, statistics, talent analytics, behavioral science and other complex sounding STEM-related sessions among others. Comp people are numbers people; the right numbers at the right time for the right people. Compensation is one place where if you get the numbers wrong you can be in big trouble, not just with your boss but fellow colleagues and employees. If you’ve ever gotten it wrong, you know what I mean. I once had an employee call me because their pay was off by 3 cents and they wanted to know how I was going to make that up for them. But back to the conference…

The event kicked off on Sunday afternoon with a 2-hour cocktail event in the exhibit hall, giving us an opportunity to welcome people to the conference and start the solutions conversations. Over the next 2 days we met with over 100 people from different organizations about their comp needs. Many expressed needs for compensation to make administration and management easier, while others shared manager and decision-maker experiences and what they wanted to do to improve the process, which I found quite refreshing. They wanted to help their leaders make better rewards decisions, encourage better collaboration – especially in a matrixed environment, and improve communications to employees. While simplifying process for compensation is valuable, the most important part of the compensation experience is about getting the right outcomes given the investment, and ensuring that people understand the investment you are making in them. I was pleased to hear a lot more compensation and total rewards professionals focused on this angle and how to improve the lives of others versus just their own.


Our Solutions Consultants did a fantastic job at the conference of helping these smart, insightful professionals see the big picture and what success could look like for compensation in their organization. We literally were doing back-to-back solution demos on the expo floor so this is clearly a hot topic. I also continue to be surprised at the number of organizations of decent size still using spreadsheets to get the job done. You are not alone, but trust me when I say there is a better way.

In addition to the great traffic in the hall, PeopleFluent hosted a group of organizations on Tuesday night for a fantastic dinner at Acadiana, a contemporary Louisiana fish house in the heart of our Nation’s Capital. Not only was the food fantastic, but dinner enabled seasoned compensation professionals and newcomers to share their experiences with one another. Even with varied industries like hi-tech, eSports, healthcare and financial services at the table, these Compensation professionals had a lot in common. Comp people want good data and analysis – they want to know what’s happening. Managers want easy access to the right data. Knowing what the market will bear for a job is important. Measurement is still needed with or without ratings. Guidelines and budgets are a requirement. That said, a lot of things are different as well. The way you incent employees depends on their role, business goals and more. Your strategy for merit/salary increases can vary widely – whether it’s cash or perks that play better in an organization depends a lot on culture and other factors. The one thing that seemed fairly unanimous was that these people LOVED compensation and we LOVED showing them how they could do it better.

If you missed seeing PeopleFluent Compensation in action at the conference, feel free to contact us for a customized demo.

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