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The Total Rewards Blog has been created to keep you apprised of current events & topics in our field.  The blog will probe the most relevant topics that have an impact on total rewards. Our focus will be to address issues you face every day as a total rewards  professional, by showcasing innovative approaches and best practices.

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  • November 03, 2018 11:17 AM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    Dive Brief:

    • International auction house Sotheby's has launched a student loan repayment benefit program. The company said the initiative aims to reduce the $1.5 trillion owed by former students in the U.S. Plan participants must have outstanding student debt owed to an accredited loan organization. Former students and parents responsible for paying their children's debt can participate.
    • When an employee makes a student loan payment, Sotheby's will contribute $150 toward the principal amount of a student loan, up to $1,800 a year. The program covers workers for as long as they're eligible, U.S.-based, full-time Sotheby's employees with qualifying student loans. Employees can participate in the program so long as they remain eligible, full-time, U.S.-based employees of Sotheby's with student loans.
    • Sotheby's has partnered with Gradifi, a firm specializing in financial employee benefits, to support the benefit plan. The partnership offers Sotheby's employees advice on college savings programs, refinancing and other related issues.

    Dive Insight:

    Employees are entering the workforce with thousands of dollars in student debt. Financial problems are the greatest distractions on the job for workers, according to one in three respondents in a 2017 study by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. And in a 2018 study by the same organization, nearly half the respondents cited finances as a major stressor. Stress takes a toll on workers' health and their ability to perform their jobs; for employers, that means higher absenteeism, lower retention rates and productivity losses in the millions each year. These statistics alone incentivize employers to intervene, if they can, to help relieve workers of astronomical amounts of student debt.

    In a previous statement to HR Dive, Gradifi's then-CEO Tim DeMello wrote: "If employers are able to help their employees pay off that debt faster, they're able to alleviate some of the stress; ultimately creating a better quality of life both at work and in their employee's personal lives, and in turn creating a decisive hiring advantage in recruiting highly skilled workers."

    Workers said they would welcome help with repaying their student-loan debt. Nearly half (46%) of participants in a Student Loan Hero survey said they would accept a student loan repayment plan over a 401(k), if they had a choice. And another 53% said they would prefer a repayment program over paid time off. Offering workers the benefit they value most has the potential to enhance engagement​ and raise retention rates. Employee satisfaction and engagement are crucial in a tight labor market, where dissatisfied employees are more likely to leave their current jobs for better pay, benefits and opportunities elsewhere. This is not lost on Sotheby's CEO Tad Smith, who said in a statement that the benefit speaks to workers' satisfaction and engagement. Satisfaction and engagement contribute toward the company's success and the value it delivers to its clients and shareholders, Smith added.

    The IRS has also stepped in to help workers with student loan debt. In August, the agency issued a private letter ruling allowing an employer to amend its 401(k) plan in order to contribute to the retirement accounts of employees paying down their student loans. The hybrid plan has yet to catch on, but it could be a welcome solution to helping workers pay down their student loans, while getting them to save for retirement.

    Author:  Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    Source:    HR Dive

    Link:         https://www.hrdive.com/news/sothebys-rolls-out-student-loan-repayment-benefit/540303/

  • September 26, 2018 2:03 PM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    Sept. 20, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • It's generally accepted that people work to pay the bills, but a recent FlexJobs survey of 3,000 multi-generational employees found that distinct generations of employees have different secondary motivations for working. Millennial respondents, for example, tend to work so they can finance their living expenses as well as their wanderlust, the study said. But older employees in the study tend to work because they like their jobs and want to save for retirement.
    • The survey spotted further generational differences: 70% of millennials have considered leaving a job for another boasting flexible work options, but just half of older workers have felt the same pull. Almost 80% of millennials said they would be more loyal to an employer offering flexible work options, while just over 70% of older workers said the same. More than 80% of millennials say they seriously consider how a position will affect their work-life balance, but only 62% of older workers agreed.
    • The generations did have a few traits in common. Less than 10% of both age groups would say they produce their best work in the office. And more than 60% of both groups said they'd be more productive if they telecommuted. And 41% of both groups said they don't think they should have to exchange salary or vacation time for telecommuting options.

    Dive Insight:

    It may not come as a surprise that older workers are less likely than millennials to leave a job for one offering flexible work schedules. Many older workers may be focused on winding down their careers in preparation for retirement, whereas younger workers are still building their careers and looking for the next opportunity. Employers will need to look at workers at their various life stages to determine what kinds of benefits and perks they might find the most beneficial. 

    At the same time, flexible work options appear to be highly desirable to workers across generational lines. Spherion Staffing Services' "2018 Emerging Workforce Study" found that as many as 41% of respondents said they would accept only jobs offering flexible work options. As such, employers offering flexible scheduling and options for remote work will likely have an edge in the tight labor market's talent wars by attracting quality candidates and retaining valued workers.

