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15 Feb 2023
by Gemma Carroll

Sally Elcome at ISS on supporting line managers to communicate pay decisions

Sally Elcome, senior reward and recognition manager at ISS Facility Services UK, outlines why it’s so important to support and work with line managers when communicating pay decisions.

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During REBA’s recent Reward and benefits trends for 2023 webinar, supported by Workhuman, Sally Elcome, senior reward and recognition manager at ISS Facility Services UK, provided some helpful insight into their communication strategy, and pointers for those communicating pay decisions.

1. Set out your objectives: Before you start your salary review, hold some update sessions with your line managers; talk them through the process and the principles of what you’re looking to achieve from the review.

2. Be transparent with budgets: Share the budget information with line managers and discuss challenges, such as fair distribution for high performers versus individuals on performance improvement plans.

3. Ensure the information filters down: Outline the expectation that all information in the session is to be passed on to local line managers. This is especially important for teams with remote, on-the-move employees.

4. Get out into the field: Wherever possible, make face-to-face connections with people; be more than a voice on the end of the phone, and make sure that all parts of the organisation know what reward means for them and their part of the business.

“Let them know that, just because we're HR, and we're based in one of the corporate offices, that doesn’t mean that we're not interested in what’s going on within those local working parties,” she explained. 

The power of the many

Karen Gaynor, reward director Europe & Africa at DIAGEO, agreed. “In territory like this,” she said, “you have to try and utilise the community to help you with that communication, rather than just relying on HR.”

She suggested engaging with business leaders to make sure they play their part too. Are there affinity groups or employee forums that you could connect with to help spread the message? Can you weave the information into employee resource groups and get them talking?

Honesty is the best policy

“My own view,” Gaynor continued, “is that we need to start speaking to people adult to adult, rather than like a parent with a child. The expectations around pay are going to be challenging when the reality is that most companies in the UK will not be matching pay against inflation.”

This area needs some honest conversations, and HR leaders will need to ensure that managers are equipped with the understanding they need to be able to have those individual discussions, as Elcome outlined.

Spread your tentacles

Aware of the importance of getting out in the field to talk more openly about pay decisions, Elcome has started to reach out to local business partners. Her aim is to attend their leadership team meetings, forge new relationships and explain what she does and what the reward function is looking to do within the business.

“I need to understand ‘what are the issues within your part of the business?’ Because, often, what filters back to me, isn’t always necessarily what is really going on,” she said. “So I'm actually trying to reach out my tentacles, just trying to be as available as I can be to communicate about reward around the business as much as possible.”