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  • What if your co-workers knew how much you make?

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    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    We’ve talked a bit about social transparency – the dawn of a new social media age in which previous ideas of privacy seem to be rapidly changing. While many of us seem more than happy to share just about every aspect of our lives online, one component still remains taboo for many – salary.

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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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  • Making the performance review relevant to employees

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Performance reviews are typically a source of dread and stress for employees. They tend to be very critical, one sided and vague, leaving very little of value for employees to take away from the evaluation. However, they are a necessary part of growth and development, both for your company and the employee as an individual. Performance reviews establish expectations, review job performance and provide direction, all of which contribute to the success of your company. However, there is another side to performance reviews that often gets overlooked: what the performance review does for the employee.

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  • Millennials and Gen X: more alike than different

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Everyone loves to rag on Millennials (born between 1977 and 1990), and we’ve all heard the complaints. Millennials are lazy. Millennials are spoiled and entitled. Millennials have no ambition. And so on.

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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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  • 7 tips for hiring and retention of top performing employees

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    It’s a fact. Each year businesses face too late what happens when employee morale drops and the best begin to leave for greener pastures. This most often occurs when the leadership team forgets that there is a fine line between recruiting and retaining high performance candidates. It’s a sad state of affairs that is completely preventable, with the right efforts and planning.

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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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  • Five Ways to Engage and Motivate Millennials at Work

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    Move over corporate America – here come the Millennials! Human Resource managers everywhere are baffled by the onset of a workforce that’s a lot harder to keep motivated and engaged at the office. It should come as no surprise that Millenials, also sometimes referred to as Generation Y, are a challenging group of employees to keep inspired at work. While their predecessors, the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers start to move out of entry level roles and into their more mature career phases, Millenials are moving in and it’s creating quite a problem for old-school HR departments.

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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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  • Do pay for performance plans boost employee productivity?

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    The nature of pay for performance has come under fire many times, yet this compensation strategy is based on sound business principles that have been around for ages. Traditional theories of positive reinforcement have been shown to have a direct link to performance in the workplace. It is common sense -- when employees are provided with a reward system that is tied to their job performance, this tends to motivate and inspire them. In a nutshell, when employees clearly understand what they stand to gain financially from good performance, they have a more focused effort on meeting these performance goals in order to be compensated.

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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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  • 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.

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  • Pay for performance fail? Microsoft finally dumps forced stack rank

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    Tim Low, PayScale

    Much has been written, and much more will be, about Microsoft’s decision this week to eliminate their previous performance review process. Up until now, Microsoft relied on a forced stack rank where managers were required to grade employees on a bell curve, and thus also requiring ranking some employees at the low end of the curve.

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