    Filed Under: Comp & Benefits

    Author:  Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    Source:  HR DIVE

    Link:        https://www.hrdive.com/news/millennials-and-older-workers-split-on-work-motivations/532544/

  • August 26, 2018 6:44 PM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    Some workers are getting new titles, but not a new salary.Vitaly Mum/Strelka Institute/Flickr

    • The economy is in tip-top shape, but companies are still hesitant to give raises.
    • Promotions without raises are becoming more common, according to new research by staffing firm OfficeTeam.
    • In 2011, 22% of HR managers said their company gives new titles without a raise. Now, 39% do.

    Your boss asks you for a meeting. You're excited and a bit nervous — you've been doing good work, getting nods from important people, and your numbers are higher than ever.

    "We've loved the work you've been doing this year," your boss tells you once you're sitting down. "And we would love to offer you the new role of..."

    Your good mood is suddenly curbed, though. You have a new title and new responsibilities, but there's a crucial point missing: A raise. It's extra stress and time at the office without the financial benefit.

    Promotions without raises are becoming more common, according to new research by staffing firm OfficeTeam. In 2011, 22% of HR managers said their company gives new titles without a raise. Now, 39% do.

    • Salary.com, a compensation data and analytics firm, and Compdata Surveys & Consulting, a comp survey data and consulting firm, have announced their merger, bringing together data from more than 25,000 organizations, 14 industries and 100 countries, Salary.com said in a statement.
    • The pairing matches Salary.com's analytics platform with Compdata's deep vertical database of a slew of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and higher education.
    • The combined entity said it believes the merger makes it one of the top three largest compensation data providers in the U.S. 

    Their employees are becoming more accustomed to the practice as well. In 2018, 64% of workers said they would accept a higher title without the raise — compared to 55% seven years ago. Men (72%) and workers under 34 (also 72%) are more likely to accept a promotion in title without a pay raise than workers older than 55 (53%) and women (55%).

    This is one of many recent studies that indicate a reluctance for employers to boost their employees' pay.

    A Mercer survey of about 1,500 mid-sized-to-large companies found that salary increase budgets have remained the same since 2015. And while 72% of companies will enjoy tax savings from December's Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, just 4% are directing some of those savings into their salary increase budgets.

    It bodes worse for hourly workers. They're actually earning slightly less this year than they were last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The economy is in peak condition. Unemployment is ridiculously low. And companies are fighting more than ever to recruit and retain employees — particularly among fast food workers and truck drivers.

    So, why are companies so hesitant to boost salaries?

    It's a complicated question, with a few different possible answers.

    One theory is that the Great Recession produced a disproportionate amount of low-wage jobs, and that has driven down wage growth from a macro perspective.

    "For many technology companies, there's a bifurcated workforce. You have your drivers and your software engineers; your factory workers and product managers," Jukay Hsu, CEO of the coding academy C4Q, told CBS News.

    And on the white collar side, the lack of salary boosts might be closely tied to the new bumps in perks and benefits. That includes health insurance and transit subsidies, as well as cushier perks like free meals or more paid time off. Signing bonuses and stock options also don't play into government salary data.

    Regardless of the reasons, workers are taking matters into their own hands by finding new jobs.

    People are voluntarily quitting their jobs at the highest rate in 17 years, The Wall Street Journal reported in July. And job switchers are earning 48% higher annual pay increases this year than those who stay in their jobs.

    "A husband and wife can easily quit their jobs and both find good opportunities in jobs they want, where they want to live," University of Chicago economist Steven Davis told the Journal.

    Author: Rachel Premack

    Source: Business Insider

    Link: https://www.businessinsider.com/promotions-without-salary-increase-more-common-2018-8

  • August 04, 2018 3:21 PM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    Dive Brief:

    • Salary.com, a compensation data and analytics firm, and Compdata Surveys & Consulting, a comp survey data and consulting firm, have announced their merger, bringing together data from more than 25,000 organizations, 14 industries and 100 countries, Salary.com said in a statement.
    • The pairing matches Salary.com's analytics platform with Compdata's deep vertical database of a slew of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and higher education.
    • The combined entity said it believes the merger makes it one of the top three largest compensation data providers in the U.S. 

    Dive Insight:

    Pay challenges, including increased calls for pay equity and a tight talent market hovering around 4.0% unemployment, have pressed employers to improve analysis of their own compensation data. This move by Salary.com and Compdata may hint toward the growing turbulence in the space as employers seek solutions

    "There is a lot of data out there, but it is useless without the actionable insights that HR analytics tools provide to help HR professionals really make the best use of their time and talent," Alys Reynders Scott, chief marketing officer at Salary.com, told HR Dive in an email. 

