By  on October 11, 2007

Employees straight out of college are teaching their 45-year-old bosses how to create MySpace and Facebook pages as part of the Reverse Mentor Program at advertising firm Arnold.

This was one of the solutions offered for bridging the generation gap to improve performance during a roundtable discussion at the WWD Human Resources Leadership Forum. The panelists included Bill Coleman, senior vice president and chief compensation officer at Salary.com; Michael Densmore, chief talent officer at Arnold, and David H. Greenberg, senior vice president of human resources at L'Oréal USA. They discussed performance-based compensation, generational issues and dealing with "job surfing" among the young workforce in the apparel and retail industries.

Click here for complete coverage of the WWD Human Resources Leadership Forum.

"Commission is the purest form of incentive," said Coleman, who believes companies are moving toward performance-based salaries, which possess both short- and long-term incentives.

"It's you sell this, we'll pay you this." He also said companies are looking to employ college graduates, and this type of compensation could be an effective way to attract workers.

"Human resources are not historically perceived as strategic. The chief financial executive and operating officers want an h.r. person to run a business the way business people do," added Coleman. "If you're putting in incentives, the whole company should be involved. If this is done systematically and efficiently, it will get everyone focused."

According to Densmore, senior-level executives at Arnold are compensated by a performance-based salary, while new methods have been established to allow younger employees to reap similar benefits. "For Generation Y we created 'tribes' with five or six members. Five or six tribes compete against each other, and the winning tribe is compensated in addition to their salary."

Densmore has also introduced a series of programs in hopes of bolstering satisfaction and curbing the job surfing epidemic among employees. Allowing four winter wellness days (in addition to vacation days), hiring a masseuse, a yoga instructor and a manicurist and pedicurist are all tools instituted by Densmore in order to combat fickleness in the workplace.

Greenberg, another ardent proponent of keeping his employees content, echoed Densmore when he said programs such as half-day Fridays and yoga were put into practice at L'Oréal to overcome the same obstacles.

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