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March 23, 2015

The Gift of Employee Recognition

Filed under: Performance Management,Total Rewards8:32 am

Employee of the Month

by Megan Mohr, CCP, Compensation Consultant

Know anyone that’s thinking of changing jobs in the not too distant future? You’re not alone. A survey from CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive found that 21% of fulltime employees were looking to change jobs last year. That’s up 4% from the year before – and the highest percentage since 2008.

A major reason employees want to flee is lack of recognition in their workplace. Another study, this one from Bersin & Associates, discovered that employers who had recognition programs to promote employee engagement had lower turnover.

When you consider that the average job tenure for U.S. employees is 4.6 years and only 3.2 years for millennial employees, it may be time for your company to rethink its recognition program. And if your organization doesn’t have one, now’s the time to put one in place. Here are four things to consider when rewarding employees:

  1. Rewards Aren’t Always Monetary
    Even though actions speak louder than words, sometimes employees need both in the form of positive feedback. Whether it’s verbal or written, formal or informal, a few kind words can go a long way to making your employee feel valued. And an employee that feels valued will stick around longer and produce better results.
  2. Start Early
    Don’t wait for an employee’s five-year anniversary to shine a light on them. The sooner you recognize an employee, the sooner you set the standards for work quality and fulfill their need to be appreciated. Try a yearly anniversary recognition – this will keep them engaged with their job and your organization.
  3. Give it Meaning
    Who wants a hollow compliment? Definitely not your employees! Personalize your recognition program so it means something to each individual and makes them feel special. Instead of a more blanket form of recognition, perhaps let each department have input in how they’d like to be recognized.
  4. Get Everyone on Board
    From top to bottom, everyone needs to fully buy in to your company’s recognition program. Make sure that your managers actually have the skills and feel comfortable enough in their roles to work with and recognize their employees. Some training may need to happen before your program can be successful and impactful.

However your organization approaches its recognition program, here are the two the main takeaways: 1) You need to have one in place, and 2) Some thought and care need to be taken before unveiling it to your staff. If done correctly, your recognition program can be the gift that keeps on giving.

If your company needs a hand contending with employee recognition or training, our HR Performance Solutions HR consultants can help. Click here to contact us or to learn more.


December 22, 2014

Seeing Both Sides of the Compensation Story

win win sm

by Megan Mohr, CCP

As they say, there’s two sides to every coin – especially when it comes to compensation and pay perception. Employees usually feel underpaid and undervalued while the organization as a whole is trying its best to be fair and equitable. How can these two sides meet in the middle? By improving pay perception.

Improving pay perception may seem like an insurmountable task, but it’s not if your organization focuses on three things: communication, resources and management.

  • Communication
    Instead of sending out various emails or intranet articles about compensation, build a comprehensive plan with consistent and strategic messaging for your staff. Make a connection on how their individual performance affects the overall success of your organization. Plus, use instructive communications that inform staff how to think about the information they read.
  • Resources
    Instead of overloading your employees with compensation information and resources, remember that each employee probably needs different information – and delivered in different ways. Give them a library of information to choose from in different formats such as articles, videos, podcasts, charts, etc.
  • Management
    The majority of pay messages employees receive is through their managers. Take an active part in directing what that information is and how it should be delivered. The Pay Communication Benchmarking Study from the member-based advisory company CEB shows that less than a quarter of employees feel their manager is effective at communicating pay. More telling, only 41% of the managers surveyed say they’re effective at these communications.

The Whole Story

Research from the Kenexa High Performance Institute shows that employees who believe their pay is fair are more engaged, are less likely to quit, are less stressed at work, feel more physically and mentally fit, and are more satisfied with their personal life. CEB’s study also discovered that improving employees’ pay perception translates into a revenue gain of $27 million and $5 million in profit gains for the average Fortune 500 company.

So, obviously it pays to improve pay perceptions in more ways than one. The messaging needed to accomplish this is fairly straightforward. Your staff needs to understand three basic factors to believe they’re being paid fairly:

  • How pay is determined
  • How to maximize pay
  • The correlation between performance and pay

Just keep in mind that even if your organization’s pay is fair and equitable, what really matters is if your staff sees it that way. Focusing on pay perception not only leads to happier employees, it can add to your company’s bottom line. It pays to see both sides of the compensation coin.