    Competition for talent remains high, but salary increases have yet to match the calls for talent — though that may change in 2019, according to WorldatWork's 2018-2019 Salary Budget Survey Top-Level Results. While benefits have received a lot of fanfare as of late, money remains a powerful motivator, especially in certain industries like retail. In response to both the market and a slew of laws on pay, some employers have opted for wage increases to better attract talent and remain on top of shifting minimum wages at local levels

    But recent pay laws focus on more than just minimum wage, which is one reason why more employers are turning to pay data. More stringent pay equity laws have swept through a handful of states, including New Jersey, Oregon and Massachusetts. States and localities also continue to pass salary history bans, which are said to help stop past inequities that kept women and minorities underpaid. The comp space is complicated and will likely remain so, prompting employers to seek modernized solutions to their needs.

    Author: Kathryn Moody

    Source: HR Dive

    Link: https://www.hrdive.com/news/salarycom-merges-with-compdata-as-turbulent-market-calls-for-pay-data-mana/528946/

  • July 09, 2018 11:48 AM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    Dive Brief:

    • Of the minimum wage hikes previously passed by states and localities, 18 became effective on July 1, 2018, the Employment Policies Institute reports. Mandates kick in from two states, the District of Columbia and 15 other jurisdictions.
    • Of those, 13 are within the $12.00 to $15.70 range. The institute argues that minimum wage increases could lead to job losses, reduced work hours or business closings, thus hurting employment opportunities for workers across the nation. 
    • It also claims that a study by Miami and Trinity universities showed that when California's $15 an hour minimum wage is fully phased in by 2022, 40,000 jobs will be eliminated. Other studies have disputed that notion regarding the minimum wage, stating increases add new jobs while lower paying jobs are eliminated.

    Dive Insight:

    Already, 37 other jurisdictions increased their minimum wages at the beginning of the year, shaping up 2018 to be a complex year for wage and hour compliance. Expect more legislation at the state and local levels moving through this year and into the next, according to experts. Massachusetts recently passed legislation increasing its minimum wage and implementing a paid family medical leave plan, for example.

    The debate over the actual impact of these increases continues. In 2017, economists from the University of Washington said their study showed that Seattle's minimum wage increase from $9.47 to $15 an hour in just a two- to three-year time span would leave the poorest employees working fewer hours and earning less money than before. But various skeptics poked holes in that study, despite it being heralded as "very credible" — highlighting the bifurcated nature of the debate overall.

    Americans appear to favor increases to the minimum wage, according to recent studies by Adecco and the National Restaurant Association which both found support for such policies to be close to 70%. In turn, some big name companies — including Target and TJ Maxx — have opted to up their minimum wages to better compete for talent and overcome the increasing patchwork of state laws multstate employers contend with.

    Author: Kathryn Moody, Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    Source: HR Dive

    Link: https://www.hrdive.com/news/18-city-and-state-minimum-wage-hikes-kick-in-this-month/527015/

    Administrator added resource from:

    Source: The Employment Policies Institute (EPI)

    Link: https://www.epionline.org/release/mid-year-minimum-wage-hikes-strike-again/

  • May 25, 2018 12:00 PM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)


    As jurisdictions across the country adopt gender pay equity laws, you may need to take a fresh look at your organization's compensation policies.

    It may be time to review—and possibly alter—your compensation policies and practices.

    Gender pay equity laws have been popping up around the country and are prompting closer scrutiny of pay issues, with more companies now prohibiting the use of prior salary to set starting pay, said Mickey Silberman, an attorney with Fortney & Scott in Denver.

    Though every organization has pay disparities, not all of them are unlawful. Some can be explained by differences in education, job-related experience and other permitted factors. Others cannot.

    Through a pay audit, employers can determine whether any vulnerabilities exist in their compensation structure and, more importantly, use it as a guide to address any issues, explained Lara de Leon, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Orange County, Calif., and San Antonio.

    Here’s an added incentive: Several states now provide for a “safe harbor” or “affirmative defense” to liability when an employer conducts a pay audit and can demonstrate that it is taking good-faith steps to eliminate gender pay gaps.

    Keep in mind that it’s important to conduct audits under the attorney-

    client privilege. That can help protect components of the audit from disclosure to plaintiffs’ attorneys during litigation or to investigators during a government audit.

    “This protection will allow for freer discussions with legal counsel to aid in identifying and correcting pay issues,” de Leon said. “The attorney-client privilege, however, is not bulletproof, and there may be certain instances where it is beneficial for an employer to disclose aspects of its audit.”

    Employers should consider creating a separate nonprivileged business document that explains the process and results, said Jonathan A. Segal, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia and New York City. They will want the analysis to be protected, but may want to share certain information without potentially waiving the attorney-client privilege. 

