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EMPLOYEE RETENTION STRATEGY

Retention

Employee retention is important to organizations in order to facilitate achieving a company’s goals and objectives.  HR leaders consider improved retention a high priority over the next five years.  Although retention is considered a priority, efforts to increase it have been stymied due to competing priorities and a lack of resources.  The side effects of turnover are not only financially based, but are noticed in decreased productivity, knowledge loss, and a lowered morale.

Some interesting statistics on employee retention include:

  • About 3 million Americans have QUIT their job each month since June 2017 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 30% of employees leave a new job within the first 90 days of employment (Jobvite)
  • 51% of employees are looking to leave their jobs (Gallup)
  • Companies that support remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don’t (Owl Labs)
  • 35% of employees report that they’d look for a new job if they did not receive a pay raise within the next year (Glassdoor)
  • 44% of employees would consider taking a job with a different company for a raise of 20% or less (Gallup)
  • 71% of retirees who returned to work originally retired due to a lack of flexibility in their work (Global Workplace Analytics)

With nearly one-third of employees leaving a new job within the first 90 days after starting a new position, it is important to understand the dynamics causing employees to quit.  The top reason cited was that the day-to-day role was not what the employee expected.  Other top reasons include: the employee had a bad experience that drove them away and the company culture lacked transparency.

Before addressing retention, the first step is to make sure that you hire the right employees—hire selectively.  It is important to ensure that the new hire has the right skills for the position as well as being a good fit with the company culture, the manager, and the coworkers that they will interact with on a daily basis.

Once hired, onboarding and orientation activities will help to set new hires up for success. These activities can last for a few weeks or months depending on your organization.  Aim to develop an onboarding process in which new staff members not only learn about the job but also the company culture and how they can contribute and thrive, with ongoing discussions, goals, and opportunities to address questions and issues.

Establish mentorship programs to pair a new employee with a mentor.  The mentor can provide a wealth of knowledge and resources to the new employee while the new employee can offer a fresh viewpoint to the mentor (mentor should not be the supervisor).

Offering an attractive compensation package is essential in this competitive market.  This includes salaries as well as bonuses, paid time off, health benefits, retirement plans, and other perks that distinguishes one workplace from another.

Work-life balance is important; burnout is a factor that impacts retention.  What is your company’s culture?  A healthy work-life balance is important and employees need to know that management understand its importance.

Employees like to feel that they have the possibility for advancement.  Training and development programs send a message that the employer is interested in their career growth.  It is import for managers to ask their direct reports about their career goals and determine how they can help them achieve their goals.

Providing opportunities for open communication and feedback is essential for employee retention.  Direct reports need to feel that they can voice their ideas, questions, and concerns.  In return, employees want management to be open and honest in their communication, especially feedback about their performance.  Employees desire ongoing feedback about their performance.

Recognize accomplishments of both the individual employee and the team. This can be as simple as a thank-you note or as elaborate as setting up a group excursion.  It is important to celebrate successes—to help employees feel engaged in their work environment

Employee retention matters; it is important to understand what is causing turnover within your organization.  Employee exit interviews provide information that can help retain your remaining staff.

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 November 14th, 2018 · Comments Off on EMPLOYEE RETENTION STRATEGY

HOW ABOUT A SIX HOUR WORKDAY?

Six-hour workday

 

Can a move to a six-hour workday increase productivity and the happiness quotient of employees and their families and at the same time increase productivity and company profits?   In the U.S., more than 60 years after workers, through their unions, began organizing for an eight-hour day in the 1860s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 for all workers to see limits on working hours – initially, it was set at 44 hours a week, then reduced to 42 hours, and by 1940 the work week was reduced to 40 hours.

Some businesses in Sweden have experimented with a six-hour workday with the hope of getting more accomplished in a shorter amount of time and ensure that employees have the energy to enjoy their private lives.   This change is purely experimental—one that has not been mandated by law nor implemented nationwide.

A Toyota vehicle service center in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg, moved to shorter days fifteen years ago.  The service center reported a happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits during that time.  The new system keeps the garages open longer and generates new business.  Employees are doing the same amount in the six-hour workday, often more than they did in the eight- hour day.  The service center reports that employees have more stamina to do this heavy work, and they have seen greater profits and customers because cars are getting fixed faster.

