• Richard Beardall

Home Working And Agile Project Working Will Lead To Changing Reward Practices

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Life will most likely be different post Covid19. We will beat this, which could mean a vaccine is available later in 2020, or it might just mean we learn to live with the virus as we do with influenza or even the common cold. Either way we will likely need to react to different ways of working, social distancing and inevitably some form of economic recession. Whatever the outcome there will be opportunities for the Reward community – for many jobs and sectors the factors influencing pay will change.

Challenges will likely be different for different economic sectors, for example retail was experiencing significant difficulties pre coronavirus, hospitality & aviation has been devastated by the virus. But for the financial sector, while experiencing mainly different home working arrangements, the sector appears to have weathered the storm. In total nearly 1/3rd of the working population have experienced home working, and for many home workers, this will probably remain, indefinitely.

This paper speculates how working environments, and approaches to reward might change as agile working and home working gather pace in some sectors of the economy. In this context we consider,

  • Home working – as we become more used to interactions with work colleagues fuelled by increased remote access to new technologies where we work is becoming less important - increasing broadband speed, adoption of cloud technologies, remote access, sharing of documents, video and audio technology solutions.

  • Agile working – a working environment involving bringing people together, of the most appropriate skill set, working together and supporting each other, responding to changing requirements to maximise value against business priorities in the time and budget in the context of constantly changing requirements. Agile working involves working in a project environment and typically requires adoption of ’agile’ working methods, e.g. scrum working.

Home Working


Home working could lead to a greater involvement in remote events, such as town halls, conferences, reduced commuting time & improved work/life balance. For a business it reduces the demand for office space, reduces accommodation costs but changes the nature of the accommodation.

Home working facilitates agile working and will become the working norm.

Resource Managers


Home working changes the engagement between the employer and employee. With individuals now working in multiple teams the role of the manager changes as the project manager is directly involved in the delivery aspects of work. Technical skills become of higher value in the team and the line manager is replaced by a ‘resource manager’ who leads engagement of individuals and the relationship between the individual and organisation.

Values & Culture


The resource manager is a coordination & facilitation role, for, perhaps, up to 40 individuals. Demand for traditional line managers is eliminated leading to wholesale loss of manager jobs and retraining of managers.

The primary link between the employee and the employer now becomes and alignment of culture and values, beliefs and brand values.

Grades & Levels


With the demise of the line manager and work delivered through agile working, the need for job grades/bands reduces. It is no longer about hierarchy as the number of levels of work required to impose control on employees is replaced by self-management and engagement through project teams.

Pay Spines


Pay grades are now replaced by a single pay spine, ranging from, say, spine 1 to spine 100. Every job is allocated a limited range of 3 or 4 pay spines where progress from the entry spine for the job to top spine is automatic.

The same job can have different spine ranges reflecting working in different geographies and business units.

Pay diversity is eliminated as individual all progress to ‘rate for the job’.

Rewarding Performance


Measuring performance and contribution adds impetus to the 360 approach – coordinated by the Resource Manager and relying heavily on automation.

Where organisations wish to reflect performance in pay, they have options by expanding spine ranges, additional spine points or short-term incentive. Those on high potential programmes might have elevated spine range for the same job, high performers might have access to 2 or 3 spines ‘over the top’ of the standard spine range. Alternatively, performance can be reflected in STI.

Recognising Progression


Transparency of career progression opportunity becomes critical. Sight of the Career Framework, job matrix and definitions of accountabilities and competency/capability/skills requirements become more important.

Self-management of career progression, facilitated by the Resource Manager gains importance. Demonstrating achievements through a technology enabled ‘digital passport’ supports open resourcing and progression.

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