    Recent Trends

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that an employer that based starting salaries on past pay violated the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA). (The court’s jurisdiction includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.) This holding overturned the appellate court’s opposite conclusion in a 1982 case. a

    This time around, the 9th Circuit judges looked closely at new state and local pay equity laws, which share the goal of halting perpetuation of the pay gap, Silberman noted. 

    But there’s disagreement among the federal appellate courts. For example, the 7th Circuit has held that past pay can be a “factor other than sex” that employers may use to determine wages under the EPA.

    “What’s clear at this point is that there are different standards in different locations on whether employers can consider salary history,” said Avi Kumin, an attorney with Katz, Marshall & Banks in Washington, D.C.

    First and foremost, look to the applicable laws in the areas where your company does business—not just in the circuit where you operate, but also on the state level, de Leon said. State laws may have different definitions, criteria and burdens of proof.

    Audit Steps

    “While it’s becoming harder to have a one-size-fits-all approach, with some thought and discussion, employers can establish a defensible compensation structure that aligns with their core principles,” de Leon said.

    Steps to conducting an audit include the following:

    • Carefully consider which jobs, locations or business units to assess.
    • Think about what data is available to include in the audit that would potentially impact pay. Factors typically include job title, pay grade, time in the role, work location, business unit and performance history. Other considerations may include education, special skills and experience. 
    • If a disparity exists that cannot be explained by legitimate factors, take steps to correct it. That often means increasing someone’s pay. Communicate that decision in a way that does not increase risk.

    “Employers should look at correcting the cause of the disparity, as well as correcting it monetarily,” de Leon said. “Otherwise, a disparity will just repeat in the future.”

    Author:   By Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM-SCP, J.D.

    Source:   Society for Human Resource Management

    Link:   https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0618/pages/conducting-gender-pay-audits-in-a-changing-landscape.aspx

  • May 13, 2018 9:00 AM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    By Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires

    Among America’s largest metropolitan areas, the economic leaders come in two flavors: Southern-fried and West Coast organic. The first group flourishes across a broad range of industries, fed by strong domestic in-migration and a friendly business climate. The other is driven largely by technology and high-end business services clustered around expensive but highly desirable urban areas.

    However, the trend lines certainly favor the former approach, which is epitomized by America’s Best City For Jobs in the 2018 edition of our annual ranking. After years of domination by the tech-driven San Francisco area, Dallas-Plano-Irving has secured the No. 1 spot for the last two years by dint of consistency: 2.8% job growth last year, 19.6% since 2012 and an impressive 25.6% since 2006. Its 2.02% population growth last year is the highest rate of any of the 10 largest metro areas while net in-migration trails only retirement haven Phoenix among the big cities. Simply put, this Energizer bunny just doesn’t stop.

    Big D’s domination is all the more secure because of the diverse sources of its job growth. Dallas has logged double-digit percentage job growth since 2012 in almost every major economic sector we measured, from information to construction, energy, finance, and professional and business services. Key to Dallas’ success: It’s a great value proposition, with affordable housing, a favorable regulatory climate, low taxes and an increasing array of cultural amenities beyond the Dallas Cowboys.

    Perhaps nothing proves this more than the large number of companies that have either moved whole hog to the Big D or sited significant operations there in recent years, including the likes of Toyota’s North American headquarters and Jacobs Engineering, both from Southern California, as well as Jamba Juice, Pei Wei and JetSuite. Many more have announced major expansions there, including Boeing, Oki Data and Luis Vuitton.


    Our rankings are based on short-, medium- and long-term job creation, going back to 2006, and factor in momentum — whether growth is slowing or accelerating. We have compiled separate rankings for America’s 71 largest metropolitan statistical areas (those with nonfarm employment over 450,000), which are our focus this week, as well as medium-size metro areas (between 150,000 and 450,000 nonfarm jobs) and small ones (less than 150,000 nonfarm jobs) in order to make the comparisons more relevant to each category. (For a detailed description of our methodology, click here.)

    Here Come The Little D's

    Texas may not be the role model for most regions, but the Lone Star State’s growth formula has formidable logic for areas that don’t have the huge venture capital connections of the Bay Area. Second-ranked Austin, Texas, is certainly a booming tech hub, but its rapid job growth — 3.4% last year and 39% since 2006 — is more diversified than commonly believed. In fact, the big driver in terms of high-wage jobs is not tech but professional and business services, an area in which employment has grown 37.1% since 2006.

    Like Dallas, Austin’s expansion is paced by strong population growth. The metro area last year had the strongest population increase and rate of domestic in-migration of any in the country with a population over a million. This population growth has translated into many things, most particularly growth in retail sales, construction jobs, financial services and trade, helping boost diverse jobs growth.

