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From Effectively Influencing Leadership to Unlimited PTO: What TR Pros Need to Know

By Brealyn Watson, WorldatWork

Aug. 25, 2017 — When you're thinking about influencing senior leadership, the buzzword of the day is data. But without adding a little art into that science, your case may not be as compelling as you think.

That was one of the key takeaways Brit Wittman, CCP, CECP, director of executive compensation and corporate design at Intel, gave to attendees at the Arizona Total Rewards Association's (ATRA) first annual conference yesterday. ATRA is a participating WorldatWork Local Network.

"The area that I see that people tend to underserve is they bring tons of data and they appeal to the rational side," Wittman said to attendees who gathered at the Thunderbird Executive Conference Center in Glendale, Ariz. "But all of the data in the world isn't going to stay with them. It is not going to move them to action. You need to engage the audience and make them care."

Keynote speaker for the event, Wittman certainly endorsed the importance of data, but emphasized that the way HR professionals relay that information in a human way to leadership should change and appeal to their emotional side.

He recommended having an iron-clad conclusion in mind when developing your presentation — one that you can stand by. Also, have answers ready for questions and put some passion behind your recommendations.

Unlimited PTO
After Wittman's keynote speech, attendees took the opportunity to select from a variety of breakout sessions at the event. Unlimited paid time off (PTO) was of particular interest to many attendees, and Willis Towers Watson's Marina Galatro, PHRca, SHRM-CP, a senior HR consultant and HR partner, delivered by focusing how companies can implement this type of program.

With Americans wasting up to 662 million vacations days in 2016, Galatro stressed the importance of knowing your employee base and using tracking to measure PTO use. The biggest reasons most employees don't take vacation? Fear of negative consequences and/or replacement, she said.

"Every PTO day not taken is a lost opportunity," Galatro said.

Hot Topics in Comp
Brent Longnecker, CCP, CBP, president and owner of Longnecker & Associates, held an afternoon session at the event to address the top 10 hot topics in compensation. On his list:

  • The talent gap
  • The rise of short-term incentives
  • The rise of long-term incentives
  • Millennial pay
  • Closing the gender pay gap
  • Disclosing the CEO pay gap in 2018
  • Peer group selection
  • Navigating the ISS maze
  • Increasing government audits of compensation practices
  • Board compensation.

20% of the workforce is within five to seven years of retirement, Longnecker said. Couple that with the fact that 48 is the average age of U.S. employees, and there's an underserved population in there.

"There's a big gap left in the 30 to 45 age range," he said. "This leaves companies with Millennials who they need trained on the job, faster."

For the first time in history, employers have four generations of employees in the workplace. Add in that age discrimination is the No. 1 lawsuit in the United States, he said, and it's clear that a multi-generational workforce will affect compensation.

In addition to the breakout sessions, attendees took advantage of networking opportunities during breakfast and lunch, and lunchtime speaker Lisa Schmidt of Mindful Benefits delivered an important presentation on stress management: Something certainly needed to handle an evolving world of total rewards and human resources.


Brealyn Watson is a member of the News & Publications team at WorldatWork.

Contents © 2017 WorldatWork. For more information, contact the Copyright Department at WorldatWork.

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