Corporate America's employee-focused cost-cutting measures to cope with the uncertain economy may have finally run their course. But companies continue to revamp their annual bonus and long-term incentive programs to attract and retain top performers and critical-skill workers, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. The survey found that only 18% of the respondents expect to require employees to pay a greater share of benefit costs next year, compared with more than half (56%) that did so during the past 12 months. Other cost-management measures that companies implemented during the past two years -- such as reducing salary increase budgets, bonus funding or staff -- are also expected to decline sharply in the coming year, the survey noted. A total of 358 U.S. companies representing a broad spectrum of industries participated in the survey. "The difficult business environment and cost cutting of the past several years have caused many companies to change their reward practices, especially the mix of rewards," says Laura Sejen, national practice director for strategic rewards at Watson Wyatt, a global human resources consulting firm. "While fewer companies see the need for additional cost cutting in the coming year, clearly the nature of the employer-employee deal has shifted."