Variable pay design solutions are critically important to adjust to changes in strategic focus, to attract and retain key talent, and to positively influence employee behavior. They enable employees to share in the success of the organization and send a clear message in terms of company values and priorities. Many consulting firms view variable pay design as a technical exercise, but the emotional impact of variable pay in organizations can be disproportionate to their impact on profit and loss.

At Korn Ferry, we ensure that a deep understanding of client business strategy and culture informs our technical design. This allows us to create thoughtful variable pay programs that are seen as clear, rational and motivational in the eyes of employees. We use gap analysis, external benchmarking and impact analysis to identify more effective ways to assess performance and reduce the risk of disproportionate or entitlement bonuses. And we create strategic and tactical implementation plans that are well communicated and practical to implement – and ideally aligned with business strategy to deliver optimal return on investment.

We provide broad-based variable pay consulting in three key areas:

  • Strategy consulting – we develop a clear understanding of what must be achieved and why. We then evaluate programs against strategic and tactical criteria, ensuring key stakeholder alignment.
  • Design consulting – we involve leaders, managers, and employees in program design, ensuring key constituents and stakeholders remain engaged throughout the process.
  • Implementation consulting – we ensure that both management and employees understand design intent, performance metrics, rules of the road, and expectations.


  • Our tool kit is deep. We employ tested methodologies that ensure plan integrity, goal congruity, and implementation feasibility.
  • Communication is key. We open critical dialogues that ensure alignment regarding expectations, intent and next steps.
  • We keep it focused. We maximize ROI by delivering variable pay strategies that focus the workforce on the factors necessary to execute business strategy.
  • We know variable pay. We have designed over 1,000 variable pay programs across industries and have experienced rewards design practitioners in 110 countries.




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Call 800-633-4410 to speak with a Korn Ferry Representative