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Archive for August, 2016

ALIGNING COMPENSATION WITH COMPANY CULTURE

Many organizations today are focusing on their company’s culture including determining their culture, deciding what it should be, aligning with strategic goals and transitioning to the desired culture.  Culture is important because it reinforces the values in the organization, which in turn shapes team members behavior.  There are many success stories of companies with cultures that are aligned to their business goals including Google, Zappos, and Patagonia.  These companies have not only developed a culture that supports their business, but have fully embraced their culture.

Organizational culture is the collective behavior of the people who are part of the organization and has important effects on the morale and motivation of the organizational members.  It includes the values, norms, systems, beliefs, attitudes and habits of the organization and affects the interactions of the employees with each other, and with customers.  Even before you define it, you know it is there and that it has an impact on your business. This is why it is so important to internalize the culture and understanding when company activities are in sync or not with the culture.

Once the company values and desired culture are defined, compensation can support and help drive the values and corporate culture.  It is important that the role of compensation in an organization and the compensation strategy are also defined.  For example, where does the organization want to set pay levels in comparison to the competitive market?  Perhaps the organization’s culture is strong on training and developing its employees, acknowledging their successes and offering advancement opportunities. This in turn may allow the organization to set lower pay levels than what is paid in the market.  Of course, when recruiting it is important to align the compensation strategy to support the values of the culture through highlighting performance management, performance appraisals and the goal setting process for each team member.

Once values, business objectives and desired behaviors are determined then compensation plans can be put in place to support the culture.  For example, if the business objective is innovation and the desired behavior is risk-taking, then short term incentives may be the compensation strategy.  If the goal is for a highly trained workforce and the behavior is learning and upgrading skills, then skill or competency based pay may be the compensation strategy.

Corporate culture is about people’s behaviors – how goals are accomplished – so to establish a culture that drives company success, organizations should link a significant component of their compensation systems to behaviors.

At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  WageWatch also offers 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 .

MERIT BUDGET ALLOCATION

A primary goal of any compensation program is to motivate employees to perform at their best. Most organizations have pay for performance at least in the form of a merit pay system. An accurate, reliable and credible performance-appraisal program that is aligned with company goals, core values and industry best practices is the foundation of a successful merit pay program. Performance measures should be tailored specifically for the organization and its jobs with clear outcomes that minimize bias and misinterpretation. Consistency, manager training, effective communications and a periodic review are also essential for success.

The merit pay budget has two aspects to it: 1) determining the size of the budget and 2) allocating the budget to organizational units and its employees. Determining the size of the budget will be based on competitive trends, the organization’s financial situation and other factors that may impact pay such as minimum wage and cost of living changes. For the past several years merit budgets have been small and therefore it has been a challenge to adequately reward top performers as well as those that are rated ‘Good’ and ‘Average’. Employees with performance ratings of ‘Good’ and ‘Average’ can be the largest percentage of employees and therefore the backbone of the workforce. These employees should not be overlooked but raises for these employees often do not keep up with the cost of living. Also the differentials between performance levels may not be large enough to motivate and retain employees. These factors reduce the motivational potential of the merit pay program.

Using a merit increase matrix may help to maintain internal equity but may not properly reward top performers. You want your reviewing managers to be engaged in the merit award process and to give appropriate thought and consideration to their pay decisions. A certain amount of guidance and training is needed but the merit matrix can be too structured and rigid as well as make it too easy for reviewing managers to simply follow the formula rather than spend the time and effort for a thorough review. Greater rewards for top performers and greater deviation of awards between good and average performers can be accomplished by providing zero increases to employees whose performance falls below average. Providing broad increase guidelines in lieu of a matrix to your reviewing managers using factors such as performance rating, time in position, and position in salary range can eliminate the rigidity of the merit matrix and drive a more thoughtful approach to the merit award process. Once tentative award amounts are determined, reviewing managers should perform an analysis of the awards looking at the whole department and at each individual award using these and other factors as well as any unique or special circumstances.

Annual pay increases not only help keep employees’ pay at market, providing awards that are accurately linked to performance are important in retaining employees, especially your best ones. Compensation frequently emerges as a driver of retention, and when pay increases aren’t provided regularly and fairly, it will negatively impact job satisfaction.

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 and that your pay practices are fair, equitable and non-discriminatory. We can provide your business with compensation surveys and salary reports to help you establish a budget for your merit pay program, including bonuses and incentives. Our innovative company is a leader in the collection of data for surveys and salary reports, which allows us to provide services to a wide range of industries in both the private and public sector. To learn more about our compensation surveys, salary reports and other services, please call 480-237-6130 or contact us online.

WHEN TO EMPLOY SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM INCENTIVES

An employee compensation plan should provide a competitive wage and reward employees fairly and equitably for behaviors while accomplishing goals and objectives for the organization.  Compensation is the reward an employee receives in return for his or her contribution to the organization.  Basic components of a compensation package include base salary, incentives, and benefits.

Organizations implement incentive plans to help reach overall goals and objectives.  Incentive plans range from variable pay plans to prizes and recognition awards.   Incentive plans can motivate employees to go beyond expectations and produce results that contribute to business success.  They also can attract new talent and encourage company loyalty.  For an incentive plan to be effective, the goals must be obtainable.

So how do you determine whether a short-term or long-term incentive is appropriate?  Short-term incentives are used to create focus on short-term or immediate goals, and align rewards with individual and business performance.  Long-term incentives are typically designed for executives who make strategic decisions for the company.  They can ensure focus on what’s best for the organization’s future outcomes by placing importance on medium and/or long-term goals and creating a sense of ownership of those goals.  Successful incentive plans can also help organizations align rewards with shareholder interests, and help retain key talent.

