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HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE IN INNOVATION

How can human resources contribute to innovation?  How can we turn new ideas into reality, break old paradigms and step outside of the box with new solutions to old problems?  Innovation may begin with creativity but it is more than an idea — it takes place when great ideas come to fruition and make their mark in the world.  In the past, most businesses focused on continuous improvement of their products and services to maintain a competitive edge.  But in today’s economy, that’s not always enough.

As Human Resource professionals, we are fortunate to be responsible for many areas of an organization that can directly impact and contribute to innovation; including recruitment, performance management, recognition, rewards, training, and employee engagement.  Human Resources can also play a key role in creating an organizational structure and overall culture that fosters and supports innovation.

Recruiting can focus on hiring for innovation by identifying people who can “think outside the box” or have skills and capabilities that lend toward innovation.  Performance management can serve as a valuable tool in the creation of a sustainable culture of innovation.  Performance measures can give consideration as to whether or not employees are given the time and resources to experiment, generate and explore ideas, and make presentations to management.  Rewards can be used to reinforce the importance of innovation and recognition can be used to encourage and inspire employees to innovate and share ideas.   HR’s role in organizational design provides huge potential for enabling innovation.  For example, organizational design can be used to facilitate easier exchange of employees’ ideas across boundaries and functions.

An example of a human resource driven innovation that used an out-of-the-box idea to improve the recruiting process is La Canterra Resort in San Antonio, TX, A Destination Hotel, they have incorporated an idea made popular by Disney, the Fast PASS. In Disney’s version, guests can avoid the line and use a Fast PASS to get a ticket to ride an attraction at a specified time with limited to no waiting. This helps improve the guest experience, improves wait times, improves communication and enhances the ability to meet the expectation of guests. At Destination Hotels, they have incorporated this concept into their recruitment practices. Special “FAST PASS” cards are given to managers who can spot people in their daily interactions (at grocery stores, restaurants, bars, the mall, etc…) providing exceptional customer service and invite them to consider an employment opening/opportunity with Destination. They can call a specific number and get a “prioritized / guaranteed” in person interview as opposed to filling out an application during certain hours and hoping to a chance to be considered. Like Disney, the approach at Destination Hotels, improves the experience for the candidate and the HR function / hiring managers. It speeds up the ability to source the most qualified talent and create a match to open positon needs at the resort. Destination competes on innovation.

While HR can have a significant impact on many of the key drivers of innovation, it is a collaborative process and requires many areas to come together in order to succeed.    Executive leaders hold the key to the level and success of innovation in their organization. They control the strategic direction, influence the culture, and directly and indirectly control all organizational practices.   Managers must know how to lead innovative teams, and individuals must know how to apply innovative thinking.  Every department or function must be part of the process.  For example, Information Technology has become an enabler of innovative ideas, but it is also often the starting point for innovative products or services and Finance has a unique opportunity through the budget development to add innovation either as a line in the overall budget or as a percentage of every departmental budget.

Organizations need to develop practices that make it easier to innovate.   For example, at the core of an organization’s  culture should be an acceptance of the need to experiment and understand that this comes with the risk of failure and that failure needs to be seen as a learning experience and an important step in the process.  Culture is definitely key to sustainable innovation.  The mindset and culture of the HR team has an exponential impact and influence on the entire organization.  HR leaders can help enable their organizations to differentiate themselves by understanding the critical importance of innovation today and how their role can contribute by attracting and keeping the most innovative people, constantly improving their skills and creating and enabling a culture of innovation.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date HR metrics, benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.   For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28th, 2016 · Comments Off on HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE IN INNOVATION

IT’S TIME TO ADJUST YOUR SALARY STRUCTURE

Maintaining a salary structure that aligns with the organization’s pay philosophy and is competitive to the labor market is imperative for any organization. Most organizations update their salary structure every one to two years, as budget permits.  However, during the recent recession, some organizations chose not to increase their salary structures for cost containment and/or a lack of competitive pressure to do so.  For 2015, the stronger U.S. economy and increased employer confidence should continue to bolster job gains, and economists expect the previously sluggish wage growth to finally accelerate.  Whether or not you’ve adjusted your salary structure during the past few years, it is certainly time to do so now.