    But you don’t have to be in the Lone Star state to enjoy Texas-style growth. Other affordable areas like No. 3 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.,  No. 5 Charlotte-Concord- Gastonia, N.C., and No. 6 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., all enjoy the same pattern of rapid population growth and mounting in-migration from the rest of the country. These areas have enjoyed strong tech growth as well, with Orlando actually now adding STEM jobs at a faster clip than the Bay Area metros. Central Florida could well emerge as a serious tech competitor over the next few years, helped by low taxes, affordable housing and a benign business climate.

    The High-End Tech Hubs

    Yet for all the competition and their high costs, the big three West Coast technology hubs remain ensconced in the top 10 for job growth. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area, aka Silicon Valley, continues to sizzle in fourth place, although the expansion has slowed, with 3% job growth last year. Business and professional services, as well as finance, appear to be slowing down, but strong job growth continues in the information sector -- the business of Google, Facebook, Netflix and Apple -- up 11% last year and 59% since 2006.

    Much the same pattern can be seen in No. 8 San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, which has become the Valley’s urban annex. Yet there are clear signs of a slowdown, with the metro area dropping from No. 2 last year. Information job growth last year was 8.7%, down from the torrid 12% pace enjoyed since 2006, while business and professional services, which logged 4% job growth, is down from the 5.6% rate enjoyed over the decade.

    Right behind in ninth place is Seattle, where the information sector and professional business services continue to grow at a healthy pace, although somewhat slower. To be sure, Seattle’s jobs picture, like that of its Bay Area counterparts, remains the envy of almost every region. The biggest problem looming for these areas is high costs, which in the Bay Area has slowed population growth and accelerated out-migration. Over time there is concern that Seattle, too, may be in the process of pricing out potential new residents, as well as less well to do longtime ones.

    The Three Heavyweights Lose Ground

    Much is written about the inevitable ascendancy of large global cities, but in terms of job growth none of the three largest in America — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — are burning down the barn right now. New York, at No. 24, is doing the best by far, with 1.7% job growth last year and 19.5% growth since 2006. The employment expansion has been paced by such high-wage sectors as professional and business services and information, as well as low-wage fields like leisure and hospitality.

    But New York seems to be slowing from its breakneck pace after 2010, particularly in information, professional and business services, and its core finance industry. At the same time, the demographic evidence since 2010 shows population growth, impressive earlier in this decade, now ranks among the lowest in the nation.  Brooklyn, the reinvented hipster capital, last year suffered its first population decline since 2006. Gotham’s resurgence seems assured but its trajectory points to slower growth ahead.

    Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Chicago are doing considerably worse. Los Angeles places a mediocre 48th in our ranking, with meager 1.3% job growth last year and 5.7% growth since 2006. L.A. has expanded employment robustly largely just in lower-wage categories like leisure and hospitality and transportation, both up 25% since 2012. Gains in higher-wage sectors like business and professional services has been modest compared not only to places like Dallas but also New York. Perhaps more disturbing, it’s now losing jobs in traditional high-wage sectors like information, which includes entertainment, as well as manufacturing, where there’s been a decades-long decline.

    Like New York, Los Angeles’ demographics reflect this slowing, with high levels of out-migration and a population growth rate of 0.13% last year, among the lowest in the nation. The L.A. area’s rate of outmigration in 2016-17 was 40% over the annual average since 2010. Given the region’s high costs, the lack of high wage jobs growth could place a long-term damper on its future trajectory.

    But as is often the case in urban economics, it could be worse. Take Chicago, which places 55th with weak 0.4% job growth last year and 4.4% growth over the past decade. The Windy City’s leisure and hospitality industries continue to grow, but the critical business and professional services sector, the linchpin of its claim to global city status, is now shrinking, after enjoying decent growth earlier in the decade of nearly 2% per annum. The information sector, greatly promoted by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, has continued to lose jobs, and at an accelerated rate.

    Gallery: The Best Big Cities For Jobs 2018

    With its magnificent lakefront, Chicago likes to see itself as a destination for the ambitious, but this is not reflected in either its high rate of out-migration, only slightly better than New York’s, or its population trajectory, which is actually negative. It may be a glamor town in certain sections, but overall the metro area looks more Rust Belt than it may like to admit.

    Mixed Messages In Midwest

    If Chicago once loomed as the role model for the country’s mid-section, that is no longer the case. Although none of the region’s metro areas cracked the top ten, several have performed respectably. The surprise leader in the region has been 21st-ranked Grand Rapids, where total nonfarm employment expanded 1.7% last year and is up 13% since 2012.

    Although Grand Rapids’ growth has included healthy gains in information, finance and professional and businesses services, the real stars here are typically blue collar. Manufacturing employment in the metro area is up 20% since 2012 and wholesale trade 18%. The area is the global headquarters for such companies as Amway, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, Wolverine Worldwide, and Bissell; its strategy seems to be focused on becoming a world-class center for advanced manufacturing and life science innovation.

