What Employees Value More than Salary, According to Glassdoor

Salary is important, but it’s not the only thing that contributes to job satisfaction. New research from Glassdoor reveals what makes people happiest at their jobs and how it varies depending on income.

Glassdoor wanted to see how employee values change as their income changes. What workplace factors do employees workers value overall, and how does it change with salary increases? To answer this, Glassdoor looked at their own data: salary reports and company reviews from over 600,000 users. They looked at six different factors: culture & values, senior leadership, career opportunities, business outlook, work-life balance and compensation & benefits.

They used the “Shapley Value” analysis method to see how various factors change the overall outlook. They explain: (For more, click here.)

How does your job satisfaction track with the six workplace factors described in this article? How could this data be applied to deal with employee retention and turnover at your organization?

How Much Does Employee Turnover Really Cost?

People are companies’ most important assets. We’ve all known this for a long time, but 1) we pay it lip service more often than we try to do something about it, and 2) it’s true more now than ever.

The rise of technology and the information age has resulted in more companies that compete based primarily on their people. This isn’t only true for technology companies like Facebook and Google; as software continues to eat the world and the pace of business increases, nearly all companies will live and die by their continual ability to innovate.

Despite the fact that most organizations know that their long term advantage resides in their people, most companies don’t think critically about how to increase employee retention.

In this post, I’ll argue that the core reason people don’t think about employee retention seriously enough is because they don’t know how to measure the impact. I’ll then share some frameworks for how you might associate dollar values with regrettable turnover, and once I’ve (hopefully) convinced you that this matters, give you some actionable ideas for improving the state of affairs. (For more, click here.)

Use the spreadsheet provided in the blog post to get a sense of what the costs look like for your organization. Then think through how you could apply the growth, impact, and care factors the author describes to those turnover issues. Describe for us what you think the impact would be on your organization.

Lawmaker Seeks Locality Pay Parity Between Blue and White Collar Feds

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., introduced a bill last week that would seek parity between how salaried and hourly federal employees are paid depending on where they live. The Locality Pay Equity Act (H.R. 4039) would direct the Office of Personnel Management to adopt a unified map for determining locality pay for both blue and white collar federal workers. In effect, OPM would apply the current locality pay boundaries used for General Schedule employees to hourly workers.

Stephen Coffey, a legislative staffer for Cartwright, said that currently, while salaried feds are compensated more if they live in or near cities, hourly workers are compensated based on an outdated system with smaller boundaries for cities and based in part on major military installations. “Essentially, white collar locality boundaries are drawn based on metropolitan markets, but blue collar boundaries are drawn according to arcane military installation placements from the 1950s,” he said.

In some parts of the United States, a General Schedule fed and a colleague who is paid hourly… (for more, click here.)

Do you think Representative Cartwright’s bill would solve a problem for the federal government’s blue-collar workers? Do you think that the system should be left unchanged or are there other changes that would help agencies better recruit for these jobs?

Pay for Performance: Where Do We Go From Here?

Pay for Performance: Where Do We Go From Here?

Can the General Schedule help supervisors pay for performance?

The concept of pay for performance has taken some hits recently. In September 2008, the Government Accountability Office questioned whether the Department of Defense’s (DoD) performance management system had the necessary safeguards to ensure the system is fair, effective, and credible. This system serves as the basis of DoD’s pay for performance system. On October 2, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it was rescinding application of its new human resources system—including the pay for performance component. In an October letter to the President of the American Federation of Government Employees, then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama called into question whether the DoD pay for performance system should be implemented due to existing concerns about the system.

Given these developments, it is a good time to reflect on why pay for performance has faced so many challenges and where the Government might go from here. Over the last 10 years or so, there have been a number of attempts to change the way Federal employees are compensated, most notably at DHS and DoD. One of the recurring themes has been to provide a greater link between the quality of work an employee does and his or her salary.

Proponents have claimed pay for performance has many advantages. They say it can be a fairer way to pay because the highest performers receive the highest compensation, providing agencies with greater ability to attract and retain “the best and the brightest.” Also, they believe pay for performance can incentivize poor and marginal performers to either improve or move on.

While the pay for performance concept has a number of features that are intuitively attractive, there have been implementation issues that have limited widespread acceptance of the concept. For pay for performance systems to operate as intended, employees must trust their supervisors’ ability and willingness to provide fair assessments of their performance. This trust can be built through training, collaboration in the development of performance expectations, transparency in the pay determination process, and ultimately what is perceived as a successful implementation of the system.

But do these challenges mean that the  Government must abandon the concept of pay for performance? Maybe not. Believe it or not, the General Schedule was originally intended to have many pay for performance features. The merit system principles call for employees to receive equal pay for work of equal value, as well as appropriate incentives and recognition for excellence in performance. In short, this means employees should be paid based upon how well they perform the work required of them.

But how can this be done within the constraints of the General Schedule? There are actually several tools agencies can use. First, agencies must ensure that supervisors have an awards budget that allows them to provide meaningful recognition of superior performance. In turn, supervisors must use their award budgets judiciously and not simply spread awards across the office to all staff, as is often done.

Another tool supervisors can use to recognize performance is the quality step increase (QSI). In many organizations, this type of award is seldom used. While supervisors certainly should not pass out QSIs indiscriminately, their strategic use can be a valuable way of recognizing and reinforcing superior performance.

While not directly related to performance, agencies can also use pay to manage the retention of their top employees. They can pay employees a retention incentive under certain conditions when the employees are likely to leave for another Federal or private sector job. This authority is also rarely used.

On the other side of the scale, pay for performance should mean withholding rewards for poor performance. Specifically, supervisors should be more willing to withhold within-grade step increases from employees who are not performing at an adequate level. Unfortunately, the data suggest that few supervisors are willing to do so.

I do not mean to suggest that the civil service should cease efforts to modernize the compensation system. Rather, if agencies believe that pay for performance is the better way of compensating employees, then they can begin by making better use of the pay for performance elements of the General Schedule. In fact, by using the options that are currently available to them in an appropriate and transparent manner, supervisors may be able to demonstrate to employees that they can be trusted to make fair decisions that affect their subordinates’ pay, thus laying the groundwork for more comprehensive compensation reform. ¯

Reprinted from Issues of Merit, a publication of the Office of Policy and Evaluation, U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.


FLSA Decisions Cost Agencies Millions

Recent fedsmith.com articles discuss the number of recent arbitration decisions that have gone against Federal agencies and have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in overtime payments to bargaining unit employees wrongly designated as exempt from the FLSA. The overtime and associated costs paid by multiple Federal agencies in arbitration decisions or in settlements reached by the parties has been truly staggering and should trigger in federal agencies the need to ensure that all individuals making decisions that relate to FLSA–the HR specialists who determine FLSA exemption status and the managers and supervisors who assign and track work hours–know how to apply FLSA requirements. Has your agency yet re-evaluated your FLSA designations and reviewed how they are applied by managers and supervisors?