The review of your salary structure should determine whether it is still aligned with the company’s needs, pay philosophy and the labor market.  Salary structure adjustments maintain the structure’s competitiveness with the external labor market and protect an organization’s ability to compete in the market place for talented employees.  If the salary structure gets out of sync with the overall labor market, a company may find itself paying employees too much and needlessly increasing operating costs, or paying employees too little and having difficulty attracting and retaining talent.  Salary-structure issues are less expensive to address early on so it is best to review your salary structure annually for any needed changes.  If you wait 2 or 3 years to review and adjust, the labor market can move significantly upward in that period of time and the cost of salary range adjustments and resulting salary increases can be substantial.

Other business changes and events may warrant a review of the salary structure, such as the company’s merger or acquisition, or a competitor opening or closing a facility that impacts the company’s operations. At times during the year hiring managers may alert you to possible salary-structure issues and their insight can indicate that specific areas of the salary structure are out of alignment.  But there may be other factors that the manager is not aware of, such as an organization’s strategic decision to set pay levels above or below the market median.

There are two basic methods for updating your salary structure and many companies will alternate the two methods, performing the ‘quick’ adjustment one year and the ‘in-depth’ adjustment the following year.

  1. The Quick Adjustment method is where you collect and consider trend or annual merit increase information, then adjust your ranges by a percentage you view as necessary to remain competitive.  Trend and annual merit increase surveys are published every year and most companies rely more on average or median salary increase figures.
  2. The In-Depth Adjustment method is where you select a representative sample of benchmark jobs using current published compensation surveys for your competitive market. Collect the competitive salary data, and then compare your salary range mid-points to the market medians or the percentile that you chose to compete with for the benchmark jobs.  The results will help you determine the degree to which your ranges should be adjusted and also to identify any jobs or job families whose pay is moving at a different pace than the rest of the market and may need re-graded. This methodology requires more data and time to complete.

Alternating annually between these two methods should maintain competitiveness, cost efficiency and save time from performing the In-Depth analysis every year.  Any resulting increases from the structure movement should be minimal and workable within the current budget year.

It is also important to remember that established pay grades, the jobs’ placement within the pay grades, and well maintained job descriptions are the nuts and bolts of the salary structure.  Companies change over time and job functions and duties can also change.  Keeping job descriptions accurate and reflecting the core duties of each position will be essential to appropriate and competitive salary ranges and pay.

Companies should consider the reassessment of their Salary Administration Programs, along with all their compensation plans, as a vital and on-going part of the Program’s success.  Assessing the Program to ensure that it continues to meet your company’s needs is perceived as a credible and functional part of the Human Resources process, and will enhance your company’s ability to remain a competitive force in the marketplace.  When was the last time your organization reviewed its salary structure(s)?

At WageWatch, we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data, salary reports and consulting services that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. WageWatch, Inc. is the leading compensation survey provider for the lodging and gaming industries with 6,000 properties participating in its PeerMark™ Wage Survey. WageWatch also conducts compensation surveys for other business and industry segments including healthcare and non-profits. For more information on our services, including market compensation data, benefits survey data, salary reports, and consulting services, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20th, 2016 · Comments Off on IT’S TIME TO ADJUST YOUR SALARY STRUCTURE

DETERMINING WAGE LEVELS IN THE MARKET

There are two competing economic theories for what determines wage levels in the marketplace. The classic model is based on long run lasting effects from the expansion and contraction of the economic cycle which in turn drive wage rates; essentially tying wages to supply and demand for labor over time. The alternative model, which has been gaining support since the 1990s, is that wage levels are driven by what economists call “contemporaneous conditions”. Economists generally agree that the present condition of the economy is the primary factor in determining wage levels. Another way to phrase it is job seekers who are currently employed are motivated by current labor market conditions and not by long run macroeconomics.

An employer’s willingness to increase pay is influenced by the supply and demand of particular skills and the presence of market constraints. When a particular type of skill or knowledge is in demand and the labor supply is tight then the wages will increase.  Alternatively if the demand is weak and the labor supply is high, wages will be constrained. A perfect example of this is what has occurred in manufacturing industries since the 1980s. As more and more manufacturing industries down sized or increased productivity through automation, the demand for skilled production line workers diminished as did the wage level.

What is interesting is the relationship of wage rates and the cost of living is disjoint. Cost of living increases tend to be longer term while the increases in labor costs are more dependent on current conditions. Market wage rates and their change are based upon the supply of and demand for labor, which often changes without any consideration of the cost of living. The cost of living is a measure based upon the area’s cost of goods and services as surveyed by the federal government.

The correlation between these two measures has drastically changed over time.  In the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s there was a closer correlation between wages and cost-of-living and many organizations would provide cost of living adjustments to wages when employees relocated for their jobs from a lower cost of living area to a higher cost of living area.  Today, the wages paid in the local market where the job resides is the primary factor in setting wage levels.

