Portion Control

Say hello to our new Compensation Contributor, Meghann Helman Bedell…self-admitted compensation geek and keeper of the flame at GenYHR.

This is it…the one time each year when we suck it up and ask for more money. It seems reasonable; you work hard, you showed up on time, you definitely deserve more than Charlie, why would you be denied? Could it really be as a simple as “yes” or “no” from your manager? It’s not like you’re asking for a big raise, it’s only a few more dollars per week.

You are not alone.  Actually, this time of year it is very common for employees to begin to look at their compensation and wonder what the New Year could possibly hold for them.  It’s also the time of year when businesses begin to look at their finances and being to plan for their new fiscal year.

The foundation of employee compensation can be explained in the laws that the government has put into place like this one, that one and this other one.  Companies are incentivized to do their absolute best to make sure that their pay practices are fair and equitable. If companies are found to be in violation of these laws, then the consequences can be very severe and expensiveportion-control

Working in HR, I often hear the following phrase “This is a big company; they make enough money to pay me another $.50/hr”. It’s understandable not to understand all of the nuances that effect compensation when you do not work with it every day. So, it should be no surprise that there are applicants, employees and even random people who actually believe this statement. These people have come to some sort of random conclusion that compensation is just their base rate of pay, and that the company that they work for or want to work for is just being plain greedy.

Let’s take a look at this logically.  If your position is a 40 hour per week position, then a $.50/hr increase to your base rate of pay would be an additional $1,040/year. If your company is nice enough to offer you benefits, then please remember to add on the expense for your benefits. This expense is approximately 15% – 33% of your annual salary (please note that this is an estimated/average cost and the actual percentage will depend on the company). Don’t forget if your employer has a retirement program (pension plan/401(k) or 403(b) match program), then that would be an additional 5%-10% annually (estimated).  Also, please add in the increased cost of any shift differential, overtime, on-call pay, holiday pay, sick time off, vacation time, preceptor pay, education pay, etc ……these would all be costs incurred by the company.

Finished doing the math? How much does it come out to be? I bet it’s a little more than you originally thought, right!

When you are finally get up enough nerve to have a compensation discussion with your boss again, just remember to keep in mind what that company invests in you already.  I’m sure you are worth that extra money, but make sure you let your boss know that you are appreciative and understand the monetary commitment that the company has made to you at this point.

Besides, Charlie is probably lying about what he’s making, so to hell with him.


HR; Are we Innovative? Or Having a Mid-Life Crisis?

This past weekend, I attended #HRevolution in Grapevine, TX. Being somewhat of an introvert, this was a good stretch assignment for me (assigned by me) in my continuing efforts to learn more about “What’s Next?” in Human Resources. Great group of highly intelligent and passionate people choosing to spend their Saturday afternoon debating the various components of recruiting, social media, branding, big data – it’s a scene man.

But something about the experience felt strangely familiar to me. It took me a few days to figure out the nagging feeling I was trying to define, and then it hit me – I have been here before; HR is going through a mid-life crisis.

If you use the creation of the AAI (now HRCI) as the official birthday of the modern version of HR, then we sit at the ripe old age of 40. If you haven’t seen the number 40 on your birthday cake, trust me, it’s more than “just a number.”

It’s a watershed moment in your life, and quite possibly the first time you’ve stopped to take inventory of who you are, where you are, and how you feel about yourself. And it’s not always pretty.

You know what that means? Ridiculous t-shirts by Affliction and Ed Hardy, a new car we can’t afford, and a general over-reaction to our newly discovered mortality. Instead of focusing on the truly important things in life, we start looking at our neighbor’s Harley. Our goals change as we become dis-satisfied and unhappy with our lot in life, and we want change. Our definition of success is re-defined; we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see.

Or, if you’re a man, you simply seek ways to feel cool and relevant rather than a boring middle-age dude. How else do you explain the number of Corvette convertibles with vanity plates?

I see some of that in the HR community right now…we are, in many respects, trying to out-clever ourselves. We want new, exciting, strategic, sexy things, even at the expense of losing touch with reality for a while. We want to be edgy and innovative, even “disruptive” but it can come off as a plea for attention.

This is not an indictment of anyone in particular; I fully accept my own proclivity for chasing the shiny object rather than investing in an IRA. This is a reminder, maybe only to myself, to remember what got us here in the first place. We are a service function for the people in the organization, and we’re damn good at it. Whether or not we’re recognized as being cool shouldn’t really matter.

Let’s don’t let our obsession with a strategic vision compromise the foundation we’ve worked so hard to build. We don’t need change for the sake of change, proceed with caution.

And for the love of God, stay away from skinny jeans.

Do We Get What We Deserve?

#Election2014. Thank God that’s over.

Howdy Texans, we have a new Governor! For those of you who care, Greg Abbott won the gubernatorial vote over Wendy Davis in a bit of a landslide.

I’m thrilled.

Not necessarily by Mr. Abbott’s election, but by the fact my television watching experience will no longer include the pathetic attempts by both parties to demean and dehumanize the opposition.

I can’t speak to the elections in other areas of the country, but I can tell you that in Texas, it’s downright nasty.

Here’s the saddest part of the tactic of mud-slinging…it works. It must work, right? Why in the world would the same under-handed tactics be re-employed every election year? Am I continually left with a choice of a candidate who hates America vs. one who hates children? The commercials become more comical as the election grows nearer as any guise of “fair play” is a fart in the wind. Here’s an example of the garbage we are expected to ingest, compliments of Ms. Davis.

According to ThisNation.com, Americans are largely opposed to these ads, but it’s almost expected that candidates will twist the truth; or, as your mother refers to it – LIE. We’re numb to the fact that the candidates we elect to office are actively lying in their respective efforts to gain office. The unfortunate part of this tactic is they aren’t lying about their own accomplishments, they choose to lie about the opponent’s shortcomings.

I was having this conversation with a fellow staffing professional and related this to the interview process; what if, instead of the question “what are your greatest strengths?”, we asked “what are the other candidates worst qualities (btw, don’t worry, we know you’re going to hyperbolize, but still…).”

What kind of employee would you end up with? (Now, if you will, take a look at Washington, DC.)

We deserve better.