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June 15, 2015

New and Improved Data and Statistics

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , , , 5:52 am


The Department of Labor has enhanced its Data & Stats portion of its website by adding a new “Earnings” section. This section features a series of charts and graphs showing the most recent annual earnings averages by selected topics and demographic characteristics. Covered areas include Educational Attainment, Age and Occupations.

Highlights include:

  • Women with an advanced degree earn less than men with bachelor’s degrees.
  • Women with an associate’s degree or some college earn less than male high school graduates.
  • The gender wage gap is greatest between men and women with advanced degrees.
  • Men’s earnings increase with age until 55-64 years of age, while women’s earnings reach their peak at 35-44, and then remain stagnant until dropping for those age 65 and older.
  • Almost 4 in 5 occupations had a wage gap of at least 10%.

They have also updated their “Latest Annual Data” section with the 2014 numbers released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This data includes labor force participation rates, unemployment rates, employment by industry, and educational attainment.

Check it out and let us know what you think!


March 25, 2010

Compensation: A Matter of Philosophy

Filed under: Compensation — Tags: 10:08 am

Not surprisingly, employee compensation is typically an employer’s most significant cost.  Frequently, organizations experience high employee turnover, which leads to increased training costs and a loss of continuity in implementing their strategic objectives. In fact, some experts estimate that the ultimate cost of training an employee and helping them develop the necessary skills is close to one year’s salary.

Given the considerable investment required to hire and retain top quality employees, it is vital that your compensation program support the company’s overall goals and objectives. Does your current compensation program do this?  If not, it may be time to define or redefine your compensation philosophy.

The primary reason for developing a compensation philosophy is to establish and communicate the purpose of your organization’s pay system. This white paper purposely does not include a sample compensation philosophy, so as to eliminate the temptation to “cut and paste” your philosophy.

However, through years of consulting experience, we can share that the most common issues addressed in the compensation philosophy statement are:

  • Goals of your compensation system
  • Relevant market and competitive position, and
  • How individual pay decisions are made

Generally, the goal of any compensation system is to attract and retain quality staff.  But, do you also want your system to reward staff? Motivate staff?  Encourage career growth? If so, your system must be designed to support these goals.

Secondly, defining your market position is not as easy as saying that you want to be competitive.  In most organizations, the market for labor depends on the job.  For example, clerks and other entry level jobs are usually recruited locally, within a 30 mile radius of the organization.  Supervisors, technical staff and mid-management jobs are frequently recruited regionally.  And the labor market for executive level jobs, especially in larger organizations, is often national in scope.  So, before a decision can be made to be competitive, or perhaps be a pay leader in the labor market, you must first define the relevant market.

Finally, individual pay issues can also be influenced by many factors.  For example, are employee pay rates based on performance?  If so, what role do performance appraisals play?  Is overall organization performance considered?  What about position in range – are employees close to the minimum eligible for more aggressive increases?

For many organizations, these are tough issues to address.  But ultimately, the answers to these questions help define your compensation philosophy and overall corporate culture.

A word of caution.  Defining your compensation philosophy is not a “once and done” undertaking.  Ideally, an organization’s compensation philosophy should be reviewed regularly to make sure it still supports the goals, objectives and direction of the company.

In closing, when you have defined your philosophy, and ensured that it supports the company objectives, communicate it to your staff.  Some companies include their compensation philosophy statement in their employee handbook, others communicate it one-on-one during pay discussions.  Either way, for employees, pay satisfaction begins with pay education.


March 17, 2010

15 Compensation Mistakes That Can Provide You The Opportunity To Make Friends With The Federal Department Of Labor Or State Officials

Filed under: Compensation,Salaries & Pay — Tags: , , 9:38 am

Paying employees is not as simple as it appears. Complex federal and state laws and regulations govern compensation practices. Making even one of the following mistakes can cost you a lot in money, time and bad publicity. Go to for good information regarding federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements.

  1. What Do You Mean I Have To Pass A Test? Or, Tales From Exempt Employees Who Aren’t. Many organizations have some employees misclassified as exempt who are really nonexempt and must be paid overtime. Remember, the Department of Labor has very specific tests that must be met before an employee may be classified as exempt.
  2. We’ll Just Pay Her A Salary, That Way There’s No Overtime. Or, Return Of Exempt Employees Who Aren’t. The FLSA exemption tests include specific job duties and requirements. Simply paying someone on a salary basis vs. an hourly wage doesn’t make her exempt from overtime.
  3. That’s Not Really Work Time. Failing To Pay Nonexempt Employees For “Hours Worked.” Starting early, working late, working through lunch, or doing work at home would all be “hours worked” and considered paid time. Employees can’t “volunteer” to work a little extra or to work “off the clock.” Don’t forget about travel time and training which can also be compensable under certain circumstances.
  4. Oh, It’s Close Enough. Not Correctly Tracking Overtime. Do you have an accurate system in place? Is it reliable? Consistent? Do you “round” appropriately?
  5. Take Next Friday Off. Using “Comp Time” Improperly. Private sector employers need to be especially careful regarding “comp time.” Basically, in those settings, compensatory time only exists within the workweek. Comp time can’t be given instead of overtime. The public sector works under some different rules. (more…)

August 14, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Americans Working Much Harder – For Less Pay

Source: Reposted from an online article by John W. Schoen, Senior Producer,, 8/11/09

Feel like you’re working a lot harder these days, putting in longer hours for the same pay — or even less? The latest round of government data on worker productivity indicates that you probably are.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the American work force produced, at an annual rate, 6.4 percent more of the goods they made and services they provided in the second quarter of this year compared to a year ago. At the same time, “unit labor costs” — the amount employers paid for all that extra work — fell by 5.8 percent. The jump in productivity was higher than expected; the cut in labor costs more than double expectations. 



July 9, 2009

HRN Acquires Koker Goodwin & Associates to Solidify Position as HR Compensation and Performance Management Leader

SALT LAKE CITY (July 9, 2009) – Jerry P. Nelson, President and CEO of HRN Management Group today announced the acquisition of Wichita, KS based Koker Goodwin & Associates. Koker Goodwin & Associates has been operating since 1996 providing performance-based employee compensation software and consulting services. Their two primary HR management products are Compease compensation administration software and iPerformease online performance planning and coaching solution. HRN has been a long time Compease sales, implementation and training partner.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. This is the second acquisition for HRN during the past twelve months. In July, 2008 HRN added an HR consulting and executive search division by merging with HRValue Group.

Mr. Nelson stated, “The merger of Koker Goodwin & Associates and HRN culminates a working relationship that has spanned well over a decade and brings together two of the premier compensation and performance management organizations in the country. The synergies will be huge and the outlook for future growth and professionalism is without limit. Clinton Koker and Mike Goodwin have been great friends and business associates for years; to be working with them within the same organization will be outstanding.”

Clinton R. Koker, CEO of Koker Goodwin & Associates added to Mr. Nelson’s remarks by saying, “During the past twelve years we have worked in partnership with HRN Management Group. That partnership has proven to be beneficial to HRN, Koker Goodwin and Associates and our clients. This merger is only natural and I believe will further the objectives of providing high quality, cost-effective human resource consulting and software solutions for our mutual clients.”

Additional information about Koker Goodwin & Associates can be found on the Internet at