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 abares@alturaconsultinggroup.com.

Work is Work, So Stop With the Fiction

There’s no greater disservice to employees than trying to sell them a piece of fiction about the nature of their relationship with their employer. Fact is, success at most organizations requires hard work done to demanding standards. We in HR have to be careful that our efforts to attract and retain great employees…

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?

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

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

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?

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

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…

A Bonus For This, a Bonus For That — How About a Bonus to Quit?

Editor’s Note: Sometimes readers ask about past TLNT articles. That’s why we republish a Classic TLNT post every Friday that some of you have requested.  Ever think about offering a bonus for employees to quit your organization? Zappos has – and it’s an interesting case study, particularly as the bonus opportunity is part of…

Heading Down the Slippery Slope With “Bridge” or Temporary Incentive Plans

When and where do we create temporary incentive plans, meant to bridge a short-term gap in our reward offerings? Let me lay out one particular (but not entirely uncommon) scenario. Many organizations offer the opportunity for an annual cash profit sharing award to their employees, a way to share with them the financial…

Is This The Worst Thing You Can Ever Do to an Employee?

Editor’s Note: Sometimes readers ask about past TLNT articles. That’s why on Fridays we republish a Classic TLNT post that some of you have requested. What is the worst thing you can do to an employee? According to management consultants Doug and Polly White, authors of the CFO.com article The Worst Thing You Can Do…

Bonuses Are Nice, But Do You Really Know What Drives Your Top Talent?

Retention has become a big deal and a top concern for many organizations. This is acutely true around high performers and employees with very in-demand skills. And, as with many people issues, one of our first responses is to put more money on the table. Just look at the steady growth (beyond the…

Yes, You Do Get WHO You Pay For

A lot of the debate surrounding pay for performance focuses on the degree to which differentating pay by an individual’s performance serves as an incentive, encouraging the employee to focus energy and attention on achieving the things necessary for the organization’s success. In other words, do we get what we pay for? What…

Is There Real Value in Paying For Employee Performance?

Is pay for performance — specifically that which we think of as “merit pay” — worth the hassle? I recently ran across a research paper (Michael C. Sturman, Evaluating the Utility of Performance-Based Pay) that takes an interesting run at answering that question. (Hat tip to AonHewitt, who featured outtakes from the research in…