Short term incentives can be for all employee levels from entry level to middle management to the executive level and they can be big or small and can cover a week, month, quarter or year of performance measurements and goals.  Short term incentives can create a better work environment and motivate employees to work to their greatest potential.  Without short term incentives, employees may feel that their work is unappreciated and morale can be low.  Short term incentives align employees work with the overall success of the company and can clearly define an employee’s specific role in contributing to that success.  Short term incentives such as prizes, free airline tickets or hotel stays, tickets to events or a paid day off can have high impact.  Short-term incentives can be individual and/or team based.  Rewarding employees for clearly defined goals can go a long way to creating happy employees who work well alone and together striving for success.

It is important to use both the short and the long term initiatives to produce desired results. Incentive programs that are carefully and strategically crafted and aligned with company goals and timeframes should lead to more productive, motivated and loyal team members.  Retaining good employees saves organizations the expense of recruiting and training new workers.

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 August 17th, 2016 · Comments Off on WHEN TO EMPLOY SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM INCENTIVES

HOW TO BENCHMARK HYBRID JOBS

The traditional procedure for market pricing a job title begins by accurately matching your company’s job to the survey’s benchmarked job. To aid in this effort, WageWatch collects employee payroll data on 843 distinct job titles across all surveys for 2016. Each job title in the survey is provided with a job summary detailing the major functions of the role. Trying to match by exact job title alone can lead to inaccurate market pricing. The entire job summary should be analyzed to determine best fit, especially when using a compensation provider for the first time.

Even with 843 job titles surveyed, there are occasions where an exact market match cannot be made. There are several reasons for this. One common reason is this job performs a hybrid function. The economic downturn caused traditionally single function jobs to merge or collapse into multifunction positions. We also see hybrid jobs in small businesses and in business units experiencing changes in technology or services. Healthcare might need a job that requires both a technology and clinical expertise, or in hospitality, a job that conducts both sales and operations duties.

The rule of thumb WageWatch recommends is that if your company’s job function matches our benchmarked job title by at least 80%, then that’s is a suitable market match since the primary function of the job is the same. Another way to think of the 80% guideline is 4 out of 5 days of the week they are doing the same job. The 20% of the job that is not an exact match falls into the ubiquitous “other duties as assigned” category on the job description.

An example of a hybrid function is a hotel employee who supervises both the front desk and the maintenance teams. This job performs a split 50/50 role and cannot be accurately matched to either a Front Desk Manager or Maintenance Manger alone. This is where hybrid job pricing requires an additional calculation beyond the one-for-one market match.

To build upon the example, let’s say you have calculated that from your competitive set the market average rate of pay for Front Desk Manager is $18.00 and $22.00 for Maintenance Manager respectively. By weighing each rate by the amount of time spent in the function, you can calculate a hybrid market average rate of $20.00 for this job.

In another example, a healthcare clinic needs to market price a role that performs Registered Nurse duties (40%) and Database Administrator duties (60%) in a patient data management role.  The WageWatch PeerMark report for the custom competitive set shows RN market average is $38.00/hr and Data Admin at $45.00/hr. The calculation for determining the hybrid market rate is as follows:

($38.00 x .40) + ($45.00 x .60) = $42.20

This hybrid pricing method works best when combing two market benchmarks. If you need to use three or more, we recommend you use an internal pricing strategy for this niche role. For assistance with hybrid job pricing, job matching, and market pricing please contact the WageWatch Consulting Team.

At WageWatch, our expert evaluators provide businesses in a large range of industries with accurate and beneficial benefits survey data, compensation surveys and salary reports to ensure that payment and benefits plans are on par with those in the industry. For more information on market compensation data, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online (https://www.wagewatch.com/Contact/ContactUs.aspx).

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10th, 2016 · Comments Off on HOW TO BENCHMARK HYBRID JOBS

JOINT EMPLOYER LIABILITY

The use of sub-contractors, temporary staffing, leased employees and independent contractors can provide employers with quick temporary staffing and reduce benefits and payroll costs. However, the employer client can be considered a joint employer with the leasing or temporary agency when they share certain key employment terms such as the ability to hire, fire or discipline the workers, affect their compensation and benefits, and direct and supervise their performance.  When businesses use temporary agency, leased, or contract workers, though the employer is the temporary help, leasing, or contracting company, the client business may be regarded as a joint employer under some laws.

The Family and Medical Leave Act has specific language regarding joint employer relationships. While the leasing or temporary help agency is the primary employer, the client company may be required to place the worker in the same or comparable position upon his or her return from FMLA leave.  Additionally, leased and temporary workers will count as employees of the client company for the purposes of determining whether a business is subject to the FMLA regulations.

In the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, leased and temporary workers are the client’s employees for the purposes of qualifying retirement plans and certain fringe benefits such as life insurance and cafeteria plans (does not apply to health insurance benefits), if the workers have been engaged with the client company on a full-time basis for a minimum of one year and the client company primarily controls or directs their work.

An employer can face a charge of discrimination under Title VII anti-discrimination legislation brought by an individual who worked for the employer under one of these leasing or sub-contractor relationships.

It has also come into question with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) whether leased and temporary workers must be included in collective bargaining agreements that cover the client’s regular employees.

Some states have passed legislation on joint employer liability as it pertains to workers’ compensation regulation.  New York ruled that the client is the common law employer of leased employees and is therefore primarily responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits. To date there have been no guidelines for joint employer status under OSHA or other health and safety regulations.

Employers need to be aware of and have guidelines regarding the degree of control they have over these temporary, leased and contract workers. The greater the degree of control, the greater the likelihood that the employer could be determined to be a joint employer.

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 August 3rd, 2016 · Comments Off on JOINT EMPLOYER LIABILITY