• Snackable: PayScale invades Toronto and 2014 HRPA


    Hedge Stahm, PayScale

    Thousands of Canadian HR professionals descended on the frozen city of Toronto for the 2014 HRPA annual conference. The throngs flocked the educational sessions, viewed the keynote talks, and took advantage of the networking opportunities.

  • 10 ways to boost employee incentive programs


    When is the last time you took the time to thank your employees for a job well done? Several workplace studies have shown a connection between appreciation of employees and the results of company objectives. Leaders who put emphasis on demonstrating appreciation to employees on a regular basis produce a higher level of employee engagement, which boosts productivity like gangbusters. Having an employee incentive program in place is one piece of the bigger puzzle.

  • Fair and square! 5 ways to boost your bonus program


    How well is your company doing at fairly handling the employee bonus and incentive program? To help you figure out that answer, first ask yourself this question: Do you have a way of tracking the perks you hand out to employees so that you know you are doing this well? If your company chooses to use bonuses as part of a compensation program, but you are not effectively managing this with data, you could be missing the mark.  

  • Finding the story behind the numbers: An interview with Tracey Smith from Numerical Insights


    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    While some might argue that good decision making is as much art as science, there’s no question that good data, analyzed properly and applied strategically, can help organizations make better decisions more often than not. After all, perception has its limits.

  • States Raise Minimum Wages in 2014 - Are they Fair?


    A hot topic on the minds of people around the USA right now are the states that have raised their minimum wages to meet with the cost of living demands in multiple regions. As of January 1st of 2014 (New York December 31, 2013), fourteen states made the minimum wage increase official. This comes as part of proposed salary legislation up for consideration in the House and Senate to increase the federal minimum wage in 2014, as included in the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012. Things are looking up for millions of workers who are in jobs that pay minimum wage in the states that have decided to move forward and increase the wage now.

  • Nobody has a good name in a bad mouth: The dangers of office gossip


    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    In the 1918 novel The Magnificent Ambersons, written by Booth Tarkington and later adapted for the big screen by the great Orson Welles, Uncle Amberson counsels his irate nephew George that “Nobody has a good name in a bad mouth. Nobody has a good name in a silly mouth either.” 

  • 3 steps to handling a request for a raise


    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Pay raises are an inevitable aspect of managing employees but that doesn’t make handling them any less complicated. Whether it’s determining which employees to give raises to or considering how much of a raise is ideal, the process typically makes the top of the list of dreaded tasks for HR professionals and managers. To make matters even more difficult, employees don’t always wait until their performance review to request a raise. Even though it may not be the best time for you, when employees request a raise you are faced with decisions that you may not have considered before that moment.

  • 6 lessons I’ve learned about the workplace from watching Chopped


    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    I’m a big fan of the television show Chopped, which airs on the Food Network.

    On the show, four chefs battle for a $10,000 prize. To win, they’ll need to survive three rounds of competition, during which they’ll prepare an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. There are serious time constraints (20 minutes for the appetizer and 30 minutes each for the entrée and dessert), and the chefs must use and “transform” all the ingredients in the basket received at the start of the round. When the dessert round ends, the judges review all the dishes of the final two remaining chefs and choose a winner.

  • Earned time off incentives - are they effective?


    One of the many ways that employers incentivize the workplace is by offering earned time off for hours worked. This can be an effective way to motivate and reward employees at the same time as creating access to greater work life balance. For most, it’s a win-win situation. Employers have access to a reliable workforce, while employees have the chance to earn much needed time off. It seems like a good compromise to the growing issue of faltering attendance and performance in many organizations.

  • Should you give that employee a raise?


    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    By now, everyone knows that real wages for the majority of American workers have stagnated. Put another way, wages have not kept up with inflation.

    Between cutbacks and layoffs and the reduction of the annual raise to somewhere between 0% and 3%, lots of folks just aren’t making as much as they’d like, and some of those folks will come to you, employer, requesting a raise on the off season. Should you grant that request? Here’s how you decide.

  • Employee stack ranking - motivation or manipulation?


