The year 2012 is going to be difficult for companies and this fortunately can be the best time for them to plan. In light of the present economic gloom, rewards are going to be most probably subdued and there might not be significant bonus payouts or increments. It will not be surprising if the average increase across levels remains a single digit, as there already are signs of subdued recruitment plans and companies are being cautious. This is also the right time for leadership in Indian companies to incorporate the right tone by applying all rules to themselves, before cascading them to the other levels. Leaders should be willing to make sacrifices for the sake of their employees, as a bright future can only be attained if the tone is set right at the top to set an example.
What distinguishes PwC in the rewards area is that it is a full services firm, which provides a wide range of services and this is one of its significant advantages. Organizations can look at rewards in a very narrow way as paying compensation, data, surveys, etc., which is one way of looking at rewards while another way would be to evaluate how rewards fit in terms of the talent management strategy. It is imperative that rewards are an integral part of talent management and there is no talent management without rewards, careers and leadership. It has to be perceived holistically.
We have full service capability as we structure our offerings around all services we can provide. In case an organization is looking at designing senior executive rewards program, it cannot be done without including tax regulations, ESOPs, etc. We have very strong accounting services and thus, can provide organizations with the latest tax services and best practices from around the world. Niche consulting companies can do good plan designs, but when it comes to legal issues, organizations will need to engage a legal firm and in this context, we have everything together.
PwC does not particularly engage in surveys and buying of data as our brand does not stand for that. We provide rewards solutions based on data that either clients purchase at their end or we do it on their behalf. We provide comprehensive rewards and philosophy solutions like compensation philosophy or philosophy around fixed pay, performance plans, variable pay, how do equity rewards fit it, how can one go beyond compensation and how one can integrate all this in the talent management framework. That is what we do in the rewards space. Apart from that, we provide job evaluation services, compensation structures and significant work in expat compensation because of our tax policies. We have a global international assignment practice that includes people with compensation and tax backgrounds. We also have global benchmarks around executive pay.
In terms of ESOPs and equity rewards and senior management rewards compensation, we do a lot of work for Indian companies. We have various touch points with clients and very often senior executive compensation is not driven by HR; it is in some cases driven by the CEO or the CFO.
We also do a lot of work with mergers and acquisitions. Our financial advisory services are called to the table quite earlier in the merger game. We bring to focus the fact that there is a significant people risk and if it is not managed well, the best of both sides can leave. One of the key issues faced in mergers and acquisitions is compensation and how one is going to work with different pay scales. This is a genuine issue and the earlier organizations in the merging phase get to terms with it, the better it would be. We assist organizations in handling all these issues at a very early stage of their merger and acquisition.