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Archive for October, 2016

SALARY RANGE DISCLOSURE

The question of whether or not to share salary grades and ranges with employees continues to be debated.  Some companies provide their salary structure to all employees, some provide portions of the structure on a need to know basis, while others hold the information in the strictest of confidence.  Non-disclosure of salary ranges can create confusion and even suspicion and distrust among employees.  Alternatively, companies that share information about pay ranges tend to have more committed employees and higher retention rates.  Salary ranges are also an effective tool for recruitment.

 

There are many advantages to disclosing pay ranges to your employees.  Full transparency can help cultivate a culture of fairness and provide employees with a greater understanding of how their role impacts company goals.  The salary ranges are a useful tool for managers to align employee expectations with market realities and to manage pay progression within their departments.   They are also helpful to employees when making decisions about their next career move.

 

A well-defined compensation strategy can help you communicate your salary structure, and handle questions and potentially difficult conversations with greater success.  Employees can still disagree, but communicating honestly about pay at least provides a better understanding.

 

For salary range communications to be effective, you need to ensure your structure grew out of current and competitive market data that was carefully matched to your jobs and that a thorough and accurate market analysis produced the resulting salary ranges.  You will need to be able to define and defend your labor markets, survey sources, how pay ranges were determined and how jobs were assigned to grades and corresponding pay ranges.  If you have done the job properly, explaining and defending the salary ranges should be easy.  Be prepared to respond to questions regarding employee’s compa-ratio or position in the salary range and/or market point.

 

Salary ranges can help with communications during the merit increase process, especially if pay increases are based on performance and/or position in range.  Some information does not need to be shared.  For example, executive salaries (typically above the Director level) are normally not disclosed and actual salaries of employees do not need to be disclosed except under a union bargaining agreement.  Be selective and discreet about the information that you share as well as how it is presented.

 

Employee complaints about salary usually stem from a few core issues, including perceiving salary decisions as unfair, confusion regarding the compensation system and disputes regarding their performance evaluations.  If jobs have been fairly and objectively evaluated and priced against both internal and external factors and there is nothing to hide, if you can defend and explain your decisions, then why not consider full disclosure of your salary structure?

 

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.

OPEN ENROLLMENT SEASON

Benefits Open Enrollment is underway at many lodging and gaming companies across the country.  New federal, state and local government regulations; an increasingly competitive job market; rising cost of benefits; and, new technology application have kept employee benefits managers very challenged over the past several years.  Some of the latest trends impacting Employer benefit plans are discussed in this blog.

Apps are emerging to help consumers find lower cost in-network providers and identify fair prices for services such as lab and radiology imaging. Similarly, apps are available for consumers to compare cost of drugs among the pharmacies in their area and make better use of their prescription formulary to reduce their costs further.  Technology is making it easier and more convenient for consumers to participate in wellness programs with new apps and services.  Wearable devices continue to grow in popularity and advance in capabilities that inspire fitness goals that can impact wellness initiatives.

Cost reduction strategies such as spousal surcharges for coverage of a working spouse if the spouse’s employer offers health insurance, Dependent audits  to weed out ineligible covered dependents will also continue to become commonplace in order to reduce a plan’s cost.

Targeted marketing strategies are more and more popular that use employee demographics, personal preferences and benefits enrollment data to tailor messaging specific to the employee.  These tailored messages can be used throughout the plan year.

Continuing to gain traction with employers are high-deductible health plans (HDHP) such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).  HSAs while paired with a HDHP are tax-advantaged accounts to which employees and employers may contribute funds for employees’ health benefit expenses. Individuals can claim tax deductions up to the limits for contributions they make to the accounts when filing their annual income tax returns.

Employee expectations and needs are expanding to nontraditional benefits offerings, such as fraud protection services, telemedicine and bill negotiation services.

These are some of the key items that are trending in employee benefit plans for 2016 and into the 2017 plan year.   Benefits specialists should help employers make the selection process easier by providing streamlined, practical decision-making tools. Communication about benefits should also take place throughout the year, instead of in a single “information dump” just prior to enrollment.

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 October 18th, 2016 · Comments Off on OPEN ENROLLMENT SEASON

INCENTIVE PLAN ESSENTIALS

Well-designed and well-implemented incentive plans can be an important tool for overall company success, but they also have the potential to be ineffective and even damaging if not carefully thought out.  Poorly designed incentives can have too much discretion, too much complexity or just too many measures that can undermine their power and advantage, and they can become just another way to distribute pay.

