[Blog 57] The Chief Guru Chronicles 206: Develop an Effective and Practical Compensation and Benefits Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises in Singapore

HR Guru Executive Compensation

In the dynamic business landscape of Singapore, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to establish an effective and practical compensation and benefits scheme to attract and retain top talent.

This week, The Chief Guru Chronicles aims to provide a detailed step-by-step guide to help readers understand and implement a successful compensation and benefits system. By exploring the core principles, designing a structured compensation framework using job bands, job grades, and salary ratios, developing a holistic approach to managing salary and benefits, and rationalising the business cost of benefits, SMEs can create a competitive advantage and foster a thriving workforce.

Step 1: Understanding the Concept and Principles of an Effective Compensation and Benefits System

1.1 Defining Compensation and Benefits: Gain a clear understanding of the components that make up a compensation and benefits system, including monetary and non-monetary rewards, and how they contribute to attracting, motivating, and retaining employees.

1.2 Core Principles of Compensation and Benefits: Explore the foundational principles that drive an effective compensation and benefits system, such as internal equity, external competitiveness, performance differentiation, and cost control. Understand how these principles shape the structure and implementation of the system.

Step 2: Designing a Structured Compensation Framework Using Job Bands, Job Grades, and Salary Ratios

2.1 Job Bands: Learn how to categorise different roles within the organization into job bands based on factors such as skills, responsibilities, and qualifications. Understand how job bands provide clarity in career progression and enable fair compensation differentiation.

2.2 Job Grades: Dive deeper into job grades within each job band, determining the levels of experience, knowledge, and responsibility associated with specific positions. Learn how to assign employees to appropriate job grades based on their qualifications and skills.

2.3 Salary Ratios: Explore the concept of salary ratios and their significance in establishing equitable compensation ranges within job grades. Understand how to set appropriate salary ratios that align with market standards while accounting for performance differentiation and critical roles.

Step 3: Developing a Holistic Approach to Managing Salary and Benefits

3.1 Salary Structure and Components: Design a transparent salary structure that integrates base salary, performance-based incentives, variable bonuses, and recognition programs. Consider the balance between fixed and variable compensation elements and their impact on motivating and rewarding employees.

3.2 Total Rewards and Non-Monetary Benefits: Explore the concept of total rewards, encompassing both monetary and non-monetary benefits. Develop a comprehensive all-inclusive benefits program that may includes inpatient and outpatient medical coverage, life and accident insurances, flexible benefits program, staff discount, pleasant work environment, professional development opportunities, work-life balance initiatives, and employee assistance programs.

3.3 Terms of Employment: Create attractive terms of employment, including hybrid work arrangements, flexible hours, paid time off, parental leave, birthday leave, and sabbatical programs. Align these terms with the organization’s culture, employee needs, and legal requirements to enhance employee satisfaction and work-life integration.

Step 4: Rationalising the Business Cost of Benefits in Relation to Investment and Returns

4.1 Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct a detailed cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the financial investment required for employee benefits. Consider factors such as salary expenses, insurance premiums, retirement contributions, administrative costs, and the potential returns in terms of employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

4.2 Return on Investment (ROI): Measure the ROI of the compensation and benefits program by tracking key performance indicators, such as employee turnover rates, productivity metrics, and employee satisfaction surveys. Continuously assess the impact of the benefits program on the organization’s bottom line and make adjustments as needed.

4.3 Continuous Evaluation and Optimisation: Establish a system for ongoing evaluation and optimisation of the compensation and benefits scheme. Regularly review market trends, industry benchmarks, employee feedback, and legal requirements to ensure the program remains competitive, cost-effective, and aligned with business objectives.


Developing an effective compensation and benefits scheme for SMEs in Singapore requires a systematic approach that encompasses the understanding of core principles, designing a structured compensation framework, adopting a holistic management approach, and rationalising the cost of benefits. By following this comprehensive step-by-step guide, SMEs can create a compensation and benefits system that attracts and retains top talent, promotes employee satisfaction and engagement, and ultimately contributes to the long-term success of the organization.

Connect with HRguru on our Executive Compensation consulting services immediately if your company is planning or reviewing to develop an effective and practical compensation scheme that motivates your employee and sets the foundation for their individual advancement.

HRguru Value Proposition

  • Singapore listed companies where we collected pay data from annual reports: 700+
  • CEO and Key Management Personnel for whom we have salary data: 2,000+
  • Non-Executive Directors for whom we have director’s fee data: 2,600+
  • Executive Compensation Experts with extensive experience in Top Executives and Independent Directors Remuneration Review for SGX listed companies.

Some of HRguru Executive Compensation clients

Banyan Tree Holdings, Bund Centre Investment Ltd, Centurion Corp Ltd, Eurosports Global Ltd, Far East Organisation, Fortress Minerals, Frasers Property, FSL Trust, Golden Agri-Resource Ltd, GSH Corp Ltd, Hong Fok Corp Ltd, ICP Ltd, iX Biopharma Ltd, Old Chang Kee Ltd, ParkwayLife Reit, Raffles Medical Group, Riverstone Holdings Ltd, SAC Capital, Sasseur Asset Mgmt, Sinarmas Land, TSL Media Group and more.

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Contact HRguru today to access our deep HR experience and learn more about our Executive Compensation and HRguru Advisory Services or connect with us at contactus@hrguru.com.sg.

This article is part of a series of accounts of The Chief Guru Chronicles, a column which recounts our Founder & Chief Guru Tommy Ng’s experience and encounters in HR management across various countries and industries. The purpose of this column is to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed, and to educate readers through challenges experienced. It should not be perceived and used as a professional advice. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, races, ethnic group, organisation, company, individual or country. In addition, we do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of the information. As a disclosure, some names, information and situations were intentionally concealed or edited in order to protect the identity of the involved parties. Except as expressly consented, the contents may not be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed without HR Guru Pte Ltd permission.

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