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  • Do’s and don’ts for managing the insubordinate employee

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Insubordinate employees are a poison in the workplace.

    That was bold, and I’m sorry, but it’s true.

    Employees with putrid attitudes who won’t and don’t follow instructions are a real drag on workplace productivity, because even if they’re kind of, sort of doing their jobs, the effort required to manage them relative to their output is a sorry bargain.

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  • Q and A from PayScale webinar series: Compensation Budgeting

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    Mykkah Herner, M.A., CCP, PayScale

    PayScale recently hosted a three-part webinar series all about Compensation Budgeting, presented by yours truly. Part one was all about managing pay inequities. Part two taught attendees all about raises, and part three showed how to pull it all together using PayScale Insight. If you missed any of the webinars, you are welcome to view the recordings. Since this is a topic of interest to so many of our Compensation Today readers, we're posting my answers to many of the questions received after the webinars here. Enjoy!

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  • Holiday parties vs. employee bonuses - what do employees most look forward to?

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    Get out your party hats – it’s the annual holiday season! This time of year signals a time when employees eagerly look forward to what the company has in store for them. Like little kids in a candy shop, they wonder if they will they get another turkey from the boss again this year, or does he have something else up his sleeve – like a bonus check?

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  • Paving the way to a healthy workplace with corporate wellness incentives

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    As Obamacare officially launched across America this year, new requirements forced employers to look for ways to boost their compensation and benefit programs without raising healthcare premium costs. The new law permits employers to use as much as 30 percent of each worker’s health care premium on wellness incentive programs (up from 20 percent last year). The challenge to find cost-effective ways to maintain the well-being and productivity of workers is on.

    Why Wellness Incentives Matter

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  • Are your employees underemployed?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Despite the recession being officially over, the media are still reporting about the great number of underemployed Americans—Americans who either don’t have enough paid work or whose jobs require significantly less qualification than they possess. CNBC recently reported that 17.2% of the workforce is underemployed.

    Generally we think of the underemployed as those in fairly menial positions doing repetitive, low-skilled work for low pay, and that’s one face of underemployment, for sure.

    However, even a highly skilled, well-paid employee can be underemployed if his abilities and knowledge aren’t consistently put to good use.

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  • Hiring employees on a $0 budget

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    One of the hardest things to overcome when you’re attempting to hire employees is doing so with no budget. For many small and non-profit organizations, it’s a reality that there’s no money to dedicate to recruiting. Whether it’s because there just isn’t enough to go around or because you’re only responsible for hiring for a few positions and money is allocated to larger scale hiring, many of us are faced with doing the impossible: hiring employees on a $0 budget.

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  • Planning your 2014 raises - tips for improving your pay for performance strategy

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    For Human Resource departments, the end of the year signals the time for performance reviews and salary planning for the New Year. This can be a challenging time, when the HR team and payroll managers must coordinate their efforts to produce a compensation strategy that helps make the company profitable in the coming quarter.

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  • How to properly forecast your HR budget

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Forecasting is a skill that is highly marketable because of the value it brings to an organization. There is no area where this rings more true than in budgeting, where it is both tricky and vital to forecast accurately. It requires a solid understanding of the past, a grasp on the current position of the organization and an ability to utilize those factors to peer into what the future will hold.

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  • Celebrate the smart way: Office party dos and don’ts

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Well waddaya know? ‘Tis the season again. Pretty soon boxes of cookies, candies, and cheese assortments will be coming through the door—gifts from your vendors and also a reminder to everyone that party time is near!

    You’ve got a workplace celebration planned, of course, because it’s a tradition. When it comes to party particulars, however, here are a few other traditions you might want to get rid of this year.

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  • The costly truth of employee unplanned absences and PTO abuse

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    At some point in any organization, the excesses of employee tardiness, absenteeism and paid time off can become dangerously costly. From a human capital management standpoint, effort should be made to have a standard PTO policy in place to avoid unplanned absences. When this policy is communicated to employees and enforced by the management team, it can effectively save the company HR budget for other worthwhile programs. Yet, very often it can seem like an uphill battle when a handful of employees begin to abuse the system or seasonal illnesses start to reduce the team one-by-one.

