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I Have the Data; Now What?

April 6, 2015

(Excerpt from the Total Rewards Solutions Newsletter, Fall 2011)

By now you should have received your data back from the salary surveys you participated in earlier this year. But now… what to do with all of that information?

You will want to start by ensuring you review your compensation strategy for your company. Do you wish to position yourself less than market, at market, or above market? Do you need a different compensation strategy for various divisions or various segments of employees? Is it easy for you to attract talent or do you have pockets where talent is scarce? How do you want your pay mix (base to variable) to be relative to where the market is?

Once you have solidified these decisions, you are ready to take your market data and begin to apply it to your employee data. You will want to look at your employees’ base data relative to the market position you want to be at as well as your employees’ total cash data relative to the market position you want to be at.

Additionally, you will want to review what your actual pay mix is vs. what the market data pay mix is. Once you know your position to market in base pay and total cash, you will be able to roll your data up by employee level, department, division, or even on a corporate level. Don’t forget to age your data before you apply it as many months go by between your submission and when you receive the results.

Lastly, you will want to look more closely at positions where the market movement has been significant and ensure you are keeping employees pay position relative to your desired compensation strategy.

Too much information and not enough time to analyze it? Total Reward Solutions can help you take your survey data, apply it to your jobs and analyze it for you. Have some positions you did not get data on and need help with obtaining data? Call us. We have market data available for many different industries.

Open Enrollment Time

Fourth quarter is typically when many companies are conducting open enrollment. Most of you are certainly seeing an increase in your health premiums for 2012. A recent Mercer study reported that health benefit costs are projected to slow to 5.4% in 2012. The 2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that premiums in 2011 increased 9% from 2010. The increase your company will receive depends on whether you are fully insured or self insured. For the most part, your increase is largely a part of your company’s claims experience. While some employers have seen an increase to include health care reform mandated screenings, it has only been in the 1-2% range to cover any additional screenings you have not previously covered. Kaiser further reports that American workers on average paid $4,129 and employers paid $10,944 toward annual family coverage premiums. For worker-only health coverage, premiums were $5,429 annually with the worker paying on average $921 towards their coverage. To review the Kaiser Family Foundation Report in more detail, visit Employer Health Benefits 2011 Annual Survey – Kaiser Family Foundation.

Are you going to need to change your plan design this year to lower your increased costs, increase your employee cost share, or implement other changes to your health plan? Total Reward Solutions is available to help you review your benefit design and assist you in looking at options to lower your cost for the upcoming year.

As you move through your open enrollment period, don’t forget your required annual disclosure notices.

Why A Compensation Audit?

Do you lie awake at night wondering if you are paying your employees in compliance with wage and hour laws?

Do you know when and how to pay overtime and which employees should receive overtime?

Do you have a pay philosophy and job description for every position?


Total Reward Solutions’ 21 Point Compensation Audit looks at:

  • Your Compensation Philosophy
  • Job Descriptions
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Overtime pay practices
  • Appropriate tax forms – W4, W9, etc.
  • Minimum Wage Laws
  • Recordkeeping
  • Posting Requirements
  • Policies that are well defined
  • And, much more

For a small investment, you will receive a summary of findings along with any recommended actions you may want to take to shore up your compliance with wage and hour laws. Call us at 317-855-7135 or email us at customerservice@totalrsolutions.com to schedule your 21 Point Compensation Audit.

Merit Budgets and Salary Structure Adjustments

Merit Budgets

All indicators are pointing to a 2.9-3.0% merit increase budget on average for 2012. The same is true on average for the state of Indiana. However, we should not stop analyzing the data there. You will want to look into data for your specific industry to see what is being projected by the other companies in your industry for which you compete for talent. For example, healthcare on average is only projecting a 2.5% increase while retail and wholesale trade is projecting a 3.0% increase. You really want to consider three things when you are making a merit decision for your company.

The first should be what can your company afford to increase its wage base, the second should be what is the market doing in your industry, and the third should be what other investments are you making in people whether that be training, benefits, technology, etc. A merit increase decision is a very personal decision for each company. Market information simply helps us to make that decision.

A salary structure adjustment is another area where a company needs to make a decision each year as to how much it will increase its salary structure or if it will increase it at all. All data is pointing to a 2% increase on average for salary structure adjustments for 2012. Again, this is a very personal decision for each company. This decision should be made in relation to your merit budget decision. You do not want to move your salary structure at the same pace as your overall merit budget as it limits your employees’ opportunity to penetrate their pay range. Need help with how to set your merit budget for 2012 or how to use your merit dollars with a lower merit budget; Total Reward Solutions can help you design solutions to these issues.

Case Study

We are currently conducting a research study for one of our clients on hourly employees who receive either productivity or incentive pay in a distribution/warehouse environment.

If you have hourly employees in a distribution/warehouse environment and would like to participate in this study and receive a free report, please contact us at customerservice@totalrsolutions.com.

360° Management Seminar Series

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Ivy Tech Community College to deliver a series of seminars on marketing management, human resources management, and top tools of management. There are three classes in each session and you can register for a session or a series. This is a great way to get some low cost training for yourself or other employees.


Cassandra Faurote

Cassandra Faurote is a seasoned human resources consultant with 25+ years in the human resources field and was employed with several employers in Indianapolis to include the industries of insurance, banking, credit union, and medical devices, prior to starting Total Reward Solutions in 2005.  Total Reward Solutions is a consulting company focused on helping clients in the areas of compensation and benefits, performance management, and reward/recognition programs.  TRS has worked with companies from 40 to 4,000 employees and in well over 20 industries.  Born in Dayton, Ohio, Cassandra has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University and holds three certifications to include Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Professional affiliations include being a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, World at Work, and Indy SHRM.   Cassandra served on the board for Total Rewards Indiana for seven years. She has taught in the human resources certificate program at IUPUI and has also authored an article in Workspan, a World at Work publication, on 10 Ways to Use Your Merit Dollars.  Cassandra is a frequent speaker at the Indiana State Human Resources Conference and is also a speaker for various human resources and compensation groups.  Cassandra currently serves on the Board for the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.



Posted Under: Surveys