Friday, September 30, 2005

Explaining Pay Raises

How often in HR have you had to smooth over some ruffled feathers with an employee who is upset about his or her pay increase?

You might want to share with them an article on HRWhatnot called How to Maximize Your Pay Raise. This article explains to the layperson how he can improve his increase and provides information on grading systems including a simple explanation of compa ratios. (How the employee is paid relative to market.)

I'm not sure why in HR the grading and rating compensation methods tend to be shrouded in secrecy. This article does a nice job of removing the mystery by providing employees with a list of 14 things they can do to improve their chances of increasing their compensation.

The 14 points covered in the article include:
- Do an Outstanding Job

- Understand Your Rating System

- Toot Your Own Horn

- Don't Discount Alternatives

- Know Your Market

- Do More than Expected

Getting this information to employees in advance might save those of us in HR the headaches of trying to explain this one-on-one to an already disgruntled employee. As the saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ask Questions

A fun reminder from A.J. Vasaris of Value Management Partners to always ask questions and never assume:
The owner of a large factory decided to make a surprise visit and check up on his staff. Walking though the plant, he noticed a young man leaning lazily against a post.

"Just how much are you being paid a week?" said the owner angrily.

"Three hundred bucks," replied the young man.

Taking out a fold of bills from his wallet, the owner counted out $300, slapped the money into the boy's hands, and said "Here's a week's pay —- now get out and don't come back!"

Turning to one of the supervisors, he said "How long has that lazy bum been working here anyway?"

"He doesn't work here," said the supervisor. "He was just here to deliver a pizza!"

A.J. runs a great blog about project management that can be found: here

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Power and Challenges of Group Wisdom

It seems I always learn something new whenever I read an article from organizational performance expert Francisco Dao. Once again Francisco has written a brilliant article published in Across the Board magazine, a Conference Board publication. This article, Strength in Numbers, discusses how companies can benefit from harnessing group thinking and how most corporate cultures, be they team oriented or competitive, by their very nature stifle the power of collective wisdom.

Of particular interest to me is the notion that having a group of really smart people is not a requirement for successful group thinking. In fact it is a hindrance. According to Dao, studies have shown that a diverse group of thinkers of random intelligence outperforms a select group of smart thinkers every time. The general concept at work here is that diversity in thought creates more alternatives to consider. Like minded thinkers tend to reinforce each other's thoughts rather than consider new ways of looking at things.

Dao also explains how a team environment can work against the sharing of diverse opinions even among a diverse group of people.
The team concept based on fostering familiarity and friendly cooperation between employees, often results in congeniality taking precedence over the introduction of ideas that might prove unpopular...When this happens, action takes a back seat to talk, and meetings become less about solving problems than about finding agreement.

One solution that is presented is to focus the team on a company goal. With a set goal, the team can focus on unity of purpose rather than unity of team for its own sake.

Read the article for lots more on this subject. Click here.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Most Important Metric

This from a Letter to the Editor in the August 15th CIO magazine:
I believe the most important metric to a successful organization might in fact be the "laugh metric." Pause and count the number of times you hear laughter - jolly, heartfelt laughter - in your organizations during the course of the day. I would bet my salary that the financial performance of any given company is directly proportional to that company's laugh metric. -Dale Sanders, VP and CIO
And from an IT person no less! We're making progress.