Before you even consider incentives, make sure you know the company’s strategy and the critical measurements of success.  You will need to know the specifics regarding what you want to achieve, what kinds of improvements, behaviors and outcomes do you want; why aren’t these improvements happening now and what’s preventing them from taking place; what obstacles to the outcomes will employees face, how will employees respond to and try to overcome these obstacles, and is this what you want; Do employees have the skills, experience, systems and support they need to overcome these obstacles and if not, what is lacking?

The potential incentive must be big enough to get the employees’ attention.  Incentives can create a focus on results, but you have to first get the employee’s attention.  Because the opportunity for financial rewards motivates some more than others, your incentive plan will have a greater chance of success if you carefully define what the size of the opportunity must be in order to get the majority of your employees’ focus.

The performance or results required to earn the incentive must be within the employees’ control or significant influence and should be perceived as achievable with some extra effort or stretch.  It should be easy to see and understand the relationship between one’s effort, the results of that effort and the reward.   The incented performance needs to be perceived as a desirable, stretch goal to get and keep the employee’s attention. The payout must be worth the effort required to “stretch.”  The actual payout after the final measurement is made needs to justify the attempt that was made to achieve the full objective.

Develop robust tools for performance reporting so that the employee participants always know where they stand in relation to their goals and payouts.  The payout should be forecast as the performance period proceeds in order to keep the employees’ focus on the desired outcome.   Too much subjectivity in the measurements will turn a Plan into a surprise bonus.   The sources of the measurements should be available to every participant on a regular basis and calculations for determining payouts must be simple and easy to understand.

Incentive plans will also be more valued and accepted by employees when they are a compliment to an already competitive base salary plan.  Incentive plans are not meant to remedy non-competitive pay issues.  Finally, critical factors for a plans success lie in keeping it simple and ensuring good plan communications.

Incentive plans, or any other reward vehicles, cannot drive the performance-improvement bus alone. Unless you identify and remove the barriers to performance, and create the setting in which performance improvement is possible and even likely, throwing incentive money at the problem will likely have little positive impact and could produce some very real negative consequences.

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 October 12th, 2016 · Comments Off on INCENTIVE PLAN ESSENTIALS

WHY ORGANIZATIONS ARE FINDING VALUE IN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EI)

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is about being able to control your own emotions and the emotions of others.  Having emotional intelligence means being emotionally aware, able to identify, harness and apply those emotions to tasks like thinking and problem solving. Emotionally intelligent people will also have the ability to manage their own emotions and the emotions of others.  For example, having the ability to cheer someone up or calm someone down.

Emotional Intelligence impacts one’s attitude and outlook on life.  It can lesson mood swings, depression and ease anxiety.  People with high EI are better at conflict resolution and can be better negotiators as they are better able to understand the desires and needs of other people.  Relating to others in a positive way, understanding their motivations and building strong, sold bonds with co-workers ultimately allows those with higher emotional intelligence to be stronger leaders.

In today’s workplace, it is important to have open communication, team work, and a mutual respect among employees and their supervisors.  Employees do not check their emotions at the door when they come to work.  Interactions with people in the workplace will involve emotions.  Managers who possess emotional intelligence can better understand and motivate the employees that they supervise.  Employees with higher emotional intelligence can overcome minor indifferences and focus on what needs to be achieved for the greater good of the team.

Human Resources can help create a more emotionally intelligent workforce by hiring employees who exhibit a high EI, by evaluating employees using EI criteria, integrate EI into performance management systems and offer training to improve emotional competence.  During the interview process, employers can look for certain traits such as:  People Skills, Self-Awareness, Empathy, Self-Management, and Motivation.

Emotionally aware staff can assimilate into the workplace with greater ease than those who are simply competent at their job.  Emotional Intelligence can strengthen organizational culture, increase resiliency and flexibility, ultimately leading to a greater competitive advantage in the market.  An emotionally intelligent organization where employees share strong connections and are able to work more effectively with each other should result in greater productivity.

Managers and business owners can’t let themselves lose sight of the fact that their employees are people, with real lives and emotions that impact how they think, feel, and act. Managers with emotional intelligence understand that their staff members are people first and workers second.  Incorporating emotional intelligence into your personal and organizational management philosophy may be the best way to retain key employees and help with overall organizational success.

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 October 5th, 2016 · Comments Off on WHY ORGANIZATIONS ARE FINDING VALUE IN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EI)