Ann Bares

About the Author

Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. She has over 20 years of experience consulting in compensation and performance management and has worked with a variety of organizations in auditing, designing and implementing executive compensation plans, base salary structures, variable and incentive compensation programs, sales compensation programs, and performance management systems.

Her clients have included public and privately held businesses, both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, early stage entrepreneurial organizations and larger established companies. Ann also teaches at the University of Minnesota and Concordia University.

Contact her at

The Challenges Managing Pay in a Small, Entrepreneurial Organization

I had the chance recently to join a group of HR professionals who serve entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized organizations to talk about the realities and challenges of managing pay in this setting. Great group, great conversation. In my experience, having worked with organizations ranging from the Fortune 500 to those with under 10…

Is it Really Time to Say Goodbye to the Merit Matrix?

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Bill Kutik hates the merit matrix and I suspect he is not alone. The merit matrix is not dead — not yet, with recent WorldatWork research confirming that about three-quarters of surveyed member organizations (which tend to be larger, more well-established employers) have a merit matrix in place. But should it be? Will…

The Problem When Managers Get Too Fond of Discretionary Rewards

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Ah, management discretion. Leaders often have a great fondness for discretionary rewards, particularly in bonus and incentive plans. And why not? Discretionary rewards keep all the power and control with them. Wild card in hand, they are free until the moment the reward decision is made to do whatever feels right, based on…

Use of Sign-On and Retention Bonuses at an All-Time High

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The use of sign-on and retention bonuses appears to be at an all-time high, according to a recently released WorldatWork survey on bonus programs and practices. The research, which highlights the practices of 713 organizational participants, is the fifth iteration of a series that dates back to 2001. Among other things (like the…

How Will We Pay With Open Salaries and No Performance Reviews?

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There are a number of movements afoot in the world of work that promise to impact the way we pay people. Two in particular may well converge to provide the final straw that breaks the back of merit pay. Let’s begin with Exhibit 1: The “Open Salaries” Movement. Pay transparency is coming. While…

Secret Wage Agreements Cast a Dark Shadow Over Silicon Valley

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After years of stories about the incredible worker perks, the “don’t be evil” corporate mottos, and the higher brand of capitalism practiced by some of Silicon Valley’s most celebrated companies, a darker side has emerged. Roughly 60,000 Silicon Valley workers have gained clearance to pursue a class action lawsuit accusing Apple, Google, Adobe…