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  • Are exit interviews a complete waste of time?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    As an HR professional, I’m torn on the benefits of exit interviews.

    Why?

    Because data are useful if you plan on doing something with them, but in my experience lots of organizations do absolutely nothing with the information received during exit interviews. The completed forms go in a file somewhere, only seeing the light of day when the latest questionnaire from Employee XYZ is shoved in with the rest.

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  • 5 tips for justifying budget increases

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Money is a touchy subject, even in business. And asking for more of it, well that can feel like you may as well be walking a tight rope across Niagara Falls. Sometimes, though, it’s a necessary part of developing your department and can even be a sign of success that you need more in order to continue to grow. But before you request more money for your department, it’s a smart move to sit down and analyze whether or not your department actually needs more money.

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  • Why waiting for that problem employee to quit is a bad idea

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    I’d taken on a part-time job as an office assistant at my son’s daycare, intending to use the extra money as a down-payment for a home. I was thrilled to have this second job, not just for the money but also because the owner and I (let’s call her Sandy) got along really well. She was a straight shooter with a good heart (my kind of person), and we often ended the day with a chat about the goings on at the center. This was before I entered the human resources profession and way before I became a manager.

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  • 5 Factors that Determine a "Fair" Raise in 2014

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    As 2014 quickly approaches, your employees likely have dreams of holiday breaks, the occasional (but elusive) inclement weather day and news of a pay raise. Depending on your organization, you may offer annual raises in January or employees may receive them at their annual performance reviews. Either way, a new year is a sign of new things to come and raises will likely be at the forefront of your employees’ minds.

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  • Communicating total compensation to employees in a meaningful way

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    Each year, one way that organizations communicate to employees how much they value them is through total compensation statements. Most often distributed after the chaos of the annual open enrollment process, total compensation statements provide a tangible, written document for the benefit of employees. From health, life and supplemental benefits to performance bonuses and all the other unique perks of working for a company, the total compensation statement supplies employees with a full overview of the benefits that a company provides – in the hopes that this will be meaningful to them as they head into the next year of employment.

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  • Help your Millenials save for retirement

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Saving for retirement is something every working person who has no intention of remaining employed forever should do.

    Members of Gen X and of course, the Boomers, understand this very well. Gen X, in particular, is at the right age to be witnessing first-hand whether their parents have retired well, poorly, or are unable to retire at all, despite having seen the traditional age of retirement come and go.

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  • Four keys for preparing for an annual performance review

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    There are a lot of things in life that you can successfully do last minute. For instance, holiday shopping can be put off until December 23 and you’ll probably still get the Lego kit that was at the top of your kids’ wish list; laundry can be saved until midnight on Sunday and it will still be just as clean as if it was done Saturday morning; sales reports can be pulled the very hour they’re due and it makes no difference. However, annual performance reviews are not one of those things.

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  • The dangers of paying employees more than they’re worth

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to pay employees too much money.

    Even in this economy, it happens. It happens when employee performance consistently fails to meet expectation yet raises continue; when employees stay in entry- to mid-level positions too long; when employees reach their level of incompetence (i.e., The Peter Principle) yet aren’t developed or moved along; and when employees are paid too much to begin with, as a result of a weak or nonexistent wage administration policy.

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  • Adding value to your compensation with supplemental benefit plans

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    Management of employee benefit programs has taken on new meaning since the inception of the Affordable Healthcare Act. This is particularly true when it comes to engaging and retaining the workforce through fair compensation, which includes the perceived value of company health benefits. Organizational benefit administrators who are already struggling to provide adequate wellness coverage for employees may feel as if they are losing the battle one employee at a time.

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  • Tips for writing a salary increase letter

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    There comes a time in every manager’s life when he or she identifies an employee who demonstrates outstanding performance that warrants a salary increase. This can come during a formal performance review or as a result of an employee promotion -- perhaps when the company goes through some shifting that necessitates additional employee responsibilities or a new job title. Since written letters are still the preferred way to document and manage a salary increase, a manager needs to understand how to write a salary increase letter that explains things according to employment legalities.

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