• HR Questions for Compensation Experts

    HR Questions About CompensationQ & A with Compensation Experts: Pay Ranges, Pay-for-Performance and Merit Increases

    What’s going on these days with compensation and what questions do HR managers have about it all?

    The following is a collection of questions asked during PayScale webinars over the last several months. The topics covered include: having difficult conversations with employees about pay, finding ways to reward a top performer whose pay is already near the top of their range and how to support managers in having conversations about pay with employees. Answers are provided by PayScale director of customer service and education, Stacey Carroll, MBA, SPHR, and also Betty Richardson, CCP.

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  • Compensation Decisions in 2009 and 2010

    Compesation Review 2009Compensation Decisions: What PayScale Observed in 2009 and What's Predicted for 2010


    As part of our look back at 2009 and look ahead to 2010, we asked PayScale’s director of customer service and education, Stacey Carroll, MBA, SPHR, to describe how the year, and it’s tough economic turn, seemed to affect the HR leaders, small business owners, recruiters and other PayScale clients she works with everyday.

    Ms. Carroll points out three major events that she thinks were unique to 2009 and gives her prediction for what will be happening in 2010 for people who perform compensation planning.

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  • Compensation Questions - Analytics

    Compensation Questions Compensation Questions – Applying the Results of Compensation Analytics

    The following is a transcript of the question and answer session that followed PayScale’s webinar, How to Perform Compensation Analytics. The topics covered in these compensation questions include red-circling high performers, benefits and job evaluation tools. Answers are provided by PayScale’s director of customer service and education, Stacey Carroll, M.B.A., SPHR.

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  • Common Issues in Internal Pay Equity

    Common Issues in Internal Pay Equity Roadblocks to Internal Pay Equity: Two Key Issues

    Most of you in HR have seen some common problems with internal pay equity. Perhaps the most common is pay compression, often resulting when the pay market requires you to hire someone new at a higher rate than your longtime employees in the same job are getting paid.

    Much has been written about the most common issues in internal pay equity. So, in this blog post, I’m going to take on some of the most common issues I’ve dealt with that don’t receive attention. The hope is that the information will help you tackle these common issues in internal pay equity.

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  • How to Conduct a Compensation Analysis

    How to Conduct Compensation Analysis How to Conduct a Compensation Analysis and Move Salary Ranges

    In a previous post we reviewed why performing compensation analytics can provide value to an organization. In this next post on compensation analytics, we’ll look at how it is used to review salary ranges.

    At many companies, the assumed answer to the question, “Do our compensation ranges need adjustment?” is usually, “Yes.” Compensation ranges are often adjusted every year to match industry trends and economic ups and downs.  But, is it really smart planning to assume that you need to adjust your salary ranges every year – no matter what? I suggest that a key to long-term success is stepping back and having a conversation as a company about, “Do we need to move our salary ranges this year?”

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  • The Impact of Compensation Methods and Decisions

    The Impact of Compensation Methods on Employees and Organizations The Impact of Compensation Methods on Employees and Organizations

    It’s time to think about the many, sometimes subtle, choices behind determining appropriate compensation of your employees. The success of your organization can ride on these compensation decisions.

    From the mom and pop shop that needs workers to restock shelves to large corporations whose employees manage million dollar funds, your organization’s compensation decisions can either boost your bottom line or leave it in the gutter. The key is to make realistic, budget-friendly compensation decisions at each step.

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  • Compensation Budgeting: Determining Merit Pay Increases

    Determining Merit Pay Increases Perform Efficient Compensation Planning for Merit Pay Increases


    We are in the post-season for HR. It’s open enrollment time, flu season and, for a lot of organizations it’s also the time of the year for performance management and merit pay increases. Basically, there’s so much to do and so little time to do it. Welcome to human resources. Did anyone tell you it was going to be like this? Probably not.

    They also probably forgot to tell you that you would do this event-based activity on top of all of your normal day-to-day hr tasks including employee relations issues and recruiting. But, you are a superstar who can manage an employee relations issue in between phone calls with your benefits broker while drafting a revised sick leave policy to account for the swine flu epidemic. 

    Now, if you could just get some help from your managers. But, here’s the toughest part – your managers need help from you.

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  • Employee Compensation Policy

    Writing an Employee Comp Policy Writing an Employee Compensation Policy


    For legal protection and good business sense, every company should have an up-to-date employee compensation policy. What is the status on yours?

    An organization should not wait for dire circumstances, such as a pay inequity lawsuit, to write down or update their employee compensation policy. All organization leaders should create a written policy document or refresh their existing one for legal protection, and as a guideline or framework for the company’s compensation program.

    Below is a list of helpful tips and tools for creating an effective employee compensation policy that is specific to your organization.
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  • The HR Role in 401(k) Participation

    401k Participation How to Increase Participation in a 401(k) Plan Among a Young Workforce

    Here’s a known issue, at least in my experience: Most 27-year-olds can’t be bothered to save in their 401(k), unless you bribe them with a 401(k) match. “No match, don’t bother me.”

    Rather than give up on 401(k) participation among 27-year-olds, let’s think through what would make it “inevitable” that they save. The first step to increasing participation in a 401(k) plan involves analyzing this as a sales problem.

    Sales Obstacle #1: We insist on selling 401(k)’s to 27-year-olds as a retirement vehicle.