A high-profile case is the publicly funded Svartedalens nursing home in west Sweden.  They began a trial a six-hour day to determine if the cost of hiring additional staff members to cover the hours lost, was worth the improvements to patient care and the boosting of employees’ morale.   The nursing home had 80 nurses working six-hour shifts (maintaining their eight-hour salaries) while 80 staffers at another nursing home worked their standard hours.  Halfway through the test period, the nursing home with the six-hour workday had half the average sick leave, the nurses were happier, and the care was better.   The study, however, equates productivity with a quality of care, which doesn’t necessarily translate to white-collar work.

A number of startup companies announced that they are testing the concept.  The companies include Background AB, a creative communication agency in Falun, Dalarna and Filimundus, an app developer based in Stockholm.  Linus Feldt, Filimundus CEO believes that staying focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.  During an eight or more hour workday, employees take frequent breaks and look for distractions and diversions such as social media to make the workday more endurable.  With the six-hour workday, staff members at Filimundus are not allowed on social media, meetings are kept to a minimum, and the company does it’s best to eliminate other unproductive distractions.

Most of the companies who have made the shift to the six-hour workday have reported a positive impact, from increased efficiency to better communication and fewer staff sick days.  A 2014 Stanford University research paper found a “non-linear” relationship between hours worked and productivity, as well as too much work, can actually impinge productivity.  According to a study by the Families and Work Institute, overworked employees make more mistakes.  Research has shown that condensing work into more efficient hours is very unlikely to hurt productivity.  There is no need to lower pay and in fact, companies are likely to save money through less sick and personal leave, less stress leading to better health, and lower turnover costs.

The six-hour work day would be less acceptable in the U.S. because the eight plus hour workday ethic is so deeply embedded in our culture.  According to Gallup’s 2014 poll, full-time employees in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week.  However, even with encouraging results, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will shift to shorter days any time soon.  The rest of the world (outside of Europe) a 40 hour work week would be a very nice improvement as well.

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.

BENEFITS & PERKS–ATTRACTING & RETAINING TOP TALENT

Perks

In today’s tight job market, many employers realize that they need to take a closer look at their benefits package in an effort to attract and retain employees.  How often have you found a qualified candidate that you hope to hire only to learn that they decide to go with another position?  Most likely, the candidate has found another job in which the benefits offered by the competition were more attractive.

When reviewing the development of benefits and perks for your company, it is valuable to understand the differences.  Benefits are a form of non-wage compensation that supplement salary (e.g., health insurance). Perks are a form of non-wage compensation (e.g., work from home Fridays), but unlike benefits, are more loosely defined and vary greatly.

Glassdoor indicates that 57% of job seekers list benefits and perks among the chief determinants when evaluating jobs.  Benefits and perks impact recruiting efforts as they help to get prospective talent interested in a company and through the door.

The primary benefits and perks that prospective job seekers value most when considering a new position include (listed in order of importance):

  • Better health, dental, and vision insurance
  • More flexible hours
  • More vacation time
  • Work from home options
  • Retirement benefits; pension plan, 401K

Although there are some new, innovative benefits and perks being offered such as free-snacks or nap pods—the top benefits/perks valued by many employees are those that improve their work/life balance.

Some innovative, non-traditional benefits/perks offered by large companies and tech-based companies include:

  • Unlimited vacation
  • Student loan assistance
  • Free gym membership
  • Free day care services
  • Free fitness or yoga classes offered on-site
  • Catered breakfast and/or lunch
  • Company-wide retreats
  • Paid volunteer days
  • Paid parental leave for moms and dads (16+ weeks)
  • Dedicated game rooms
  • Nap rooms

Although the benefits and perks offered can help get prospective talent through the door of your organization, once hired, it is the culture, values, and career opportunities that are the leading factors in employee satisfaction.  Employee interests vary depending on company size, industry and demographics.  To find the benefits package that best fits your business, it’s important to survey employees about what they value most.

