COVID-19’s Impact on Industry Compensation and Benefits Practice

In June 2020, 25 C2HR member companies participated in a Pulse Survey of Practices to understand the changes, or consideration for changes to compensation and benefits as a result of business impacts from COVID-19. The Pulse Survey was conducted by The Croner Company and highlights are as follows:

Employment Actions: 52% of participants have made a change to employment practices, with the majority freezing hiring. A few made or are considering layoffs, but these remain in the minority.

Essential Workers: 72% of participants designated essential workers within their workforce. 28% of these increased pay for non-exempt essential employees (11% did so for exempt and 17% did so for all).

Base Salaries: 40% of participants made changes to base salary administration, with approximately half reducing executive base salaries. About one-third of participants are considering reduced or no increases in base salaries next year.

Incentives: The greatest response regarding incentives has been in the area of sales plans where 37% have made some change to respond to the changing landscape, either to plan metrics or by changing performance requirements or periods. For sales plans, the spirit of the change has been to continue to motivate and reward sellers for driving sales in a new environment.

  • Only 10% of companies to date have decided to make changes to their company-wide bonus plans and only 14% are currently considering changes at this time, with most in the area of reducing or eliminating awards.

  • None of the participants indicated that they have changed or are considering changes to long-term incentive plans.

Benefits: About one-third of participants provided additional benefits (above regulatory requirements) with the greatest prevalence being in making and/or matching charitable contributions and providing a work from home stipend.

Return to Office: 72% are currently planning to continue work from home for all employees; however many are thinking about ways to make the return to office safe. Considerations focus on flexibility, phasing, alternating times in offices and adjusted hours to ensure safe and healthy distanc (distancing?) and limited exposure times.

C2HR will release findings from the 2020 Compensation Surveys later this year. To learn more about the C2HR Compensation Surveys, please visit