Working on the workplace
What makes employees more productive? How can executives motivate their teams? What's the best strategy for developing talent in the long run? U.S.-based Hay Group, headquartered in Philadelphia, specializes in organizational and performance consulting; this includes helping clients establish performance measurement processes, develop incentives and rewards systems, organize employee structures, and improve leadership. Engagements are typically two-part processes, starting with a diagnostic phase to understand a client's needs and market, including international competition, growth potential and technology issues. The second phase is design and implementation of the resulting solutions and strategies. Most importantly, the firm says it strives to build its solutions around each client's unique history and culture, which means there's never a one-size-fits-all approach.
Although Hay Group counts some big commercial players among its 7,000 clientsâ€”Wal-Mart, Unilever, Standard & Poor's and ABC India, to name a fewâ€”it also works with government organizations, small and mid-sized companies, and startups. The firmâ€™s industry coverage includes chemicals, communications, education, financial services, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, oil and gas, public sector and non-profits, retail services and technology.
Edward Hay's vision
In 1943, Edward Hay, then head of personnel for the First Pennsylvania Bank of Philadelphia, created a small consulting firm to focus on human resources and compensation issues. As the deputy administrator of the U.S. Office of Price Administration during World War II, Hay spent time studying the War Labor Board's pay controls. Designed to keep production costs in check, these pay controls could only be lifted if a company could show, via job evaluation, that an employee's position deserved a higher pay range. In 1945, Hay landed a contract with General Foods, which asked him to study 450 of its management positions. These two experiences inspired the methodology that became known as the Hay Guide Chart-Profile Method of Job Evaluation, and Hay was hailed a pioneer of modern HR and organizational management practices.
Edward Hay passed away in 1958, but the firm that bears his name lives on. Today, Hay Group consists of 85 offices in 47 countries worldwide, with Asia Pacific locations in Australia and New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Compiling, surveying and evaluating
Consulting is, and always has been, at the heart of Hay Group, but over the years the company has added secondary products and functions, all of which share the consulting division's international reach. One of these is the Hay Group Job Evaluation Manager, a proprietary web application used to evaluate jobs across different users, geographic locations and business units.
Hay Group offers a variety of leadership and talent assessment and development products. Meanwhile, Hay Group PayNet is a comprehensive online database of rewards and benefits information for over 13,000 leading companies worldwide. Finally, Hay Group Insight serves as the employee and customer surveys division, conducting surveys and opinion research for clients around the world and polling over one million respondents every year.
Wake up call in China
In 2006, Hay Group took steps to raise the profile of its business strategy advisory services and its expertise in Asia. Working with a public relations firm, Hay Group built a campaign around China's emergence as a global economic heavyweight. The project involved surveying world business leaders about the so-called "China price" and the obstacles multinational corporations face in China. The results were packaged as a comprehensive report titled "Waking Up to China," which ranked countries on their ability to trade and compete with China. The report also highlighted the number of national businesses with an established China strategy. The report gained buzz partially thanks to the fact that surveyed CEOs said they expected China to account for at least 14 percent of their firmsâ€™ total revenue by the year 2009, yet 25 percent of the global businesses surveyed had no strategic plan for entering the Chinese market.
Hay Group's report, named in reference to Napoleon Bonaparte's pronouncement that "when China wakes, the world will tremble," also served as incentive for European and U.S. business leaders to start focusing on the HR issues involved in building a better China plan. According to Hay Group, investment in training and leadership skills, as well as overcoming operational challenges, are key strategies in winning the "war for talent" that's unfolding in the region. The firm has followed up the initial China report with a number of additional studies, including "Avoiding the Money Trap: Retaining Talent in the Chinese Economy," "Winning in China," and "Rewarding China."
What's your take-home pay?
Each year, Hay Group releases several reports and publications focusing on compensation, human resources, organization and leadership. One of its biggest studies is the "World Pay Report," which compares detailed salary, bonus, tax and cost-of-living information for senior managers in 51 countries. The report is compiled with the help of cross-country comparisons from Hay Groupâ€™s PayNet. The 2008 edition of the report found that managers in less-developed economies enjoy higher disposable incomes than their peers in the U.K. and the U.S. In Asia, the firm revealed that senior managers in Hong Kong take home the highest payâ€”but managers in China are rapidly moving up the scale.
In addition to surveying on compensation, Hay Group annually teams up with Fortune magazine to compile a list of the World's Most Admired Companies. Each year, over 15,000 executives are surveyed by the firm to contribute their opinions to the list, which has been running since 1997. Making the top ten for 2009 were Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Toyota, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, General Electric and Microsoft.
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