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 a custom-built 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 Benefits & Compensation on October 31st, 2018 · Comments Off on BENEFITS & PERKS–ATTRACTING & RETAINING TOP TALENT

THE IMPORTANCE OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is about an individual’s ability to recognize and understand emotions and how it impacts their behavior and attitudes.  Individuals who have a high degree of emotional intelligence are more in tune with their own emotions as well as the emotions of others.

In the workplace, emotional intelligence involves being sensitive to and perceptive of other people’s emotions and having the ability to intuitively improve performance based on this knowledge.  Individuals with high emotional intelligence are observed and measured as having higher productivity, they are better at conflict resolution, and they build strong bonds with co-workers as they can more easily understand the desires and needs of other people.

In the modern workplace, it is important to have open communication, teamwork, and a mutual respect among employees and their supervisors.  Emotional intelligence bears an important impact on the self-development of the manager and their leadership qualities.  Its impact is visible in building positive relations and gaining the emotional commitment of employees.  At a higher level, emotional intelligence helps to strengthen organizational culture, sharpen its resilience, and stretches its flexibility.  Managers who possess emotional intelligence approach supervisory responsibilities from a different perspective than an authoritarian manager. They understand the importance of communicating effectively with staff members, and of treating each employee with respect.

Human Resources can help create a more emotionally intelligent workforce by hiring employees who exhibit a high emotional intelligence, by evaluating employees using emotional intelligence criteria, by integrating emotional intelligence into performance management systems, and by offer training to improve emotional competence.  An emotionally intelligent organization in which 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 a custom-built 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.

HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE IN MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

Mergers and acquisitions are extremely challenging and even chaotic events.  Therefore, it is critical that everyone involved has a clear understanding of their role in the process.  Mergers and acquisitions have become the norm in the business world and are often necessary for survival.  Almost every major company in the US today has or will experience a major acquisition.  There is a subtle yet distinct difference between a merger and an acquisition.  A merger is when two separate companies merge into one new entity.  An acquisition is when one company buys the assets of another company.  A merger or acquisition can be desired due to many different strategic reasons including positioning in the market, acquiring another company’s areas of strength or expertise, acquiring capital, diversification and short-term growth.  There are several phases or steps in the acquisition process and human resources will typically be involved in at least 2 to 3 of these phases, including the due diligence and investigation process and the post-merger integration process.

The human resource role in the due diligence and investigation process is to perform a thorough review of all human resource contracts, benefit plans, plan documents, systems, personnel, employment records, all forms of compensation, policies and procedures, especially related to human resource regulations that relate to all human resource disciplines including compensation, benefits, recruiting, employee relations, training and development, and payroll and HRIS.  Human Resources will help to determine the organizational structure and staffing models for the new organization.  Some other important items that fall under the Human Resources umbrella are wage and hour or other compliance claims, employment litigations, collective bargaining agreements, any FMLA, OSHA, Workers Compensation, EEOC and OFCCP compliance issues.

Transition issues need to be discovered and addressed, for example, pay levels between the two organizations may be very different and a cost analysis may be needed to determine the cost of bringing pay levels more in line between the two merging entities.  Other transition issues that often need to be addressed are transitioning pay increase and performance review cycles, differences between benefit levels in health care and retirement plans.  Most items will need to be addressed immediately, and some items can be completed during the first or second year following the merger or acquisition.  For example, if the acquisition occurs in the first quarter and your merit increases are done in January, you may be able to wait until the following January for this transition.  Conversely, it will be highly desirable to transition the acquired entity employees immediately to your health and welfare plans rather than take on the administrative burden and ownership risk of additional plans.

Human Resources is also responsible for layoffs, stay bonuses, culture differences, and synergies and will play a key role in the orientation and welcoming of the new employees.  These are just a few key items on the Human Resources Acquisition Checklist.  And each item has its own list of key points and issues that must be addressed.  While most of the transition work will happen prior to the closing date, the job of transitioning employees into your policies, pay models, practices, procedures, and culture does not end at transition date and typically continues for 2 to 3 years following the transition date and requires continued review at the management level.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  With over 5,000 properties in our lodging compensation database, 150 casinos, and 125 hospitals and clinics, we regularly see properties being acquired, divested, and rebranded. Consolidations are occurring at a rapid pace in the healthcare industry as well with hospitals buying physician groups and primary care practices. There are numerous human resources concerns to address every time a property changes hands. WageWatch consultants can guide you through the process of integrating two or more compensation models, rebalancing grades and ranges, examining internal equities between plan documents, developing a market-based approach to resolving inconsistencies, and helping you along the way with all your transition needs.  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.