    Grand Rapids is not the only promising performer in the Heartland. No. 25 Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., No. 28 Columbus, Ohio, and No. 35 Kansas City all performed above the median. Intriguingly, all four ascendant heartland burgs now enjoy more rapid population growth than their California or East Coast counterparts, and, unlike them, they are logging net domestic in-migration.

    Yet, sadly, the modest success of these towns is not, as yet, evidence of a region-wide recovery. Many of the old Rust Belt cities still inhabit the basement of our best cities list: Pittsburgh places 58th, Buffalo is 60th, Detroit is 61st and St. Louis places 62nd, Milwaukee is 66th, and last out the 71 largest metro areas is Cleveland. All these areas suffer stagnant population growth and high levels of out-migration. Hopefully, in the long run, the modest resurgence seen in other parts of the Heartland will someday extend to these areas as well.

    Authors:   Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires

    Source:   Forbes

    Link:   https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2018/05/07/best-cities-for-jobs-2018-dallas-austin-nashville/#54f48e4c1f0c

  • May 02, 2018 12:06 PM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    How Should Organizations Draw the Line on Pay Transparency?

    There is general support for the widespread practice of disclosing pay data in "bands" associated with jobs. Fewer people would go beyond this to disclose what individual employees make in their jobs. Others would avoid a "one size fits all" approach to the practice of making compensation known. These are the views put forth by participants in this month's discussion of transparency in compensation.

    Disclosing pay ranges vs. individual pay has its advocates. Neil Reay suggested that "the narrow target pay range for every position in the company can be made transparent without revealing the exact pay for any person. This can help employees in their career planning and ambitions." Tahoegrrl reminded us: "There are differences in compensation related to scope, role impact, experience, autonomy. These are naturally definers of where an individual should be placed within a salary range. Those differences should be easily explained and verifiable upon request." Dan S. pointed out that disclosing pay ranges "can improve morale, reduce turnover and possibly reduce litigation." He added that it "is helpful in two ways: it quantifies what value the company puts on each function … (and) it allows employees to get a clear idea about where they are within their compensation band."

    Those supportive of disclosing individuals' compensation data put forth several arguments. Individual pay transparency would eliminate a source of distraction (Srishti Mehra) and "would do more to eliminate gender and racial pay inequity than any other action," according to Miki Saxon. Will Quandt added that "the practice of having an open book of compensation data … could lead to a different method in solving certain situations such as pay discrepancy …" As Ali put it, "Why companies find it so difficult to talk salary when our government is so open on what each employee is paid is baffling. The experiment with open salaries has been tried and it works."

    On the other hand, Kamal Gupta cited problems regarding pay transparency in observing that, "Indian law had mandated public sharing of employee compensation for all those drawing above a certain limit… employees resented this (the old saying, never ask a man what he is earning …). It also made poaching easy." Arun expressed fears that, "people will begin to judge one another by their compensation instead of the value they bring to the company."

    Chakraborty went on to suggest that "every organization may like to work out the value of transparency in its own case and determine where to draw the line."

    That raises the question: How should the line be drawn on pay transparency? What do you think?

    Original Column

    Organizational transparency is a much-contested topic in boardrooms and lunchrooms these days, with two primary questions confronting leaders:

    1. How much information should be shared inside the organization?

    2. Do we have a choice?

    A recent example suggests that the disclosure debate might well be extended to information that generally has been considered off-limits: compensation data.

    Recently, film director Ridley Scott had to reshoot scenes in All the Money in the World after star Kevin Spacey was in essence fired following accusations of previous sexual misconduct. Christopher Plummer was hired to replace Spacey and reshoot scenes with co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, who agreed to return to the set. Their pay was negotiated separately and privately but by representatives of the same agency.

    The result, as is widely known now, was that both actors agreed to reshoot the scenes for the actor’s equity base pay of about $80 per day. But Wahlberg’s agent, unbeknown to Williams, negotiated an additional $1.5 million fee. The situation came to light when the negotiation leaked. (The dispute was apparently resolved when Wahlberg agreed to donate his $1.5 million to Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.)

    This Hollywood soap opera raises an interesting question. If the All the Money initial pay arrangements had been known in advance, would an embarrassing situation have been avoided entirely? Are such irregularities waiting to be uncovered in other organizations that don’t make compensation information available to their members?

    The case for sharing

    Research has shown that information-sharing can aid innovation, foster trust, and contribute to an organization’s agility in a fast-moving competitive landscape. It also can build cohesion among employees and provide them a shared sense of mission.

    Vineet Nayar, former CEO of India-based HCL Technologies, is a firm believer in sharing important information throughout an organization. As CEO, for example, he shared his 360-degree performance evaluation from peers and subordinates with HCL’s 50,000 employees as part of what he called “reverse accountability.”

