Skip to main content
Cornell University mobile logo
office chairs at a conference table obscured by abstract colors

The certificate is ideal for individuals working to improve their organization’s compensation system so that it functions more effectively and aligns with their organization’s strategic, financial, and institutional objectives. 

Course Content

  • Recognize and apply elements of the total rewards framework
  • Identify how to effectively communicate and implement a compensation plan
  • Determine ways to align the compensation strategy to the talent strategy
  • Define performance in a contextually appropriate manner
  • Recognize differences within the workforce that either facilitate pay for performance or make pay for performance more challenging
  • Identify opportunities to improve pay-for-performance practices that are counterproductive or misaligned with organizations’ needs
  • Choose pay-for-performance elements to attract and retain key talent and superstars
  • Critically assess the improvements in attraction, retention, productivity, engagement and motivation associated with pay-for-performance systems


Course Listings

Students who successfully complete all four courses in this certificate program receive a Compensation Studies Certificate from Cornell University’s ILR School.

Total Rewards Compensation

This course equips HR professionals with the tools and insights they need to apply a total-rewards view to compensation that aligns with their organization’s strategic goals and operational realities. This includes the Compensation Calculator, created by the Dean of the ILR School, Kevin Hallock, offering a method of job comparison that incorporates the total rewards view.

Background image for Course Total Rewards Compensation.
See the course here.

Measuring and Compensating for Performance

Compensation plays a critical role in attracting and retaining the right talent to meet organizational goals. Performance is each individual's contribution toward these goals. An effective compensation strategy should ensure individual performance and organizational outcomes are connected. Decisions made regarding the compensation structure must also be aligned with the organization’s financial ability to pay. Can you afford the pay-for-performance system in good times and in bad? 

Background for the course measuring and compensating for performance.
See the course here.

Attracting and Retaining Talent with Performance Pay

Attracting the right talent to the right position from the start is crucial for organizational success. Once you have your talent in place, retention is an equally important challenge. It costs your organization effort and money every time you need to bring in someone new. As organizations try to do more with less, resources are scaled back and compensation plays a more important role in your talent-management strategy, making it essential to identify and select compensation elements that provide the highest return.

Background of course Attracting and Retaining Talent with Performance Pay.
See the course here.

Assessing the Financial, Strategic, and People-Related Return on Pay for Performance

Like any other factor in an organization, compensation is expected to show a return on its investment. To ensure you are driving behaviors and rewarding results that are consistent with your organizational strategy and mission, your compensation program must be evaluated periodically. Learn how to do so and then how to compare outcomes to expectations and recognize when you are, and aren’t, supporting your long-term organizational goals. 

Background image of the course Assessing the Financial, Strategic, and People-Related Return on Pay for Performance.
See the course here.

Professional Programs

Cornell ILR Professional Workshops, Courses, and Training