WHAT’S NEXT…JOINT EMPLOYMENT REDEFINED?

Joint EmploymentHave you noticed the flip-flop on Joint Employer Standards from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)?  Currently, the standards are in flux.  In 2015, the definition of a joint employer was modified and expanded based on the Browning-Ferris Industries case.  This case changed over 30 years of precedent that had required “direct” and “immediate” control over an employee’s working conditions to “indirect” and “potential” control as the new definition of joint employment.

Under the Browning-Ferris standard, even if two entities never exercised joint control over the essential terms and conditions of employment, and any joint control was not direct and immediate, there could still be joint employers based on: (1) the existence of reserved joint control, (2) indirect control, or (3) control that was limited and routine.  Browning-Ferris was considered controversial and criticized by many employers and business groups.

In December 2017, in an attempt to rein in what was perceived as a broad and vague standard, the NLRB re-established the pre-Browning-Ferris standard in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case which returned the former joint employer test requiring “direct” and “immediate” control.

To the dismay of many in the business community, in February 2018, due to an alleged conflict of interest, the NLRB vacated the Hy-Brand case, leaving Browning-Ferris as the law of the land once again.  Prior to Browning-Ferris, the NLRB relied on decades of legal precedent to set the joint employment standard.

In May 2018, the NLRB announced its intention to clarify the joint employer standard by issuing a new rule to reinstate the pre-Browning-Ferris joint employer standard.  On September 14, 2018, the NLRB published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register regarding its joint-employment standard (allowing 60 days for public comments).  The proposed rule reflects a return to the previously longstanding standard that an employer may be found to be a joint-employer when the following condition exists:

    • A joint-employer of another employer’s employees exists only if it possesses AND exercises substantial, direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment and has done so in a manner that is not limited and routine. 

 The 60-day period for public comments continues through November 13.  After the NLRB reviews the public comments and replies, it will issue a final rule regarding the joint employer standard.  If issued without substantial changes, this rule will provide employers with a more clear and consistent standard and reduce the likelihood of an employer inadvertently becoming a joint employer.

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.

EMPLOYERS MUST START USING NEW “FEDERAL CONSUMER RIGHTS ACT” NOTICE

Effective September 21, 2018, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that employers that use a third-party consumer reporting agency, to conduct background checks on employee applicants, use the updated Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  The new Summary of Rights Act was issued on September 12, 2018; employers were given very little time to comply with the act.

The FCRA requires that employers follow certain procedures before obtaining a background check by a third party reporting agency.  The employer must follow certain procedures if it decides not to hire the applicant (or take an adverse action against an employee) based upon a third party background check.  One of the procedures is to provide employees with their “Summary of Consumer Rights” under the FCRA along with the name, address, and phone number of the third-party agency that provided the information.  Failure to provide the correct notification can expose employers to legal risk, including class action litigation.

Employers will have to provide the new “Summary of Consumer Rights” form in any pre-adverse action notification that comes as a result of the background check.  They must also provide this notification before obtaining a background check if the report includes information stemming from personal interviews conducted by a consumer reporting agency.

The new rule requires that employers use the new “Summary of Consumer Rights.” This new model “Summary of Consumer Rights” requires that the rejected applicant be advised of their right to request that the third-party reporting agency provide the rejected applicant with a free “national security freeze.”  This freeze would restrict prospective lenders from obtaining the consumer’s credit report, thereby thwarting identify thieves.  The new model form can be found here.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help ensure your wages and salaries are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  In addition to our PeerMark Salary Survey for over 100 local lodging markets in the U.S. and Canada, we offer a National Benchmark Salary Survey. With over 9,000 hotels and 200 casinos in our database, WageWatch’s hotel and gaming salary surveys are the most comprehensive surveys available to Human Resource professionals.  For more information on our services, including consulting, salary surveys, benefit surveys, and custom compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Guest Editor:  Pautsch, Spognardi & Baiocchi Legal Group LLP
www.psb-attorneys.com

WHAT SHOULD AN EMPLOYER DO WHEN AN OTHERWISE QUALIFIED APPLICANT FAILS A DRUG TEST WHILE USING MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES?

