What Does a Certified Compensation Professional Do?

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  • Written By: Jan Fletcher
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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A certified compensation professional is an official designation awarded to human resource professionals who complete a series of learning modules on how to manage compensatory packages in the workplace. The WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals, a nonprofit organization, administers the exams. A key concept behind the certification training process is the understanding of how to effectively implement rewards management. This is the field of study into what motivates employees to perform at higher levels of productivity.

There are a variety of other certifications offered to human resource professionals. Among organizations that also certify performance in various functions of compensation practices is the Human Resource Certification Institute. Complex psychological factors come into play when dealing with incentives for workers, as opposed to factors involved in increasing output and productivity through optimizing machinery and procedures. A certified compensation professional has been trained to understand these motivations and apply them in the workplace to increase worker productivity. Rewarding the most valuable and productive employees with an appropriately designed compensation package decreases turnover and increases worker motivation.

Both factors have been linked to significant gains in productivity. A professional working in this area will likely be expected to analyze the market trends in recruitment of talent. He or she will be expected to relate a full understanding of the benefits awarded to employees, and the actual marketplace value of those benefits.


Certified compensation professional careers are found across a large segment of industries. Although there are compensatory factors unique to particular industries, in general certified compensation professional careers allow a broad range of choices across various industry sectors. For example, a person who understands compensatory practices in a manufacturing setting will likely possess enough of an understanding of the best motivational compensatory factors to effectively transfer that into a health care setting. Still, there are limitations in that certain industries have very unusual compensatory customs. As a result, it is likely that a certified compensation professional would maintain close ties with just one or two industry sectors throughout a career.

Rewards management employs a variety of incentives to increase productivity, which encompass far more than the simple paycheck. Trends in compensatory packages have changed over the years to recognize the motivational power of nonmonetary compensation. A certified compensation professional must comply with myriad national and local laws regarding compensation compliance requirements. He or she will likely possess a current understanding of the latest legislative and employment trends, as well.

In addition to base pay and vacation and sick leave pay, compensation and benefit packages may include performance bonuses, paid leave, flexible work arrangements, and various amenities like subsidized meals or shopping discounts. These rewards are known as work-life programs. Stiff penalties can be levied by regulatory agencies against companies or organizations that do not comply with compensatory regulations. Organized labor may also be a factor in compensation policies.


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