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January 29, 2010
Is it Vitally Important to Train Managers and Supervisors in Pay Policies?

In a BLR webinar entitled "Where's My Raise? How to Handle Tough Pay Conversations With Employees," Theresa Murphy of HR Partner Advantage and David Wudkyka of Westminster Associates advised that, even if you decide not to share more details with your workers about pay policies, it's absolutely critical that you train your frontline managers and supervisors.

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For example, consider holding one 90-minute training session early in the year (or less often, if your supervisor turnover is quite low) to cover these five major points:

  • The company's compensation philosophy and how it is driven by the business mission and strategies, the organizational design and structure, and the critical skills and people needed.
  • The role of job descriptions in delineating duties and responsibilities, determining exempt and nonexempt status, and facilitating pay comparisons.
  • The company's pay ranges, including how they are determined, such as by market surveys, benchmarking, maintaining internal equity, and other factors.
  • Understanding the competition by including salary and benefit comparisons. Present the organization's total compensation (or rewards) package, explain the minimum, mid-point, and maximum in pay ranges, and talk about the role of skills in placing employees in the range.
  • How salary increase decisions are made: on the basis of an annual budget, prevailing economic conditions, and individual performance.

If your supervisors understand how pay levels are set and raises are determined, they can head off many uninformed complaints from their workers before those complaints fester and get out of control!

Theresa Murphy is the principal consultant for HR Partner Advantage, an independent human resources advisory firm based in Raleigh, N.C. She may be contacted at tmurphy@hrpartneradvantage.com. David Wudyka is the founder and managing principal of Westminster Associates, a Massachusetts-based human resource and compensation firm that specializes in pay, performance and productivity issues. He may be contacted at dwudyka@westminsterassociates.com .

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