    If they retire at 70, they’ll retire in the year …. 2052. For most 27-year-olds I’ve worked with, “2052” is just not relevant – yet. 2052 as the focus? No sale.

    Solution: Sell the 401(k) plan as a savings vehicle to 27-year-olds in a way that is compelling to them.

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  • What Is a Workforce Planning System?

    What is a Workforce Planning System? Workforce Planning: You Don't Have to Be a Planner

    I am a planner by nature and the choice I made of what business to go into - human resources and policy analysis - reflects this preference. The title of this blog is meant to appeal to the many business owners and managers who hear “workforce planning” and, unlike me, would rather not plan but just jump right in and “get ‘er done.” I’d like you to realize that you’re already doing workforce planning everyday and give you some tips on how to do it better.

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  • Developing a Compensation Philosophy

    Developing a Compensation Philosophy Why You Need a Compensation Philosophy

    By Staff Writer

    In a recent PayScale webinar, Stacey Carroll, MBA, SPHR, touched on a key HR process that can get skipped when life at the office becomes too hectic. Once you’re done sorting out a new hire’s training schedule or making sure current employees understand their medical benefits, it’s important to set aside time to review or create your company’s compensation philosophy. This philosophy will then inform your compensation policy. And, that policy acts as the foundation of smart compensation program.

    How do you get started in this HR process and what is the difference between a compensation philosophy and a compensation policy?

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  • Creating a Compensation Policy and Philosophy

    Webinar Q&A Session – The Essentials of Developing a Total Compensation Policy

    The following is a transcript of the question and answer session that followed PayScale’s webinar, Developing Your Compensation Philosophy & Policy. The topics covered in these questions include vacation time, salary comparisons and sharing salary range information with employees. The main focus is developing a compensation plan philosophy and creating a compensation policy that’s competitive. Answers are provided by PayScale director of customer service and education, Stacey Carroll, MBA, SPHR.

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  • Establishing Competitive Pay Rates

    Competitive Pay Rates How to Target Pay Rates for a Job Position

    Here at PayScale, the HR professionals that we work with often ask us, “What method should we use for targeting pay rates for a position?” While the compensation planning tool that we offer our customers gives them plenty of numbers and calculations, it does not provide a pay strategy for a particular job position. That's up to you to develop based on company goals.

    So, how do you narrow down all of your salary data strategically?

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  • Hiring a Compensation Consultant

    Compensation Consultant When Should You Hire a Compensation Consultant?

    Keeping great employees around can make or break a company’s success. Would you like some personalized help with your compensation planning to attract and retain top talent?

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  • Determining Supervisor Pay Grades

    Determining Supervisor Pay Grades What Is Fair? Supervisor vs. Employee Pay Grades


    In my time both in the military and civilian workforces, I’ve always been curious to know more about what weighs on my supervisors from day to day. Such things as scope of supervisor responsibilities, everyday demands, and supervisory skills required for them do their job. Sometimes I’ve wanted to know this information so that I can better support my supervisors. Other times, I’ve been in the mind frame that, “Heck, I could do their job.” And it comes down to, “Well, how much money do they make?”
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  • Non-Monetary Compensation

    Non-Monetary Compensation Non-Monetary Compensation and the Essentials of Developing a Total Compensation Policy

    They say cash is king, but in today’s economy employees know that there is more to the story than cash alone. Today’s job seekers and your employees have become more savvy about non-monetary compensation. And there is a good reason they are paying attention to it.

    Good health insurance and a generous retirement plan benefits are becoming more and more elusive. Employers who offer these non-cash rewards stand out among their peers.
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  • Employee Rewards

    Employee Rewards The Benefits of a Rewards and Compensation Strategy


    There are not many second chances in running an organization. A misstep can cost thousands of dollars to correct. For instance, not setting up your compensation strategy correctly can mean you’re not able to attract the talent you need. By contrast, your overall rewards and compensation strategy is one area where you get a second chance.
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  • Creating an Effective Compensation Plan for Sales Representatives

    Compensation Plan for Sales Representatives Creating an Effective Compensation Plan for Sales Representatives

    An effective sales compensation plan for sales representatives is critical to the success of any go-to-market strategy. Yet the design and management of a compensation plan for sales teams is rarely easy. After all, determining how people are paid is a sensitive matter which can become increasingly complicated when reconciling the disparate needs of key stakeholders in sales, finance, HR, and marketing.

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  • Compensation Strategies for a Bad Economy

    Compensation Strategies for a Bad Economy Pay for Performance: Compensation Strategies for Recessionary Times

    By Staff Writer

    Many companies will have modified their compensation and benefit plans during this economic recession in an effort to save money. They need to minimize costs now and, hopefully, get set to recover from the recession faster than their competitors.

    You may have already reduced merit increases or even enacted a pay freeze. What are the trade-offs of cutting or freezing pay? Would an across the board pay-cut make sense or would it hurt certain key performers too much?

    Let’s take a look at how the economic crisis has impacted compensation, and how you can maintain a pay-for-performance culture in recessionary times.

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  • HR Cost Cutting with a Red Circle Policy

    Redcircle Red Circle Policy: A Penny-Wise Choice for Your Company

    After you create your employee compensation policy, you may discover employees within your organization who, rather than being underpaid compared to the market, are actually overpaid. Salary faux pas like this can cost your company plenty of money.  Among the many company cost-cutting ideas out there, implementing a red circle policy is likely your best option in this case.

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