If your organization needs a little help with compensation, contact HR Performance Solutions. Compease, our dynamic compensation administration and salary planning program, is a powerful tool. Plus, our HR Consultants are always here to lend a hand. 



March 25, 2013

“Pay Your Way” May Be $1 for New Sears CEO

Filed under: Total Rewards9:39 am

You may be familiar with Sears’ and Kmart’s “Shop Your Way” slogan.  Apparently, this has been revised to “Pay Your Way” for the new CEO, Edward Lampert, whose salary is set at $1.  Yes, that’s right.  His annual salary is $1, following the trend of some other major companies such as Apple and Oracle who had the $1 CEO.

As an HR  specialist for a company whose expertise is in compensation and performance management, this is an interesting concept.  From the compensation angle, my first thought was how do you report that on salary surveys?  I could just see the bar graph indicating salaries for CEOs in the hundred thousand dollar ranges to the bottom of the scale at one dollar.  In reality, if Lampert achieves the tough goal of meeting the performance standards to improve profits for Sears and Kmart, he will be eligible for a bonus of up to $2 million in cash or stock and up to $4.5 million in stock per year.  So is the $1 a year salary merely a public relations move to create an image that sacrifices are being made by the CEO to restore the Sears & Kmart brands?

The answer to that question would lie in how the incentive plan is tied to performance.  Some questions to ask would be the following:

  • What are the performance standards that Lampert will need to achieve to receive the bonus?
  • Are there components directly related to the turnaround of the stores that he will be compensated for, or is it merely bottom-line numbers which could possibly be achieved by further layoffs, store closings, etc.?

The design of an incentive plan tied to performance can be a complex process, but if developed properly has great benefit for both the company and the employee.    Items such as clear line of sight, frequent updates to the participants, and stretch goals are all pieces that should be considered.  If participants do not feel they have control of the key performance indicators that they are being measured against or if items are not specific, the plan may tend to demotivate rather than motivate.

At the very least, the $1 a year salary certainly provokes some interesting discussions and questions.  Would you be willing to take a salary of $1 a year in exchange for an incentive plan tied to performance objectives?  I’d like to know – send me your comments!


September 19, 2012

What Keeps You Hanging Around?

Do you feel pretty sure about what makes people want to work at your organization?  Feeling pretty comfortable that you are a great place to work? The American Psychological Association recently released the  “Workforce Retention Survey” as a part of its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.  It contains some interesting findings about why American workers choose to stay with an employer.

There were some notable differences in opinion between genders and between age groups.  In particular:

  • More women than men said both work-life fit (72% vs. 62%) and enjoying the work (72% vs. 63%) were reasons they stay with their current employer.
  • Women were more likely to say they stay with their current employers because of their co-workers than men (55% vs. 48%).
  • Just about half of women surveyed (46%) say their boss is a reason they stay on the job, while about one-third of men (34%) report they stay with their current employer because of their manager.
  • Fifty-seven percent of women said they stay with their employer for the money as compared to 62 percent of men.
  • Of those surveyed age 55 and older, enjoying the work (80%), work-life fit (76%), benefits (66%), feeling connected to the organization (63%) and having an opportunity to make a difference (57%) were cited as the top reasons for staying with their current employer.
  • On the other hand, those surveyed age 18 to 34 were least likely to say that enjoying their work (58%), work-life fit (61%), and benefits (54%) kept them with their current employer.  They did say that co-workers (57%) and managers (46%) were reasons to stay.

And finally, employees who say they plan to stay with their current employers for more than two years reported the biggest drivers of this longer term view were enjoying the work, having a job that fits well with other life demands and feeling connected to the organization.

What keeps you hanging around?


May 18, 2012

HR Fact Friday: HRN Exhibiting at WorldatWork Total Rewards 2012 Conference

HRN Performance Solutions will once again be an exhibitor at the 2012 Total Rewards WorldatWork Conference and Exhibition taking place May 21-23 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

If you are attending please stop by and visit with HRN staff representatives Russell Gerrard and Gene Mandarino at booth number 227. We look forward to meeting you!