    Ray Dalio, founder and head of the highly successful investment company Bridgewater Associates, believes in a practice he calls “radical transparency.” That means “giving most everyone the ability to see most everything… (to reduce) harmful office politics and the risks of bad behavior … more likely to take place behind closed doors than out in the open.” As described in his remarkable book Principles, Bridgewater practices what Dalio preaches, for example, by videotaping all meetings. The tapes are available to meeting participants and others who can then study effective decision-making behaviors (as described by the many principles set forth by Dalio in his book) and, if necessary, resurrect the truth.

    In the current climate encouraging increased disclosure, would for-profit organizations be better off emulating their governmental organization counterparts, where compensation is public information, and there are neither secrets nor surprises? In publicly held companies, it would extend a practice already required of the five most highly compensated executives in the organization.

    Given Dalio’s devotion to radical transparency, we might assume that he would also be in favor of sharing such things as compensation data. If so, we would be wrong. Bridgewater does not share information when it determines the value of sharing would be low and “the distraction it would cause would be significant.”

    This prompts the subject of our conversation today: Should compensation data be shared inside organizations? On what should a decision depend? How far down the organization should such transparency extend? What do you think?

    Author:  James Heskett

    Source:  Harvard Business School

    Link:  https://www.hbs.edu/recruiting/blog/post/should-companies-disclose-employee-compensation



    Adam Bryant, He’s Not Bill Gates, or Fred Astaire, The New York Times, February 14, 2010, p. B2.

    Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017)

    This post was originally published on HBS Working Knowledge.


  • April 24, 2018 10:18 AM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    By Audrey L. Stanley ... Apr 17, 2018

    A building manager who attended management meetings and supervised and directed others could still be entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held.

    Total Management Solutions (TMS) employed the plaintiff as a building manager at St. John's University in New York and paid him an annual salary of $80,000. His duties included ensuring the cleanliness of buildings, supervising six to 15 cleaners, directing cleaners in their work, reallocating workers when short-staffed, setting up rooms for meetings or events, and attending a daily management meeting led by his supervisor. His boss distributed work orders to the plaintiff, who then selected cleaners to carry out the orders.

    The plaintiff also handled off-campus work and event setups and had a separate agreement in which he was paid for overseeing athletic facilities during basketball games. Although a collective bargaining agreement prohibited him from performing cleaning duties, the plaintiff testified that he performed nonsupervisory cleaning duties 90 percent of the time.

    In 2015, the plaintiff sued TMS, claiming it violated the FLSA by failing to pay him overtime. The district court dismissed his FLSA claim, concluding the plaintiff qualified for the executive exemption and was not entitled to overtime.

    The district court reasoned that the plaintiff's primary duty was managerial, and he had authority to recommend the hiring, firing or change in status of other employees. The district court disregarded the plaintiff's testimony that the majority of his work involved nonsupervisory duties, finding it untrue.

    The appeals court disagreed. Because the plaintiff had testified that 90 percent of his work was nonsupervisory physical cleaning, TMS could not conclusively establish that his primary duties involved management activities. According to the appellate court, the district court erroneously disregarded the plaintiff's testimony, as the district court cannot assess the credibility of evidence on summary judgment but must determine only whether a factual dispute exists.

    Similarly, because the plaintiff testified that he never recommended disciplinary action; did not have authority to hire or fire employees; and did not make recommendations to hire, promote and fire employees, there was a dispute as to whether he indeed had such authority. Additionally, TMS identified only one instance when the plaintiff recommended disciplinary action, and the plaintiff himself did not administer discipline on that occasion. Accordingly, there was a factual dispute as to whether he met the test for the executive exemption from the overtime provisions of the FLSA, and therefore dismissal was inappropriate.

    The appellate court's decision to vacate the dismissal does not establish that the plaintiff proved his claim but only that he presented enough evidence to dispute that he was employed in an executive capacity exempt from the FLSA's overtime wage provisions.

    Paganas v. Total Maintenance Solution LLC, 2d Cir., No. 17-0040 (March 12, 2018).

    Professional Pointer: This case serves as a reminder that employers should engage in a periodic analysis of exempt employees' actual job duties. The fact that an employee is called a manager and has authority to supervise according to a job description does not mean that the employee is exempt from overtime requirements.

    Author:  Audrey L. Stanley is an attorney with Marr, Jones, & Wang LLP, the Worklaw® Network member firm in Honolulu.

    Author:  Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

    Link:  https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/court-report-supervisor-may-not-be-exempt.aspx

  • April 17, 2018 8:23 AM | Vita Taylor (Administrator)

    Just when you think you have enough, you realize you want just a little bit more.

    That saying can apply to many of life's scenarios, especially when talking about money. At one point or another, most people have found themselves in a situation where they needed just a little more money to get what they were dying to have.

