A Mercer HR Consulting U.S. Compensation Planning Survey finds that more employers are boosting pay and offering bonuses to retain top staffers. According to the survey, pay increases are projected to remain constant at 3.6% in 2006. In addition, the number of organizations reporting salary freezes for one or more segments of their employee population dropped from 16% in 2002 to just 2% in 2005. Looking ahead the survey finds that leading companies are taking a total rewards approach to compensation addressing pay issues from three perspectives – what employees value, what companies need in terms of skills and capabilities to grow the business and affordable and sustainable costs. Here is a look at other trends with respect to reward programs: *70% of organizations offer non-monetary recognition awards. *18% of respondents are considering adding formal career planning; 15% adding competency-based performance management and 14% using multi-rater feedback to develop internal talent. *Spot cash awards are increasingly popular with those working in such departments as IT (82%), accounting/finance(76%), sales/marketing(72%) and human resources (72%).

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