About WorldatWork: Founded in 1955, WorldatWork provides HR practitioners with knowledge leadership to effectively implement total rewards – compensation, benefits, work-life and executive rewards. WorldatWork has 30,000 members representing 100 countries.

HRN is a respected provider of compensation administration consulting services and software applications serving small to medium sized businesses. The HRN Compease compensation administration and salary planning application is in use by over 800 clients around the country. For more information about Compease go to:

For more information about the conference go to:

See you in sunny Florida!


May 7, 2012

Help from the DOL for Summer Jobs

My 16 year old son will soon have his first summer job.  I remember my first job and receiving my first paycheck.  It seemed it was a windfall although I’m sure the numbers on my check weren’t that large.  Somehow the value of it seemed like so much more than if it had been given to me as a Christmas present or tucked away in a birthday card.  It’s a different feeling when the money is earned, actual output of pay for my accomplishments.

The Department of Labor has launched a new tool to help those looking for summer jobs.  With summer soon approaching, Secretary Solis traveled to Philadelphia to join Mayor Michael Nutter in announcing the launch of the Summer Jobs Bank – a new online search tool to help connect young people to jobs, internships and other employment opportunities.

Since President Obama’s call to action in January, public and private organizations have stepped up to make nearly 300,000 summer opportunities available to help address the record unemployment rate for the nation”s youth. “As a pathway to careers, summer employment is critical to the success of young people, good for business, and important for our country,” said Secretary Solis. Three cities, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco, have partnered with the Obama administration to develop innovative collaboration with the businesses in their communities that provide youth critical life and job skills they need to start their careers.  Below are some links to related articles.

•             Get Involved in Summer Jobs

•             Look for Jobs Near You in the Summer Jobs Bank

•             Read the News Release

•             Read the Blog Entry

•             View the Slideshow

•             Read the Secretary’s Remarks

I anxiously await the moment when my son receives his first paycheck and watch him experience the fulfillment of a monetary reward for his efforts.   Secretary Solis put it best:  “There is no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck.”  My hope is that many more youth will also be able to experience this.


April 9, 2012

Have You Thanked Your Pulse Lately?

Yes, we should always say thank you to that steady beat of our pulse every morning when we wake up.  But the pulse I’m referring to is the pulse of your organization.  You know, that person who (seemingly) effortlessly manages everything in the office and picks up the pieces when things fall apart.  I’m talking about your administrative professional.  And the 2012 Administrative Professionals Day® is just around the corner and this year’s theme is: “Admins, the pulse of the office.”

Administrative Professionals Day will mark its 60th anniversary on April 25, 2012. Over those decades, the job of an administrative professional has changed dramatically thanks to new tools, techniques and seismic shifts in the economy and culture itself. But admins have remained the steady center of efficiency through it all, helping ensure that jobs get done right, on time and under budget. Admins are one of the engines of business, particularly in a complex economy. In a world that demands the accurate and speedy movement of digital information, admins are masters of data. And they do this while maintaining their more traditional role as the gatekeepers for many customers, clients and employees. Quite simply,admins are the pulse of the office.

Observed since 1952, Administrative Professionals Week is originated and solely sponsored by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAPA).  Over the years, Administrative Professionals Week has become one of the largest workplace observances. The event is celebrated worldwide, bringing together millions of people for community events, educational seminars and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff.

A few interesting statistics about administrative professionals:

  • There are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants in the U.S., according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles

According to IAAP’s 2011 Administrative Professional Skills Benchmarking Survey report, the typical administrative professional…

…is a 45-year-old woman.
…has at least an associate’s degree from a college or university.
…holds the title of “administrative assistant” or “executive assistant.”
…has at least 15 years of work experience.
…supports at least 3 managers and/or executives.
…works for a company with at least 500 employees.
…earns an hourly wage equal to about $45,000 a year.
…is responsible for troubleshooting office software and training others how to use it.
…makes purchasing decisions worth about $15,000 a year for their office.

So let’s all stop and mark our calendars to “Thank Our Pulse(s)” every day and especially during Administrative Professionals Week  - April 22-28 – and Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 25.  For some ideas on how to celebrate, check out the IAPA’s website by clicking here.


January 23, 2012

Wellness Programs = Saving Money (?!)

