WageWatch Ibrief Blog


Archive for December, 2019



Employee retention is important for organizations 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 daily.

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 understands 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 the 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.



White Collar

On September 24, the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule released the final rules increasing the minimum salary level for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “white collar” exemptions from $455 to $684 per week.   Effective January 1, 2020:

  • The salary threshold for “white-collar” raises to $684 a week or $35,568 (up from $455 a week or $23,660).
  • For highly compensated employees (HCEs), it raises the annual compensation to $107,432 (up from $100,000 per year).
  • The rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payment (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level.
  • Revises the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industries have been revised to $455 and $1043, respectively.

It will be important for employers to analyze the status of employees who earn below the new salary threshold but were previously exempt.  Employers will have to consider whether to reclassify those employees as nonexempt hourly workers or give them raises to bring them up to the new threshold.  If employees now classified as exempt are reclassified as nonexempt workers, employers should make sure the newly reclassified employees know what is expected of them as hourly workers.

The quiz below was developed by the law firm, Pautsch, Spognardi & Baiocchi Legal Group.

Answer each question as TRUE or FALSE:

  1. Under the new DOL rules, if an employee makes over $35,568 per year, it is permissible to pay the employee on an hourly basis and not pay that employee overtime.
  2. To be considered exempt under the “white collar” exemptions, under either the new rules or the old rules, the employee must supervise at least two other individuals.
  3. Under the new rules, if an employee holds a professional degree, they can be classified as exempt even if they are not paid a salary of at least $35,568 per year.
  4. Under the new rules, exempt employees, who are paid a salary of over $35,568 per year, can be “docked” pay on an “hour-by-hour” basis as long as careful records are kept and they have forms of paid leave to use for the docked time periods.
  5. The FLSA has an overtime exemption for “inside sales” employees that remains unaffected by the new rules.
  6. The FLSA has overtime and minimum wage exemption for “outside sales” employees that remain unaffected by the new rules.


  1. FALSE, each of the “white collar” exemptions (“professional”, “administrative”, “executive”) from overtime require that the employee be paid on a “salary basis” in addition to the “duties” standards set for each. As noted below, the “salary basis” test does not apply to “inside” and “outside sales” exemptions.
  2. FALSE, this is true and required for the “executive” exemption, but not for the “administrative”, “professional” and “inside” and “outside” sales exemptions.
  3. FALSE, to qualify for the “professional” exemption, the employee must meet both the “salary” level test (now $35,568) and the “duties” and status requirements of the “professional” exemption, i.e., that the employee holds a professional degree and perform that work as their primary duty.
  4. This can be done lawfully, but it may be inadvisable to do so as it may cause morale problems and can lead to suits if situations occur if “docking” occurs when the paid leave bank has been depleted.
  5. Under federal law, the inside sales exemption applies to employees who earn more than 150% of the minimum wage, derive at least 50% of their income from commissions, and work within the “retail and service industry” as defined under the FLSA.
  6. Under federal law, an employee who qualifies for this exemption is exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime premium requirements.  The employee’s primary duty must be making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer and the employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business.  The salary requirements of the regulation do not apply to the outside sales exemption.

Spognardi Baiocchi LLP, a law firm dedicated to partnering with companies of all sizes to find solutions for labor, employment, human resources, and general business needs.  www.psb-attorneys.com.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practice data that will allow you to stay current.  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, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.