Step 2 of the E.A.R.T.H. methodology: ASCERTAIN your goals and targets

8 APRIL 2021

Last week, I shared with you a short, animated video on the first step of my Responsible Reward E.A.R.T.H.® (Evaluate, Ascertain, Realise, Tell and Help) methodology. This highlights the actions to take to integrate your remuneration and sustainability strategies.

That first step is to EVALUATE the current situation in your organisation, the diagnostic phase, asking these questions:
WHY is Responsible Reward on your radar?
WHEN is the right time to undertake the Responsible Reward project?
WHO will you involve in your work?
WHERE will you start?
This week, we’re looking at the second step of the framework: ASCERTAIN your goals and targets.

What are you aiming for by integrating your remuneration and sustainability strategies?

All too often I see a desire from my counterparts to jump straight into the details of modelling new components of their Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This absolutely needs to be done, and we’ll cover that next week. For now, let’s keep our eyes on the end game.

As a business, what are your BIG sustainability goals? Write down the UN Sustainable Development Goals your firm supports, or is aiming to support, then break down each of these big goals into HR and Reward targets. Here are some examples to inspire you:

SDG Goal 1 (No poverty): Are you paying the real living wage? How do you check your supply chain does, too? Modern slavery is illegal in the UK, yet millions of adults and children worldwide are victims.

SDG Goals 3 (Good health and well-being) and 13 (Climate action): Are you reviewing your benefits offering? Some firms still provide petrol and diesel company cars.

• SDG Goals 5 (Gender equality) and 10 (Reduced inequalities): By how much are you aiming to reduce your pay gap?

SDG Goal 8 (Decent work): Is there a clear career framework for all your employees?
• Where do you invest their pension contributions? Align your pension investments with your sustainability agenda.

You may wish to apply the well-established mnemonic S.M.A.R.T. It was developed by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham in 1981 and is a simple, but effective, way to plan and achieve your new HR and Reward targets. It stands for:

Specific: Be as granular as you can be in defining what you’re aiming for. For example, ‘improve diversity’ is vague. What type of diversity? What does good diversity look like in your firm?
Measurable: Qualitative narrative is helpful but, in my view, your targets must be quantifiable. Over-reliance on generic commentary is slowing down progress on sustainability.
Assignable: Who have you assigned these targets to: a specific individual or, more likely, to a group of people, or even to all employees so that the whole organisation is aligned with your sustainability ambitions?
Realistic: To ensure progress, targets must be challenging, yet achievable. If they are too easy to achieve, you’ll lose credibility with your stakeholders, despite all your hard work. If they are too difficult, employees become disengaged and give up. Pitch them just right!
Time-bound: Your targets must have a delivery timeline. Sustainability goals are, by definition, long-term. However, determining annual milestones enables employees to connect their daily tasks with your organisational aspirations.

Lastly, be specific about who will be impacted by the changes you’re proposing to make to your EVP and work out how much they’re likely to cost so that you can budget accordingly.

Watch the ASCERTAIN video