• 4 ways to reduce your workers’ compensation costs

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Workers’ compensation costs seem to be growing year by year, and depending on which state you’re in, your costs could continue to rise. Recent legislation and modifications to workers’ compensation laws have affected many areas of the country, making workers’ comp costs a major concern for many employers.

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  • Equity Compensation – Are Stock Appreciation Rights the Right Tool for You?

    Dan Walter, Performensation

    Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) are a commonly misunderstood component of the equity compensation mix. This is probably because each of three distinct variations has been promoted as “the answer” at different times over the past two or three decades. To participants, SARs offer much of the same compensatory rewards and risks as stock options. To companies, these instruments offer both accounting and tax considerations that generally make them a second choice to stock options. Many SAR programs deliver only cash (we will get to that in a minute) so some refer to these as synthetic equity compensation.

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  • Snackable Content: How Much Does Apple Pay Employees, You Wonder?

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    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    According to reports of Apple’s recent economic impact study, Apple is paying its corporate employees an average salary of $124,053.  If your business is in Cupertino, CA, where Apple’s new spaceship-styled headquarters is landing, it will be important to pay close attention to the market rates for your positions.  Otherwise, you may find people leaving your company to board the spaceship. 

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  • How Much Vacation Time Do We Really Need to Provide?

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    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    According to a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the United States is the only advanced economy in the world where all workers are not guaranteed paid vacation. While some workers enjoy paid time off provided by employers, this is not an option for all, especially those that may have struggled with unemployment or partial employment during the recession. The report notes that the gap between the US and the rest of the world increases when paid holidays are added to the equation. Currently, there are no laws requiring paid holiday leave in the US, while many other countries offer 5 or more days per year. Austria and Portugal top the list, offering employees the most paid holiday leave.

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  • CFO Corner: Microsoft's New CFO, Amy Hood, Makes How Much?!

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    Tim Low, PayScale

    Microsoft announced the appointment of their new CFO, Amy Hood, as Seattle Tech Blog Geekwire noted recently. Referring to recent regulatory filings, they also gave a snapshot of her compensation.

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  • What Makes a Great Hiring Manager (part three of three)

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    We’re at the end of our three-part series, "What Makes a Great Hiring Manager," and I’ve saved my favorites for last. I’ve talked about what foundational qualities a hiring manager should have and also what specific skills great hiring managers possess, but in part three I’m going to share more of the interpersonal side of great hiring managers.

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  • 4 Steps for Getting Execs to Care About Compensation

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    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    Did you get a chance to attend this informative webinar, 4 Steps for Getting Execs to Care About Compensation, by PayScale's Senior Compensation Consultant Mykkah Herner? This was a well-attended webinar which is really no surprise given that so many of PayScale's customers tell us that having the confidence to talk about compensation with executives is one of their top concerns. In case you missed it, here are the slides and some of the highlights.

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  • What Makes a Great Hiring Manager (part two of three)

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    In part one of this thee part series, "What Makes a Great Hiring Manager,"  I talked about all the different hats that a hiring manager needs to wear. Interviewer, recruiter, networker, relationship builder – the list goes on and on. What I didn’t mention in part one of What Makes a Good Hiring Manager is that the difficult part about wearing all these hats is that to be truly successfully, you need to wear them all exceptionally well.

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  • Executive Compensation Calendar – When Should You Work on Specific Projects?

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    Dan Walter, Performensation

    It’s that time of the year again. Proxy season is wrapping up. You are probably working at one of the 98% of public companies who passed their Say on Pay vote with flying colors. Or, you work at one of the 100% of private companies that don’t worry about it. Polls and surveys usually show June and July as the slowest months of any compensation professional’s year. This is especially true for those who focus on executive compensation.

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  • What Makes a Great Hiring Manager (Part one of three)

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    There are some moments that just stick with you. For me, one of those moments was when colleagues from other departments at the company I was working were discussing who had the worst job in the company. The overwhelming majority agreed that I took that title. They talked about how difficult it must be to anticipate staffing needs and constantly keep a pipeline of potential employees at the ready.

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  • Measuring Compensation Against the Market

    employee retentionJessica Miller-Merrill, blogging4jobs

    Compensation is the single-largest expense for the majority of companies. It helps your company recruit and retain talented personnel and therefore can be seen as an investment in your company’s success. As with any investment, a plan for how much you’re going to invest, along with when and where you’re going to invest, is essential. As a financial planner once told me, If you’re thinking about your investments individually and not as part of a bigger plan, you may as well be throwing darts at a wall of balloons and hoping you hit one that holds the jackpot.

