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EHR 3360 Compensation and Benefits

Course Description

Examines the financial reward systems of organizations. Studies the theoretical and legal perspectives. Includes job evaluation, wage surveys, incentives, pay equity, benefits, and compensation strategy.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to

  • Identify the definitions, relationship, and ramifications of job evaluation and pay equity
  • Outline the employment law and procedure perspective of compensation and benefit systems
  • Explain the use and utility of various research techniques and the necessity of statistics in human resources
  • Compare and contrast various pay and compensations systems
  • Describe the interaction of various employment policies and practices and their relation to the utility of compensation strategy

Week 1

Lecture: Compensation and Benefits


  • Discuss basic compensation concepts and the context of compensation practices
  • Explain the differences between tactical and strategic compensation
  • Identify compensation goals within an HR department
  • Realize the necessity of strategic analysis factors in setting compensation
  • Name external and internal dimensions of strategic analysis

Week 2

Lecture: Employment Laws


  • Identify legal aspects that influence compensation and the effect that unions have on corporate compensation practices
  • Explain market factors and their impact on corporate compensation practices
  • Discuss labor unions’ direct influence on companies’ compensation practices
  • Describe the traditional business practice of setting employee pay based on seniority
  • Explain the fit of seniority pay practices with two competitive strategies: lowest cost and market-place differentiation
  • Explore the U.S. business practice of setting employee base-pay on the basis of merit
  • Discuss how performance appraisals affect the merit pay process 

Week 3

Lecture: Compensation: Part One


  • Discuss how various methods of pay-for-performance can be strengthened, if the methods should be strengthened at all
  • Define the limitations of merit pay programs
  • Discuss similarities/differences between incentive pay and traditional pay systems
  • Name plans that reward individual behavior
  • Name plans that reward group/team behavior
  • Describe profit sharing and employee stock option plans (ESOPs)
  • Identify systems for designing incentive pay plans
  • Explain how different incentive plans contribute to differentiation and lower cost corporate competitive strategies

Week 4

Lecture: Compensation: Part Two


  • Discuss the importance of building internally consistent compensation systems
  • Explain the significance of having effective job analyses and job descriptions
  • Define the process of job evaluation
  • Specify the different types of job evaluation, including alternatives to doing a job evaluation 
  • Define competency-based pay
  • List similarities/differences between pay-for-knowledge and skill-based pay
  • Cite reasons for companies to adopt one system over another
  • Summarize how pay-for-knowledge and skill-based pay plans fit with differentiation and lowest cost corporate competition strategies 

Week 5

Lecture: Competitive Pay Systems


  • Describe basic principles of pay structure design
  • Evaluate merit pay systems
  • Assess sales incentive pay structures
  • Define pay-for-knowledge pay structures
  • Describe internally consistent compensation systems and competitive strategy
  • Analyze compensation surveys
  • Discuss integrating the internal job structure with external market pay rates
  • Identify compensation policies and strategic mandates

Week 6

Lecture: Benefits: Part One


  • Understand the role of discretionary benefits in strategic compensation
  • Identify various types of employer optional employee protection programs
  • List the pay for time NOT worked benefits
  • Outline legally required employee benefits
  • Summarize the Social Security Act of 1935, OASDI, and their major provisions
  • Explain the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • Discuss the implications for strategy compensation and possible employer approaches to managing these legally required benefits 

Week 7

Lecture: Benefits: Part Two


  • Components of executive core compensation
  • Components of executive employee benefits
  • Principles and processes of setting executive compensation
  • The executive compensation controversy: Are U.S. executives paid too much?

Week 8

Lecture: Compensation Challenges: Part One
Lecture: Compensation Challenges: Part Two


  • Describe various groups of contingent workers and the reasons for U.S. employers’ increased reliance on them
  • Identify key features of flexible work schedules, compressed workweeks, and telecommuting
  • Explain competitive advantage and how international activities fit
  • Describe employee benefits for expatriates’ base pay
  • Discuss repatriation issues
  • Recognize differences between pay and benefits in the United States and around the world
  • Describe protection benefits such as retirement, healthcare, and social security in various continents and countries
  • Identify other practices that distinguish countries’ benefits programs

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. December 2013