Pay for performance

What is pay-for-performance compensation?

Pay-for-performance is a system where financial incentives or other benefits are given based on how well an employee does their job.

Best-practice compensation programs meet employees’ basic financial needs, are fair and transparent, link directly to performance and reward desired behaviors.

The benefits of pay-for-performance

Much research has been done on the complex relationship between compensation, performance and motivation. Research shows that linking pay to performance is an excellent motivational tool – but not the only tool that can influence performance. Managers need to look beyond financial compensation, and understand what motivates and rewards their employees, and address those specific needs.

Keys to success

Your organization needs to create a culture where work efforts and contributions are recognized, appreciated and celebrated ‒ and encourages employees' talents and interests. We’ve collected eBooks, webinars, whitepapers, templates and how-tos to help you create and manage a performance rewards program that will inspire your people to excel and drive better business results. 


Developing a pay-for-performance program that’s aligned with your organizational culture is a key part of any company’s strategic plan. Find out how compensation programs can help you attract, retain and motivate employees.

Why pay-for-performance can work at last

Pay-for-performance programs aim to reward high performers and focus on all of your employees’ efforts on finding success. But despite all the program’s grand promises, it turns out many organizations aren’t very good at implementing and making pay-for-performance decisions. The good news: things are getting better. Pay-for-performance programs are finally working thanks to more nuanced approaches and better software tools. Learn what you need to make your pay-for-performance program succeed.

Download the white papers and ebooks

The end of experience-based compensation models

There’s no guarantee that experienced employees who have contributed well in the past will be kept in their roles out of loyalty ‒ especially if there’s someone else who can perform the job better. Does the pay-for-experience model make sense for your business? HR expert David Creelman takes a closer look at pay policies and what kind of reward system the future might hold.

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Pay-for-performance blog posts

Head to Halogen’s TalentSpace™ blog to read about compensation, pay-for-performance and how to reward and encourage high performance. Our blog is constantly updated by our network of experts, who tackle common compensation challenges with compensation, and offer up the latest best practices, tips and ideas.

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Employee motivation blog posts

Want to motivate your employees? Check out our blog for some insightful blog posts that explore the art and science of motivation and rewards. It’s not all about more money – there are several ways to reward employees, whether they’ve reached their salary maximum or simply aren’t motivated by money alone.

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Motivation and engagement: Hey managers ‒ get out of the way

We love Dan Pink’s video, Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. It inspired us so much that we’ve included a link to the video in this article, as well as tips from industry experts Henryk Krajewski and David Creelman on how managers can motivate employees.

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Helping managers love the HR rewards function

In this webinar, David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research and co-founder of Creelman Lambert, looks at the common misperceptions managers have about pay, the problems it can cause and how HR can proactively prevent these problems. You’ll learn how to explain core elements of your reward system to managers and how to nurture your relationship with those managers to build confidence in your organization’s pay-for-performance system.

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Check out our resources below for free templates, sample forms and best-practice tips to help you create and manage your pay-for-performance program.

Motivating employees whose pay has plateaued

Should employees get a pay raise each year? Inflation, improved performance or job tenure may justify a raise, but if those factors don’t apply, should you consider other ways of motivating your employees? In this blog post, HR expert David Creelman examines alternative bonuses, the risk of changing rewards and looking beyond rewards for other ways to motivate and inspire performance.

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The power of job families

If your specialty is compensation, you’re probably comfortable with the intricacies of job evaluations. But managers at your company may not understand job evaluation points. In this blog post, HR expert David Creelman explains how job families, which are a set of related jobs within a function, can help managers at your company get engaged in the rewards process.

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Follow the money to achieve performance

Learn more about pay-for-performance best practices in this webinar. Thought leader Blair Jones of Semler Brossy Consulting and Tim Haines from Quaker Chemical explain how to implement a rewards strategy that reinforces performance, and ensures motivated and committed talent.

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Support managers in making better compensation decisions

This how-to article explains the four key things managers need to keep compensation adjustments fair and effective while encouraging high performance. We’ve also included case studies of other companies who have used pay-for-performance to improve their culture and build better business results.

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Learn how other organizations have launched and refined their performance rewards, and get tips on how your organization can optimize your pay-for-performance compensation program.

How the San Diego Zoo became a world-class pay-for-performance organization

Creating a pay-for-performance culture that’s meaningful to employees is challenging for many organizations. In this webinar, Tim Mulligan, CHRO at the San Diego Zoo, shares how his organization transformed its culture by setting clear goals, and linking performance and compensation. He also explores common challenges when developing a pay-for-performance plan and how to use best practices to address your organization’s specific needs.

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Pechanga Resort Casino

Pechanga Resort Casino has built a culture that rewards high performance and banishes mediocrity by adopting a pay-for-performance compensation program. Find out how the organization’s HR team held honest discussions about performance and pay, identified the competencies that managers needed to reward, and found places where they could leverage pay-for-performance.

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Harbor Group

Harbor Group is a private real estate and property management firm. The organization is using Halogen Performance™ and Halogen Compensation™ to help keep its employees motivated with a sophisticated bonus scheme, multiple profiles, and pay adjustments based on appraisal scores and a performance matrix. Also, find out how the company increased engagement and accountability.

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Zoological Society of San Diego

“Hitting the numbers" is top of mind for CEOs in any economy. Discover how the San Diego Zoo has improved employee accountability by using Halogen Performance™ to set realistic, achievable goals; objectively measure employee performance and ensure employees can see how their achievements translate into potentially greater compensation.

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UW Credit Union

For the UW Credit Union, defining and refining the right compensation management program was critical to motivate and retain its employees. The organization uses Halogen TalentSpace™ to get easy access to employee salary history and performance history, and to distribute compensation fairly. Find out how Halogen solutions have helped the company build and support a high-performing culture that supports the UW Credit Union’s mission statement: Your best interest always comes first.

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Halogen’s cloud-based solutions can help you create a strong pay-for-performance culture based on objective, transparent processes that align rewards directly with performance.

Halogen Compensation™

Introduce real accountability to your compensation plans and reward your workforce accurately and fairly with the help of Halogen Compensation. Our cloud-based software helps your organization create a strong pay-for-performance culture based on objective and transparent processes that simplify compensation management for everyone. It aligns compensation directly to ongoing performance management, so you can create a rewards process that engages employees and improves your business.

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Selecting a talent management suite: Experts share the real story

One of the biggest challenges facing HR leaders is selecting a talent management system \(TMS\). In this white paper Human Capital Analyst David Creelman has gathered insights from leading HR technology experts and HR professionals on some of the key considerations that go into the process of finding a TMS. It includes a step-by-step guide to building your selection team, creating a selection strategy and presenting a business case to your C-suite.

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Salary isn’t everything! Firm strategies to engage and incent top performers

There’s more than one way to retain your best employees. Tracy White from Clark Nuber P.S., shares examples of successful initiatives being undertaken at her firm to attract and retain an all-star professional services talent pool. In this webinar, Tracy also outlines how a web-based performance review and 360-degree feedback system can benefit your retention strategies.

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