In the past year, Zappos received about 31,000 applications, and only hired about 1.5% of the applicants. This prevented the company’s small recruiting team from “working in a purposeful way,” according to Mike Bailen, senior HR manager. Thus, the onus here will really be on the candidate to make him or herself stand out from the crowd in a much less impersonal setting.
"Yesterday’s Advisor featured BLR legal editor Jasmin Rojas’ take on Zappos’ new approach to recruiting—all on social media, no postings. In this issue, more of her thoughts about how you may learn from their initiative."
"The metrics you keep may be meaningful to you, but will they be meaningful to management? Is the analysis you provide to the C-suite in line with the strategic plan? Is it information that is useful in strategic decision making? If not, how can that be changed?"
Metrics let people make decisions based on objective information rather than simply guessing or going by instinct. Metrics also let people know what is important to the organization, since a metric that is tracked will be analyzed.
HR metrics have historically often focused on the past. For example, HR metrics often include things like turnover or time to hire. These data are useful but look only at raw info depicting what has happened, as opposed to assessing the “why” behind the data. Assessing the “why” is what will allow business leaders to make decisions accordingly. This is where HR professionals have an opportunity to change what metrics are presented and really make a strategic impact for the organization.
"Wage compression (when lower-level or less-experienced comp bumps up against or exceeds the comp of higher-level or more-experienced employees) is a bit of a nightmare, and few comp managers avoid it."
The first thing to recognize about compression is that there are no secrets at work, says consultant Brown. People are going to find out what other people make. They may talk openly or it may be relatively innocent, he adds. For example, your life insurance is half of salary, and employees are sitting at lunch discussing insurance. The employee says, “I have $25,000 and I don’t think that’s enough.” Everyone listening now knows this person makes $50,000.
"Yesterday’s Advisor covered straight and hurdle-rate profit-sharing; today, goal-driven profit-sharing plans."
[Go here for 1. Straight and 2. Hurdle-Rate Profit Sharing]
3. Goal-Driven Profit-Sharing Plans
In a goal-driven profit-sharing plan, profits are used to establish an incentive opportunity, but employees also must earn that opportunity, based on achieving other goals. These other goals are broad corporate goals, rather than unit operational goals, which are used to highlight and focus all employees on the important behaviors for business success.
"A profit-sharing plan is a group incentive plan that includes all employees in an organization and that focuses on overall business unit profit (or a similar bottom-line financial goal). What are the advantages and disadvantages?"
- Funded from profits, so there is low risk for the company.
- Can be used to supplement company retirement contributions.
- Can be linked to company objectives other than profit.
- Provide an opportunity to train employees on financial measures and the operational business factors that affect those measures.
- Easy to integrate with suggestion plans and other reward and recognition systems.
- Can be either pay-at-risk or add-on programs.
"In yesterday’s Advisor, we offered guidelines for the minefield of FMLA leave for children 18 and older. Today, concrete examples from DOL of how to manage this leave, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."
My 20-year-old daughter has been put on bed rest because of her high-risk pregnancy. I am the only one available to care for her. Can I take FMLA leave for this reason?
Maybe. In order to take FMLA leave to care for your adult daughter, she must be incapable of self-care due to a disability and you must be needed to care for her because of a serious health condition. While any incapacity due to pregnancy will be a serious health condition for FMLA purposes, pregnancy itself is not a disability. However, pregnancy-related impairments may be considered disabilities if they substantially limit a major life activity.
"In yesterday’s Advisor we offered tips for handling the difficult situation: high potential employees low on the career ladder who are antsy because Boomers won’t retire. Today, more tips, plus an introduction to the unique guide just for HR “Lone Rangers”—the one-person HR departments."
Here are some more tips for managing HIPOs (high potentials):
- Increase risk and reward. This might mean giving more at-risk salary in the form of bigger bonuses or incentive pay for outstanding performance. Having more say over final take-home pay can allow HIPOs to feel more in charge of their career outcome, even if the title isn’t changing immediately.
- Provide development opportunities. This might include training programs, conference attendance, certification opportunities, and more. The key is to ensure that there are continual opportunities to gain new skills and grow. Look both externally and internally within the organization for ideas.
- Give them a mentor. There are people in the organization who can help these employees learn, grow, and better understand the organization as a whole. Be sure to choose the mentor wisely—he or she should be a good match on an individual level, not just chosen at random. This can be difficult to implement, but pays off when done well.
- Keep a performance review schedule. Even in organizations with a performance management system firmly embedded, it’s easy to let employee performance reviews take a back seat. Don’t let that happen. Especially for HIPOs, getting feedback on performance can be invaluable when it comes to staying motivated. Performance management can include discussions about career progression and development as well, as we noted above.
- Ensure the HIPOs’ supervisors are on-board with these efforts. Many of the above programs will fall apart without the active management by the direct supervisor of the HIPO employee. Work with your supervisors on all of these steps to ensure everyone is on the same page. If necessary, move HIPO employees outside of the standard organizational system and allow them to report to someone else in the organization when doing so makes sense for that individual.
- The key to all of this is showing HIPO employees how much they matter to the organization. By following some of the above strategies, employers can make a big impact and reduce the likelihood of turnover among HIPOs, even without fast career progression.
"Yesterday’s Advisor told how to deal with red circles; today, determining salary increases plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com®."
Once you’ve got a salary increase matrix (see below), determining increases should be simple—but it’s not.
Several approaches are commonly used for determining salary increases.
- Performance/merit systems are the most common.
- Across-the-board or general increases are often tied to increases in the cost-of-living index.
- For unionized employees, the collective bargaining agreement will include a negotiated provision for wage increases that usually includes a fixed general annual increase that may be combined in some instances with merit provisions and cost-of-living escalators that add to the across-the-board increase when the cost-of-living index goes up more than a predetermined amount.
- Many employers utilize a grid system with low, middle, and high ranges to determine what an employee’s wage should be based on job performance and current salary.
"Yesterday’s Advisor featured consultant Allan Benowitz on why you shouldn’t measure satisfaction. Today, the do’s and don’ts of engagement surveys, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."
Benowitz, who is the vice president of Growth and Development at The Employee Engagement Group, offered his expert tips on engagement surveys in a recent webcast offered by BLR.
Six Reasons to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey
- Demonstrate your concern about employee issues.
- Find out what’s stressing your workforce (gives you an opportunity to act).
- Involve employees in getting the company through the recession. (How do we save? Process improvements, customer service improvements, etc.)
- Retain your best employees.
- Develop your future strategy (learn useful things to help in introducing changes, gain new ideas).
- Better your bottom line. (Surveying, involving, and engaging your employees are much cheaper than replacing your best people.)