Help with the complexities of compensation (Web sight, Oct. 7, 2002)

Show them the money! But don’t show them too much, or you’ll have no way of rewarding them down the road. Don’t show too little either, or they won’t be around long enough to say, “You underpay.”

Compensation is a fundamental function of any human resource department. The Web sites below have been chosen to not only assist you with the number crunching of paying your employees, but also to provide practical reading on other issues of compensation.

Big failures, big severance

To get your blood boiling about underachieving CEOs reaping huge golden handshakes, see Jim Drury’s article in Chief Executive magazine online. There are lots of examples to pick from: Bob Annunziata of failed Global Crossing, whose one-year tenure included (US) $15.9 million in severance or Doug Ivester who left Coca-Cola under a cloud but with $120 million in severance. Drury makes the argument that either boards and CEOs put a halt to escalating severance deals or government, spurned on by a justifiably outraged public, will have to step in. For more on exec severance go back to the site’s home page, select “search,” enter “severance” and review some current data on deals. You’ll also find information on other aspects of executive compensation. — salary centre

A salary calculator for the Canadian market. This free tool lets you put in your parameters (job title, location) and gives you the salary range for the job. The site includes a comparison tool that lets you graph it beside the national average salary. The information is as of September 2002, so you can be sure the numbers are close to the current standards. You can also explore the function that lets you graph different jobs on the same chart for comparison purposes. A quick and easy-to-use tool, especially at compensation analysis time. After looking at the HR salaries, does anyone else feel underpaid?

Sample tuition reimbursement policy

There are no drawbacks to employee development. Continuing education produces employees with more knowledge, better skills to do the job and a feeling of self-worth. Having a tuition reimbursement policy included in your compensation plan not only helps the development of a worker, it also shows your organization’s commitment to employees. This article presents a sample policy that can be used as a template to create your own.

Bonuses aren’t just for the bosses

What does a pork-processing plant in Milan, Missouri have to do with compensation plans? In this article from Fast Company magazine, compensation consultant, Brad Hill walks you through how he turned a high-turnover, low-paying meat packing plant into a workplace that reduced it’s turnover by 50 per cent. Now, the company saves tens of thousands of dollars a month and employees are making more than they ever have. That’s what I call an effective compensation structure. This article shows how with a little thought, and a lot of communication, employees can get paid better and feel better about what they do and where they work.

Bell Canada’s pay equity settlement

Bell Canada’s battle in the pay equity area is no secret. By checking out this Web site, which contains links to all of the details surrounding the history of this dispute, you could learn from someone else’s mistakes and make sure there is no discrimination within your company’s pay structure. Always remember: equal pay for work of equal value. This case gives you 178 million reasons to pay attention to it. “The value of the cash portion of the settlement is over $128 million. The present value of pension benefit adjustments, past and future, is estimated at $50 million.” From the link above, click on “information kit” to read about the settlement.

How to get ‘em to do what you want ‘em to

In the sales world, compensation based on commission is the norm. But is the compensation program pointing your sales force in the right direction? The author, Dave Kahle (a sales veteran) says, “Our economy has grown increasingly complex, many markets are maturing, the demands and expectations of your customers are growing, your customers’ choices of ways to satisfy their needs are multiplying, and information technology is growing more powerful and user friendly. All that means that you need to more finely direct your sales force than at any time in the past.”

Scott Stratten is a speaker, trainer and the creator of He can be reached at [email protected] or (905) 844-2818.

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