Supply and demand and the prevailing pay or comparable wages are all determined by market forces and factors.  Comparable wages are the most widely used factor for determining wage rates. Comparable wages help an organization remain competitive and aid in the goals of attraction and retention. A widely acceptable definition of fair wages by both employers and employees is, ‘the wages paid by other employers for the same type of work’. The wage rates paid in the industry or locality will form a base for setting wage rates. When an organization lags the market competition, workers will leave their jobs for higher pay somewhere else. It will not be possible to retain good workers for long periods.

Essentially, the market wage is the lowest wage an employer can pay to attract and keep the quality of employees he needs. He can pay more than the market wage, but he can’t pay less. If he pays less in a tight market he will have higher turnover and not enough quality workers. For the worker, the market wage is the highest wage offered by any of the employers he’s willing to consider. He can work for less, but it would not make sense to do so for a long period of time unless there are offsetting benefits such as a shorter drive time, free parking or other incentives.

The interplay between all of these factors leads employers to decisions regarding where to set their wage levels and employees to enter into wage agreements with employers.  At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives. WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14th, 2016 · Comments Off on DETERMINING WAGE LEVELS IN THE MARKET

EFFECTIVE NEW HIRE ORIENTATION

An employee’s experience during their first few days will affect the rest of their tenure. It is critical to begin with an effective, positive and fun new hire orientation for the future success of your new employees.  Even before the employees hire date, you can make a positive impact with a call to the employee two or three days before their start date, welcoming them, letting them know what time to arrive and what they can expect during their first day and first week on the job.  Studies show that a well-planned orientation can contribute to length of employment, better work attitudes, more effective communication and fewer mistakes.  Your new hire orientation is your chance to set a positive tone for a hopefully long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.

A new hire’s early experience is highly influenced by his peers, managers, subordinates, HR team members and the organization’s top management.  Ensure that new hires are welcomed by their team members.  Plan a welcome breakfast meet and greet for their first morning on the job.  The new hire’s immediate supervisor should schedule daily meetings with the new employee at least for the first week, then at least weekly for the first month or two.  Schedule informational meetings with key people in the department and in other departments to provide the new hire with the general knowledge that they will need to perform their job.  Include an office tour in the orientation process that includes introductions.  Be sure to include introductions to top Executives, Human Resource personnel as well as receptionists, administrative assistants and copy/mail room attendants.

An effective orientation program will put emphasis on the new employee, their individuality and what they have to offer rather than focusing solely on the company’s culture and how the new employee can fit in.  You are probably hiring in part to get new ideas into the organization.  Make sure to capitalize on that.  Make your orientation meetings fun and be sure to provide a meal or at least snacks.  Keep it interesting and not too long. Too much information will be boring and will not be retained.  Orientation should reflect culture through interactive activities.  One way to make it memorable is to present companies goals, mission and values in an activity form rather than simply providing the information.  Allow the new hires to get to know each other on a personal basis, not just professional – go around the room and have them tell one professional and one personal thing about themselves.  You can also turn this into a game by writing one thing about each person on a piece of paper.  At the end, state items one at a time out of order and have people guess who said what.

Promote communication with a team building activity such as learning the employee handbook through a scavenger hunt.  For example, divide the orientation group into teams and see which team can answer the most handbook questions in a set amount of time.  Cover company ethics to let them know what is expected, and also include ‘unwritten rules’.  Don’t end there.  After orientation, provide follow-ups with each new hire to illicit their feedback and answer any follow-up questions they may have.

Don’t forget the basics.  Provide them with all the office supplies they will need to start their job, include contact information they will need.  And let them know how to get additional office supplies.  Teach them how to use the phone, how to forward calls, set up and change voice mail, and how to do a conference call.

Today, many companies are adding programs such as flex-time, telecommuting as well as accommodating and encouraging alternative work styles in an effort to provide a work environment where employees are happier and thriving.  Therefore don’t neglect or underestimate how impactful beginnings are, and provide your new hires with an orientation program that is effective and unique to your company and it’s culture.

Implementing the above suggestions will help your company to build a culture that encourages retention of employees, which in turn will attract top talent. In addition to providing a great work environment that respects employees and provides opportunities for learning and growth, it is also important that they receive a solid compensation and benefits package.  At WageWatch we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online .

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7th, 2016 · Comments Off on EFFECTIVE NEW HIRE ORIENTATION