It seems that health and wellness have been the focus of my blogs this month.  The reason is twofold:  1) it is the “time of the year” when I try to refocus my personal wellness goals; 2) it seems to be the topic of conversation in many of the articles and email newsletters I receive.

An article published by BNA caught my attention with this title:  “Wellness Programs Are Saving Employers Money, Officials Say.”  Having been on the “other side” of HR, I believe I have heard most every argument against wellness programs, generally focusing on the cost aspect as it is difficult to determine the actual ROI of wellness programs.

The article goes on to say that during a Capitol Hill briefing on November 30, Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) stated that programs aimed at keeping workers healthy are saving employers more money than they cost.   She stated that companies that have adopted wellness programs have reduced absenteeism, medical claims, and workers’ compensation expenses.  When wellness programs are expanded to cover larger populations or target particular communities or workforces, the positive outcomes will only increase.

The piece that makes this article most intriguing is that this isn’t just based on her own personal opinion.  It is based on a report that was released at the briefing, HLC Wellness Compendium:  Successful Private Sector Wellness and Prevention Initiatives, which outlines employer programs that have been successful in keeping employees healthy and lowering companies’ overall health costs.    We are now benefiting from wellness programs that have been in place for 5 to 10 years or longer, so viable data can now be measured.

When 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States are attributable to chronic diseases and $.75 of every $1.00 is spent on health care to treat these diseases, it seems like there is no other option than to implement a wellness program.  What is your company doing to address wellness?  Please share…I’d like to hear your success stories!


November 16, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – ROI

If you approach senior management with a plan to implement a wellness program in your organization, one of the first words out of his or her mouth will most likely be “How do you plan to measure the ROI?”  What ROI refers to is Return on Investment (ROI), a calculation which complicates executive buy-in of wellness programs as it isn’t always easy to obtain significant data of ROI.

We all know wellness programs are important and they have become a staple of many corporate benefit packages.  Some organizations start small, offering reimbursement to employees for gym memberships or holding a wellness fair once or twice a year.  Other organizations simply have a deeply engrained principle that forms the basis for decisions about health and wellness offerings.  And larger organizations may offer monetary incentives for participation in wellness initiatives.

No matter how exciting your wellness plan is or how well received it is by employees, ROI will most likely be the measuring stick for success of the plan in the eyes of your CEO.  Fortunately, some organizations have had plans in place that have been able to measure ROI.  One such example is a state program implemented in Delaware in 2003, appropriately named DelaWELL.  First year’s savings were estimated at $62,000 simply through the reduction of emergency room visits.  Currently, health insurance premiums haven’t increased for the last three years.

As wellness programs have now been in place for several years, we are hearing more about the success of these programs and the resulting ROI.  So although ROI may be a difficult measurement, it’s not impossible.  For more information and free resources, check out the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) by clicking here.


November 8, 2011

Bonus Weekly Acronym: ROWE

If you are one of our regular blog readers, you know what to expect on Wednesday: Joyce’s Weekly Wednesday Acronym.   This week, I want to share an additional acronym that is gaining quite a bit of press lately – ROWE.

ROWE stands for Results-Only Work Environment.  ROWE is the brainchild of Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler, authors of Why Work Sucks And How to Fix It.  Simply put, in a ROWE organization, employees can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as their work gets done.

Workplace flexibility, telecommuting, and work/life balance are all terms we have heard before.  If you have implemented any elements into your company to increase flexibility, you have probably also heard complaints from other employees.  “There goes Joe again, leaving to pick up his kids.”  “It must be nice to telecommute – we all know Mary doesn’t do any actual WORK on those days!”

ROWE is different because employees are evaluated based on the results they achieve.  In a SHRM webinar I recently attended on the subject, the question was posed: “ Are there some jobs ROWE wouldn’t work for?”  The authors argue a better question is “Are there some jobs that AREN’T based on results?”

If you still think there is no way ROWE could work for your organization, consider this: ROWE was created while the authors were working for Best Buy.  Yes, one of the largest retailers implemented ROWE several years ago.  In that time, revenue has more than doubled and their employee count has remained steady.  Other retailers who have embraced ROWE include Gap and Banana Republic.

To get more information about ROWE, go to  You’ll find information about the book as well as free resources that are available to help you consider “Going ROWE.”

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