Reward Policy and Practice

Research Report: The Future Reward Leader

  • September 12, 2023

What will the Reward Function look like five years from now and what sort of people will it need to rise to the challenge that companies face of building a future fit organisation?

Three years in and the 2020s have already thrown us a few curveballs. The indications are that the decade will continue to be turbulent and will be significantly different from recent ones. The relatively stable post-1989 ‘era of markets’ is over. The geopolitical and economic environment will be less conducive to global business. Environmental and demographic pressures will add to the challenge.

Businesses will need to adopt new approaches and changed mindsets on a number of fronts. Prevailing assumptions about risk, regulation, employee behaviour and customer reactions will be challenged. Much of the received wisdom of recent decades will need to be unlearnt. Building organisational performance and resilience in parallel will be crucial.

Many of the organisational and workforce challenges of the current decade are inextricably linked and require an integrated strategy. This has profound implications for Reward professionals and will demand a new or adapted set of skills. HR functions will need to develop new structures and systems that will support and incentivise the new capabilities and behaviours required.

This report builds on our Future-Fit Workforce report of 2021 and assesses some of the political, social and economic developments that have occurred since that report was published. We have interviewed a broad cross-section of PARC members and sought the views of both executive and non-executive management, including RemCo chairs.

This report is an attempt to profile the senior Reward professional of the late 2020s, making some educated guesses about the direction of travel. In the light of the evolving challenges facing organisations, how will Reward professionals need to adapt their behaviours, and what new skills will they require?

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