Components of Compensation - Part II

In the previous article (Part I) we looked at some of the components of compensation that are paid out to employees and the way in which these components are fixed by HR managers and companies. In this article (Part II), we shall look at some components of compensation like Basic and Variable Pay (including the sub-components of variable pay) and discuss how these are fixed by the firms when they sign off on the compensation packages to their employees.

To take the first component that is common to all packages at all levels (hence the term basic - however, it is not the same for all levels).

  • Basic pay is the base on which the compensation package rests. This is the equivalent of the base of the pyramid and the other components are usually fixed as a percentage of the basic pay. It is common to find components like HRA (House Rental Allowance) and Additional Pay as a certain percentage (say 20% or 30%) of the Basic.

  • There are many companies that have introduced the concept of Variable Pay where this particular component of the compensation is not fixed, but is a percentage of the Basic that is paid out according to the performance of the company, group and the individual. Hence, the term performance linked pay is also used for variable pay.

    If we take the three sub-components of the Variable Pay -

    1. The company performance linked pay is as the term implies paid out as a percentage of the Basic that is tied to the performance of the company as a whole. So, if a company performs exceedingly well in the given quarter, then the employee might get a large percentage (say 100% or 150%) of the base of the component. If a company does do not well or does only moderately better, then the employee might get a lower percentage of the base (say 50% or 75%).

    2. The group performance linked pay is paid out in a similar manner but the point of reference in this case is the performance of the group or the division in which the employee works.

    3. Finally, the most important sub-component is the Individual Performance Linked Pay that is paid out according to the performance of the employee and hence is entirely tied to the way in which the employee performs as determined by the rating that he or she gets at the end of the performance cycle.

The rationale for these components is that an employee would be better motivated to perform individually, contribute to the group to which he or she belongs and finally, perform well keeping in view the overall growth of the company. Hence, these sub components of compensation have been designed to spur the employee to excel not only in an individual capacity but as a team member and finally, a responsible employee of the company. The idea here is to discourage silo based performance and instead concentrate on all round performance.

In the articles to follow, we shall look at how employees can negotiate their compensation by following some tips that we shall provide.


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