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The Corporate Chasm: Does Your Employer Think Like You?

It's pretty neat working at a company like PayScale that has smart, dedicated, and passionate people working both to empower employees with knowledge and to support organizations to be better at engaging their workforce. It means that, fairly often, I see both sides of the formula, if not actually an equation. I see a whole bunch of data from employees regarding how they feel about pay, and at the same time I see data from employers about their comp plans. In The 2016 Compensation Best Practices Report, Escape to Comptopia, there is an entire section dedicated to comparing notes from both sides of the divide.

It’s pretty neat working at a company like PayScale that has smart, dedicated, and passionate people working both to empower employees with knowledge and to support organizations to be better at engaging their workforce. It means that, fairly often, I see both sides of the formula, if not actually an equation. I see a whole bunch of data from employees regarding how they feel about pay, and at the same time I see data from employers about their comp plans. In The 2016 Compensation Best Practices Report, Escape to Comptopia, there is an entire section dedicated to comparing notes from both sides of the divide.

This graphic illustrates the divide between employee and employer perceptions

Belief that employees are paid fairly

The facts:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

  • 73% of employers believe employees at their company are paid fairly
  • 36% of employees believe they are paid fairly

Why should it matter to you?

Fairness is a big driver in human behavior. Some studies have even gone so far as to demonstrate that kids aged 8-10 would rather throw a resource away than distribute it unequally across two recipients. If you’ve ever seen your coworker get a bigger raise than you, without seeming to deserve it, you get the notion on a gut level.

What can you do about it?

Do your homework. Figure out how much you’re worth. Get to know your organization’s goals. Then meet with your manager and politely explain to them how giving you more money would help you accomplish your organization’s goals better.

Belief that employees are valued at work

The facts:

  • 78% of employers believe that employees are valued at work
  • 45% of employees feel valued at work

Why should it matter to you?

Delivering value is very rewarding. Doing work that is personally rewarding is something that’s typically desirable. While for some a challenging job done well is reward enough, for most of us, feeling appreciated and valued for our work is much more compelling, and tends to make us want to stay in our job for longer. The Compensation Best Practices Report for 2016 reveals a continued anxiety among our employers to keep us: 57% are still highly anxious about retaining employees.

What can you do about it?

It’s not necessarily that our managers don’t want to demonstrate that they value our contributions; often they miss the mark in not quite knowing how or what works. So, think about what would really motivate you in your work. What would make you feel valued? Ask your manager when would be a good time to talk about it and consider sharing the magic sauce that would get you to exert that extra effort for the good of the company.

Report that their company is transparent about pay

The facts:

  • 40% of companies report that their company is transparent about pay
  • 21% of employees believe their company is transparent about pay

Why should it matter to you?

I think of policies as rules of the game. Pay policies, practices, and information give you the rules about how you can expect to be paid. Once you know the rules, you can play the game and play it well. Or, if you decide you don’t like those rules, you can decide to go somewhere else to play by their rules. Knowing how your organization intends to pay, what it wants to reward (performance, skills, experience, etc), and when and how increases are determined puts valuable information in your hands.

What can you do about it?

Review the information that already exists. Most HR people spend a ton of time getting employee handbooks put together. Your organization may already have the pay philosophy, policies, and other key information available, so respect your HR peeps by taking a look. If you don’t find anything there, consider asking your manager or your HR person if your company has or is considering developing a compensation philosophy or strategy.

The good news is that there are some things that employers and employees alike agree on. Both groups understand the value of the relationship with the direct supervisor or manager, and both groups appreciate the value of strong learning and development programs. Perhaps those are related notions that bode well for the future of the employer-employee relationship.

Mykkah Herner
Read more from Mykkah

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