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Dear Workforce How Do We Develop Employees' Pay, Even Though We Don't Have Many Opportunities?

Training/staff development has not been a major focus. Now some employees have asked us to help them increase their base pay (merits or COLA are not guaranteed) by preparing for better jobs within our organization. However, our budget is limited and we don't really have that many internal promotions. What other ways might we develop these people--knowing full well it might prepare them for jobs outside our organization?
September 9, 2005
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Related Topics: The HR Profession, Salary Surveys, Compensation Design and Communication, Corporate Culture, Policies and Procedures, Dear Workforce, Compensation
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Dear Afraid:
 
Preparing employees for positions outside your organization is always a risk. It is, however, a risk worth taking. The recruiting, retention and increased productivity far outweigh this concern.
Let's first address the limited internal promotions. With a small or flat organization, an upwardly mobile path is not as evident or feasible. Therefore you may want to encourage alternative career paths, transfers between departments and/or enhancement of current positions. Clearly identify and communicate how this can benefit individuals as well as your organization.
Next, you'll need to identify the basic competencies (knowledge, skills and behaviors) associated with the various departments or positions. This provides the roadmap for employees to explore other areas of interest. By conducting a self-assessment, employees can begin to identify their strengths and transferable skills, as well as identify their development needs.
Developing staff need not always involve a costly training program. There are several other areas to explore, including:
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • New projects/task-force assignments
  • Developing skills through external volunteer experiences
  • Self-study
The compensation is the trickiest part of this equation. If employees are enhancing their skills, yet still hold the same or similar position, it's not practical to increase base pay or start down the slippery slope of skill-based pay. However, this should prepare them for the opportunity to move up within the organization when a need arises, thus providing increased compensation.
In the meantime, find out what other benefits your employees value besides compensation. Is it recognition? Additional time off? Spot bonuses? Ask everyone individually what motivates them. Each person is different, and even if the majority prefer one thing (e.g.recognition), many individuals may prefer something else.
SOURCE: Lisa Sprenkle, Senior Consultant,Capital H Group, Chicago, November 4, 2004.
LEARN MORE: How Could We Help Employees Develop Career Plans?
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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Dear Workforce Newsletter
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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