    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    One of the most important responsibilities of an HR manager is to find the right way to motivate employees. On the surface this can seem like a simple task, one that can be checked off your list with a few compliments, maybe a bonus or even a promotion. But when you get in the trenches with these employees you wish to motivate, you’ll see that the day-to-day motivators for employees vary greatly from person to person, making it tricky to determine what type of system will best fit the employees who are a part of it and the organization as a whole.

  • Exempt vs. nonexempt: What’s the big deal?


    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    In a 2013 study, NERA Economic Consulting reported that U.S. employers paid $467 million in settlements as a result of wage and hour violations. NERA classified the violations in the following categories:

  • Top 5 compensation lessons from 2013


    Mykkah Herner, M.A., CCP, PayScale

    Last year was a year of ups, downs, and shutdowns. The Affordable Care Act is still looming over us, the impact unclear. Some but not all companies are pulling free of the recession. Employees have continued moving around more and more since the official end of the recession. Yet amidst the turmoil, there are some key lessons. Essentially, in an uncertain time, compensation plans and strategies need to be flexible. In this article I’ll talk about the top 5 ways we can infuse flexibility into our programs.

  • 3 Performance review options for startups


    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Managing a startup company is a tough job whether you are just breaking ground or growing quickly. There’s so much on-the-job training and such a learning curve, not to mention that you never know what each day will bring. Wearing many hats, you have to quickly become an expert and grow professionally in order to keep up. Many startups have the advantage of having leaders who have years of professional experience so not every problem that comes up is foreign but at the same time, you also have the freedom to leave everything you know behind and establish new solutions and traditions. That’s a major reason why the topic of performance reviews in startups elicits such a varied response.

  • PayScale Index Q4 2013: the oil and gas industry is hot!


    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    The PayScale Index for Q4 2013 shows an 18 percent rise in Oil and Gas sector wages since 2006; small company wage growth has stalled; annual wage growth of 0.7 percent is predicted for Q1 2014.

    Our first forecast was very close

    Last quarter, we predicted U.S. national wages would grow 0.1 percent between Q3 and Q4 2013. The actual quarterly growth calculated for this Q4 2013 release is 0.2 percent.  We were so close! For Q1 2014, we forecast quarterly wage growth to be a slight uptick of 0.2 percent, resulting in annual wage growth of 0.7 percent.

  • The performance review: why consistency matters


    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Conducting performance reviews is a tricky part of any manager’s job. They tend to hold quite a bit of weight when it comes to judging an employee’s contribution to the organization but are also very subjective, sometimes leaving employees with unfair assessments or unclear expectations. To make things worse, managers tend to let their own biases affect performance reviews so employees may not trust the performance review at all. While these issues are all unfortunate aspects of performance reviews, they happen every day in both large and small businesses.

  • How to handle a problem employee


    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    Most of us have likely felt the effects of a problem employee. We may see the impact from a management position, or feel the impact as a member of a team where someone is not pulling their weight. While these types of occurrences are unfortunate, they do happen. As a leader, you hope to assist employees in development rather than have them drag the rest of your team down. Of course there are steps you can take to handle a problem employee, but sometimes, this process can seem overwhelming.

  • Payroll oops! FLSA mistakes managers make when calculating overtime


    As if calculating overtime pay wasn’t challenging enough at times, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can throw even a seasoned payroll manager into a tailspin at 300 miles per hour. Why do FLSA mistakes cause so many issues for payroll overtime processing? In this article, we will look at some ways you can avoid the common issues with managing overtime payments in regards to FLSA guidelines.

  • 3 tips to handle compensation in the startup environment


    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Startup businesses are some of the most exciting ventures to be involved in but they bring with them unique challenges and many, many lessons to learn along the way. Some of the toughest things to handle are staffing your company, managing personnel and handling compensation. Given the fact that a single person or even the business owner typically handles compensation, there can be some hurdles to jump over as you navigate your way through managing compensation in a startup.

  • Avoid these common performance review mistakes



    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Is there anyone … anyone at all… who either likes writing performance reviews or receiving performance reviews?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Still, there’s no reason to compound the pain by introducing common errors into the review that render it much less effective than it would have been otherwise—that’s pain with no gain. (My apologies for the cliché.)


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