✍ What do you think about a candidate asking a company what their written compensation philosophy is during the interview process?

  Marnie Robbins, Founder of VibeHRC: 

IMO, asking about a company’s written compensation philosophy is both shrewd and acceptable. Compensation philosophy’s are a great indicator of a company’s approach to people. When written well, these philosophy’s include where compensation lies within the entire value proposition for employees.
And anyway, in today’s world of work, pay transparency is where it’s at. So why shouldn’t compensation philosophies be part of that?

  Cherylynn Mazura, Head of HR at Tata Consumer Products: 

I think the question is reasonable. For me, it would be more about how and when in the process the question was asked? Are they professional about it? Are they asking because they are genuinely interested in the company and how they value their employees?  Ultimately, I think it can be valuable and insightful for both the organization and the candidate. First, that level of transparency can be an important factor in building trust. Also, it can help the organization and candidate determine whether or not there is mutual alignment on key factors such as compensation, values, company culture, etc.

✍ How do you have a salary reduction conversation?

Context: We are a mid-sized manufacturing company 38 employees. We have a sales team that has established accounts (no cold calls) and they’ve been here since we were a small company. Now that we’ve grown post covid, the commission rates that once seemed reasonable are out of control. They’re making 4-5% on all sales (not just off profit) For perspective two sales people are making 3/4 of our total payroll for the company. We need to spread the wealth and reign them in but how do we approach the conversation. It won’t be easy or pretty, but any advice is appreciated.

  Anessa Fike, CEO & Founder at Fike + Co: 

I’d recommend a stepped approach of increasing base a bit over a period of time and decreasing commission. Perhaps you can plan to do a salary increase in 3 months and then decrease commission, and then tell them commissions will be decreasing again another 3 months after that. You’d want employees to be able to plan accordingly for their own financial situation. I will say though that this could drive up attrition and recruiting costs so you may want to run those numbers as well- as it may not be worth it to change right now if recruiting costs will be more.

  Elizabeth Clarke, Senior HR Business Partner at Environmental Health and Engineering: 

I’d recommend having at least two separate conversations. The purpose of the first one is to “rip the band aide”, communicate how the current pay structure isn’t sustainable, and reinforce that you appreciate their efforts and would value their input as you develop a new structure (If they are involved in the process, you’ll get the buy-in you want for a successful transition). Giving them time to share their initial grievances (without management getting defensive) will help them process. Then, once they’ve had time to process, the second meeting can be used to start developing a new structure that they can get behind.

Hebba Youssef
Hebba Youssef

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