First and foremost, CHECK STATE LAW!  This remains a troubling issue for employers in states that have enacted medical marijuana laws and/or laws allowing for recreational marijuana laws.  We have written on this perplexing issue in the past focusing on the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision which held that state’s protection of employees who are engaging in “lawful activities” did not shield an employee using state-law protected medical marijuana from termination.

Last week a Connecticut federal court judge issued a decision for employers concerning Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA). The federal judge granted summary judgment in the employee’s favor in connection with her PUMA claim.  The court concluded that the Company violated PUMA by rescinding the job offer based on a positive pre-employment drug test because was a “qualifying patient” under Connecticut law.

In so doing, the court rejected the Company’s argument that its zero-tolerance policy complied with the Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA), which requires federal contractors to make a “good faith effort” to maintain a drug-free workplace.  The federal judge concluded that the DFWA does not prohibit federal contractors from employing someone who uses medical marijuana outside of the workplace.  The emphasized that PUMA does nothing to limit an employer’s ability to prohibit the use of intoxicating substances during work hours, but it does protect a “qualifying patient” from an adverse employment action for using marijuana “outside of work hours and in the absence of any influence during work hours.”

PLEASE NOTE: this is an area of the law that is not yet settled.  And that there will be different results in each state as state laws on marijuana use vary greatly—-and judicial interpretations of these laws will also greatly vary.  Before proceeding to enforce your drug-testing policy against individuals purportedly using marijuana for medicinal purposes, you are well-advised to review all applicable state laws.  Of course, feel free to contact PSB if you have any questions on this at www.psb-attorneys.com.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help ensure your wages and salaries are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  In addition to our PeerMark Salary Survey for over 100 local lodging markets in the U.S. and Canada, we offer a National Benchmark Salary Survey.  With over 9,000 hotels and 200 casinos in our database, WageWatch’s hotel and gaming salary surveys are the most comprehensive surveys available to Human Resource professionals. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary surveys, benefit surveys, and custom compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

SALARY STRUCTURES: WHAT ARE THEY GOOD FOR?

Established salary structures aren’t mandatory.  There is no law that requires them, but they serve many useful purposes.  Having salary ranges in place can ensure that salary decisions, from new hires to promotions, are made with objective and consistent rules and parameters.  They provide at least a first line of defense against salary discrimination, intentional or otherwise, by ensuring that employees performing the same job are granted the same salary opportunity.  And, formal salary ranges provide you with a tool for proactively managing and budgeting your salary dollars.

Salary structures help ensure that pay levels for groups of jobs are competitive externally and equitable internally.  A well-designed salary structure allows management to reward performance and skills development and control overall base salary cost by providing a cap on the range paid.

A salary structure enables employers to pay employees in a given position, consistently, for the work they do.  Salary ranges also offer flexibility enabling a company to pay higher in the range for an employee based on a greater level of education, experience or performance.  In the same way, it can potentially save on labor costs when hiring employees with limited backgrounds.

Having well documented and communicated salary ranges can minimize employees’ pay equity concerns and grievances.

A well-designed salary structure will help organizations:

  • Attract and retain suitable, qualified, and experienced employees
  • Build high morale with internal equity
  • Create more satisfied employees and thus reduce turnover
  • Minimize favoritism and bias
  • Provide a structure for career progression
  • Serve as a sound basis for collective bargaining and employee relations management

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.

A study of the current labor market will provide new information to determine whether the organization’s pay structure, policies and practices, job classifications and job titles are appropriate or needing adjustment.

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.

MERIT BUDGET ALLOCATION

A primary goal of any compensation program is to motivate employees to perform at their best.  Most organizations have to 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 as a raise 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 the 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 the market level, 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.