    But, just how far would the average worker go to get a bigger paycheck? Would they do something drastic like breakup with their significant other? How about something a little more watered down (for some at least) like giving up watching Game of Thrones?

    To gauge how far Americans would go to receive an immediate 10 percent raise in their annual wages or salaries, LendEDU asked 1,238 respondents a series of "would you rather" questions where they had to weigh making a steep sacrifice in order to get a nice pay bump. 

    Full Survey Results

    1,238 employed Americans were proposed 16  scenarios where they would receive an immediate 10% annual raise in salary if they agreed to the respective sacrifice listed in each question... 

    • 40.06% would give up dental care for the next five years
    • 12.2% would break up with their partner or significant other
    • 53.55% would give up all social media accounts for the next five years
    • 88.61% would give up watching Game of Thrones for life
    • 43.86% would give up exercise for the next five years
    • 34.98% would give up the right to vote in all elections for life
    • 9.13% would give up their child's or future child's right to vote in all elections for life
    • 73.42% would give up all alcoholic beverages for the next five years
    • 17.93% would give up Social Security benefits for the next two years
    • 18.9% would give up access to health insurance for the next five years
    • 50.65% would give up watching movies for the next three years
    • 55.9% would work an extra 10 hours per week for life
    • 15.27% would give up all of their vacation days for the next five years
    • 47.74% would give up all caffeinated products for the next two years
    • 50.4% would work one day every weekend for the next year
    • 5.33% would eat a single tide pod


    Working Americans are willing to resort to some drastic measures in order to get an immediate 10 percent raise in their annual salary.

    Right to Vote

    We found that 34.98 percent of Americans are ready to part ways with their right to vote. This was interesting because sometimes who you vote for impacts how much money you will make. 

    While more than one-third of respondents would give up the right to vote in order to receive a 10 percent raise, a lot less (9.13 percent) would give up their child's or future child's right to vote for the same benefit.

    Health- Related Sacrifices

    Apparently, oral hygiene takes a backseat to a salary increase for nearly half of all Americans because 40.06 percent would give up dental care for five years if it meant a 10 percent raise. This goes for physical fitness as well because 43.86 percent of poll participants would eliminate exercise for five years if they received a raise. The same cannot be said about health insurance or Social Security benefits, because only 18.9 percent and 17.93 percent would forgo those benefits for a pay bump, respectively. 

    Work Longer Hours

    U.S. employees would give a lot back to their employers if the latter decided to hand out 10 percent raises. 55.9 percent of respondents would work an extra 10 hours per week for the rest of their life it they could have their salary increased by 10 percent, while 50.4 percent would work one day every weekend for the next year. 

    That being said, vacation days are held sacred by workers; only 15.27 percent of poll participants would hand over five years worth of vacation days for a 10 percent raise in their salary.

    Giving Up Game of Thrones & Movies

    HBO's Game of Thrones is a record-breaking television show and has become an iconic part of 21st century pop-culture. Yet still, 88.61 percent of employed Americans would never watch the series again if it mean they would receive a 10 percent salary increase. In comparison, 50.65 percent of respondents would not watch a single movie for the next three years if they received the pay bump. In a previous survey, we found that 11.33 percent of student debtors were more stressed about Game of Thrones, vs. repaying their student loan debt.

    Slashing Social Meda

    On the subject of popular culture, everything is heard and processed through the realm of social media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or something else. And, LendEDU's survey found that 53.55 percent of working Americans would completely eliminate social media from their lives for the next five years if they received a 10 percent increase in their annual salary. 

    Take the Tide Pod Challenge

    If you have been on social media in the past few months, you have likely heard of or saw the "tide pod challenge," in which a person consumes a tide pod for....nothing, actually. Well, if respondents were getting something, say a 10 percent salary increase, 5.33 percent of them would in fact eat a tide pod. 

    Cut the Caffeine or Alcohol

    Speaking of consumption of things, 47.74 percent of poll participants stated they would give up all caffeinated products for the next two years for a 10 percent raise. Even more U.S. employees, 73.42 percent, would abstain from all alcoholic beverages for the next five years for the same reward. 

    Break Up With Your Significant Other

    Finally, a good number of those who participated in this survey were ready to take extremely drastic measures to get that 10 percent raise: break up with their partner or significant other. 12.2 percent of respondents said they would go through with this for the money because apparently love does cost a thing. 


    All data found within this report derives from an online poll commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by online polling company Pollfish. In total, 1,238 employed U.S. residents were surveyed on each of the 16 questions. The desired group of respondents was found via screener question; respondents had to be employed and residing in the U.S.. The survey ran over a four day span, starting on Mar. 26, 2018 and ending on Mar. 29, 2018. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their ability. 


    Author:  Mike Brown

    Source:  LendEDU

    Link:   https://lendedu.com/blog/what-would-you-do-for-a-raise/


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