Pay Transparency: Culture is Key

Posted on March 14, 2014 by Chris Kelley Posted in Compensation Consulting, KnowledgePay

There’s still a lot of talk lately about the idea of pay transparency, but many organizations still not willing to take the plunge. Why the hesitancy? One argument I hear is that pay information is personal and it’s a private matter between the organization and employee.  Others respond with view that employees just don’t have a need to know what coworkers earn. Or, my favorite, employees can’t be trusted with this kind of information. Therefore, when social media management company Buffer recently announced it was posting salaries online, you can imagine the uproar.

However, as Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne emphasized in a December blog post, “Transparency breeds trust, and trust is the foundation for great teamwork.”

Buffer isn’t the only company choosing to share ‘confidential’ information. Thirty-employee SumAll chose to make performance reviews as well as salaries public. They say the program is a success. This may be due to how well they implemented the program. Specifically, they built the right culture as well as developed complementary policies and programs that are transparent as well as defensible.

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Twenty Percent of States to Invoke Minimum Wage Changes on January 1, 2013

Posted on December 4, 2012 by Chris Kelley Posted in KnowledgePay

That’s right, at least ten of the States have already announced increases to their minimum wage hourly pay rates going into the new 2013 calendar year. If you have workers in any of these locations: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont & Washington, be ready. Come January 1st of 2013, you’ll be dolling out more coin for employees that have been paid at, or near, the current minimum wage rates. Compensation costs already account for the single largest operating expense for most companies…and those costs are going higher.

The average increase going in to effect is 2.1%, with Rhode Island going up by over 2x that amount (up 4.9%).
Nine of the ten States that will be increasing their minimum wage rates, already have rates that are set above the federal rate of $7.25. With Missouri increasing their minimum wage rate up to $7.36/hour, we will have twenty States requiring wage rates higher than the federal mandate.

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Job Titles Do Have a Purpose

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Chris Kelley Posted in Job Evaluation, Job Titling, KnowledgePay

Job titling can be a political hot potato in some organizations, at least in the organizations we see where the HR function hasn’t stepped to define the purpose of the job title. Maybe this is old school, but the most effective organizations define the purpose of the job title as a label that clearly and simply articulates the level and functional area of accountability. That’s it. Nothing cute or fancy…and it certainly is not a reward lever.

Not everyone thinks this way though. See the recent article in CNN Money, where a not-so-scientific research from printer,, shows off some rather uncommon job titles.

So what’s the big deal? Especially in light of low merit budgets and layoffs. Why shouldn’t organizations throw their workers a proverbial bone and let them be creative in coming up with a title that let’s them stand out? Afterall, job titles are free, right? Not.

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Funny Market Pricing Stories

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Chris Kelley Posted in KnowledgePay

Funny how? Ha-ha funny, or funny like a clown. Well neither really. These are just a few of the quirky, humorous situations I’ve stumbled across. Would love to hear your stories.

Towers’ Data Always Runs High – I’ve actually heard this one on several occasions. My response is always, “Really? Do they have bigger calculators or something?” I think not. It’s better to look at the participant lists and see if there’s a driving force behind why there may be data differences between survey vendors for the same benchmark job. Towers Watson does have a very high percentage of large companies and better representation amongst a few of the higher paying industry groups which offers a better rationalization for why their data might be higher. But what if, just maybe, that is the relevant labor market where you compete for talent. Conversely, what if you’re a smaller firm in a notoriously low paying labor market? You would likely be looking to compare to a different set of participating companies. The real story here is make sure you select the survey vendors that are the best reflection of the labor pool where you swim and don’t just knee-jerk react to some off-handed comment that one vendor “runs high”.

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