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  • Equity Compensation – Performance Accelerated Units (PAUs), Old School Performance Equity


    Dan Walter, Performensation

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, performance equity instruments still get lumped together like a bowl of mixed nuts. Of these instruments, Performance Accelerated Units (PAUs) are one of the easiest for participants to understand. Essentially, they are time-based RSUs with vesting that accelerates if certain goals or triggers are met. It is important to note that PAUs are not strictly pay for performance because value is built in from the start and vesting will occur based on service if the goals are not met. This makes them nearly the polar opposite of the Performance Equity Units (PEUs) were covered in my last equity compensation post.

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  • What I learned at the 2013 Total Rewards Conference


    World at Work RecapMykkah Herner, MA, CCP, Senior Compensation Consultant at PayScale

    I had the good fortune to attend the World at Work Total Rewards Conference last week. In addition to the great group of exhibitors, there to support compensation and HR professionals, there were also some stellar presentations that got me thinking. Here are the top four things that piqued my interest at the conference.

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  • High Five Fridays—An Innovative Morale Booster

    by Laleh Hassibi, PayScale


    Companies are often looking for new, interesting and effective ways to retain employees. Getting employees’ pay right, and rewarding them for performance go a long way towards employee satisfaction, but there are also many additional incentives companies can offer to keep their people smiling.

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  • Market Differential Analytics Helps PayScale Customers Compete in Multiple Markets

    PayScale Market Differential Analysis

    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    Price the same job in any market, not just major metros 
    Market Differential Analytics, a new application developed by PayScale, can help your company more accurately determine compensation for your employees located in various cities and geographies. PayScale's innovative approach goes beyond the common methods of consulting firms which are often limited by geographic differential data in only large metropolitan markets. By applying sophisticated analytics to its massive database of 36 million compensation profiles, PayScale allows users to quickly determine competitive salary matches in any employment market: small, medium, or large. In addition, Market Differential Analytics allows companies to compare salaries by many other criteria — not just geography — to provide the most accurate results for a specific industry or size of company, for example.

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  • How Does Your Compensation Model Fit into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

    Maslow heirarchy of needs

    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    It can be easy to get caught up in the benefits rat race. You know, keeping up with the Joneses, or in this case, the Joneses, Inc. You probably spend a fair amount of time thinking about what’s in your benefits package, how it measures up against your competitor’s, how to market it to potential employees and more.

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  • How to Budget Compensation in a Volatile Economy

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    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    At the end of 2012, most businesses were very optimistic about job and economic growth in 2013. The trends from Q4 and early Q1 supported the fact that we were in fact rebounding quite nicely from the recent economic recession. There was a small worry that the impending doom of sequestration would occur, but most business leaders skipped optimistically into 2013 with confidence that Congress would come to an agreement, thereby avoiding indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts.

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  • Real Pay, Realizable Pay, Pay Ratios and Reality


    Dan Walter, Performensation

    Pay ratios are the most commonly used tool when discussing the unfairness between executive pay and that of the rank and file. Recently, on the PayScale Career News blog which caters to individuals managing their careers, there was an article showing CEO-worker pay ratios at several well-known companies. Ratios like 1,034:1 (Walmart) and 0:1 (Google) are attention grabbers. The question is whether this tells all, or even a significant portion, of the real story.

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  • Support Your Managers in Making Better Compensation Decisions

    Sean Conrad, Halogen Software

    What’s wrong with this scenario?

    “Hey, everyone, here’s a pay increase just for showing up at work. Oh, and another thing — everyone gets the same amount.”

    Admittedly, it’s not all that fair but it sure is easy. Unfortunately that easy route can also lead to bad feelings, diminished morale and lower productivity in the workplace. i.e., why should I go the extra mile if she does the minimum and received the same pay raise as me?  The downstream effects can be even worse, including loss of your top performers as they seek greener (and fairer) pastures elsewhere.

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  • 3 Considerations for Compensating Interns

    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    While each of us has probably interned for free at one point in our lives, we also all know how much it sucks. As an intern, you’re not only the low man on the totem pole, you’re probably also working your butt off trying to impress your boss and not getting paid to do it. So what gives with the unpaid internship gig?

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