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3 min to readWednesday, March 29, 2023

Fooling Around with Compensation Speak, Again

Written by: Naoufal FillaliReviewed by: Tanya Jansen

Last year we got a great response to our “fooling around” April Fool’s blog (thanks, mom), so this year we’re doubling down and adding more zany compensation definitions to that list.

As we’ve said before, we normally take compensation very seriously, but in honor of April Fool’s Day, we once again shall allow ourselves a moment of levity amidst our sincere pursuit of streamlining processes and enabling strategies and all that. Ok, ok, in truth we fool around all the time, we just don’t usually do it so publicly.

So, without further ado, here’s our 2023 not-so-serious take on some of your favorite compensation vocabulary terms, taken from our serious free Compensation Glossary and twisted beyond all recognition.

  • Annual review: the opportunity to find out, once a year, what it is your manager wanted you to be doing during the past year.
  • Base salary: what baseball players earn for getting on base.
  • Benchmarking: what dogs do in the park as they run from bench to bench.
  • Clawbacks: all those loops of thread coming out of the arm of the sofa where the cat was sharpening its claws.
  • Commission statements: what you give at a police station when you confess to the crime you committed. Well, not you, of course. Besides, he left his keys in that Porsche so what did he expect?
  • Compensation cycle planning: an activity best accompanied by liberal amounts of controlled substances, especially if you’re still using spreadsheets or software that is, let’s just say, not-read-for-prime-time.
  • Flat commission: when your commission seems to have flat-lined and gone on life support for the quarter.
  • Flat rate commission: the term you compare to “flat commission” so that you can sound intelligent when making cocktail party chit-chat…hopefully at a party full of comp people.
  • Forecasts: the pronouncements that predict rainy weather for your entire (well-deserved) week at the beach after the end of comp rounds.
  • Gender pay gap: sorry, it's not funny. As Charlotte Witton said, "For a woman to get half as much credit as a man, she has to work twice as hard, and be twice as smart. Fortunately, that isn’t difficult." We neither endorse nor refute that view.
  • Hazard pay: pay for work where you could get blown for real, not like when the boss storms into your office because your Excel sheet formula error cost the company 17 million dollars. Or was it Norwegian kroner? Not clear.
  • Individual compensation planning: when you make sure every employee is getting the optimum rewards package to produce top results; unless you don't have beqom, then just forget it.
  • Kicker: a position on a football team, or someone who plays soccer, which is also football, and who gets paid extra when they win the Super Bowl, or the Premier League. Cricket and hockey and basketball players can also get kickers, also salespeople, which makes it really confusing. We’re just going to punt on this one.
  • Lump sum payment: the kind of compensation that the crime bosses get in the movies, usually in a big canvas bag or a briefcase. (Pro tip: if they’re wearing white, they’ll get shot in the next scene.)
  • Machine Learning (ML): the process of ingesting and analyzing unfathomably large masses of data so that ChatGPT can write a Shakespearean sonnet about zooplankton. What? When your wife is a marine biologist, that’s a perfectly reasonable request!
  • Merit increase: the added amount of money you expect every year even though you were actually just playing Candy Crush at your desk most of the time. 

Ok, that’s enough. Yes, we stopped at M. I mean, we could do this all day but it’s time for dinner. Come back next year for more. 

Once the day of April foolery has passed, if you actually want to brush up on the “terms of art” of the compensation profession, take a serious look at our serious free Compensation Glossary. We’ve assembled a list of 147 terms (we counted, twice) used in the compensation field, including broad-based, executive, and sales compensation terms. It’s not exhaustive—we could easily come up with 1,000 compensation terms—but we tried to cover the basics. And let’s face it, it’s more fun to write the offbeat definitions.

And if you really want to know how world-class compensation management could transform your company, ask to speak with one of beqom’s compensation experts—seriously! Do it!


Compensation Glossary