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Labour Complexity

How Salary Transparency Empowers Employees – And When Not To Use It

Many companies resist the idea of sharing employee salaries, but this information public could be the most empowering thing those companies have done.

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In a 2016 Glassdoor report, only 36 percent of employees surveyed worldwide said their companies were transparent about salary – but almost twice that number, 70 percent, agreed with the statement that open discussion of pay boosts employee satisfaction and overall business success.

In fact, social media company Buffer has proven the positive effect pay transparency can have on a company. When Buffer set up shop, its leaders decided to post all employee salaries on the company’s public blog.

Everyone – from the CEO to an entry-level worker – could see what his or her colleagues were taking home.

To many readers, this level of salary transparency may seem problematic, but in fact Buffer grew its staff from 10 to 65 employees in six years. Company officials say conflicts around salary are rare. When all employees can see how much worth the company places on any given role, no one wants to be called out for slacking off.

Another interesting point: A recent PayScale survey of more than 70,000 employees found that people surveyed said they were less likely to quit their jobs when they understood how their pay was determined. Even employees making below-market wages can be persuaded to stay when the reasons for the discrepancy are transparent.

Related: How To Structure A Fair Salary That Will Motivate Your Sales Team

In the PayScale survey, 82 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with their jobs once they understand why were being paid less than they might be at a different company.

Salary transparency is not for everyone

Salary transparency isn’t the best strategy for all companies: Some executives simply aren’t comfortable making pay information so public. This is often true with startups, which sometimes struggle to pay employees competitive salaries.

Many entrepreneurs, whether they’re connected to start-ups or long-time companies, work on a shoestring budget; so when funds are limited, they instead offer unique employee benefits.

In addition, salary transparency may be a bad idea because it can raise conflicts based on assumptions about finances, abilities and how much someone is doing at work. While one employee may take longer to complete a task than another employee, the output might be the same.

In these circumstances, making salary data public could create animosity.

The practice could also inadvertently punish your rock star employees. If they have to fix a problem created by someone who makes more money, they may feel undervalued.

The most important factor for entrepreneurs, then, is to keep the team focused on keeping the company’s doors open – because conflicts combined with a loss in productivity could lead to no pay cheques for anyone.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Setting Your Own Salary

How to instill confidence in employees in other ways

confidence-in-employees

While salary transparency is not always the best option for every startup, there are other ways to boost employees’ confidence in their pay rate. Here are three:

1. Salary ranges for each position

salary range offers a minimum and maximum pay rate for each role, as well as several mid-range rates. Such documents, listing companies’ pay figures based on market-pay studies, are often similar in describing employees with comparative responsibilities in a given region of the country.

And they can be reassuring to job-seekers: Because most job-seekers today conduct online salary research, salary ranges based on regional and market factors assure them they’ll be compensated appropriately.

My own business takes a salary-range approach and offers percentage-based bonus structures to employees. This means that workers are compensated based on the percentage of tasks and projects completed within a specific time frame.

2. Project management software

Clear communication about tasks and responsibilities can streamline an organisation and keep employees informed about who is completing which tasks. Knowing that everyone is being productive helps employees see that, regardless of the numbers on a pay cheque, everyone is earning his or her keep.

Project management software can help entrepreneurs relay information to their teams efficiently and keep clients informed. Clearly laying out a company’s tasks and assigning them to the correct person can ensure that everything is distributed evenly and in an organised manner.

My team’s project management software allows us to see what’s on everyone’s plate so we know what everyone is working on – and who’s not producing. We also assign time frames to each portion of a project. Once a project is marked “completed,” we know who worked on what across the project’s development.

Related: The Salary Dilemma: Should You Be Open About Employee Pay?

3. One-on-one meetings

Nothing beats an in-person one-on-one meeting, especially with so many of us communicating digitally. Face-to-face meetings help build strong relationships with employees and show individuals they’re valuable to the company.

I’ve always had an open-door policy, but I found that employees sometimes feel uncomfortable interrupting me during the workday. So, I started hosting regular one-on-one meetings with everyone, allowing me to get to know each person and gauge his or her individual satisfaction levels.

These discussions often naturally drift to the topic of compensation because of our bonus structure. And here, I want everyone to feel rewarded for putting in effort, just as  I want everyone to have the opportunity to correct or self-evaluate when there’s an obvious lack of productivity.

Overall, the most important thing entrepreneurs can do for their companies is show employees how much their contributions are valued. This is particularly vital in the early stages. That’s why instilling confidence in employees about what they’re being paid and why can be essential for attracting the best talent and keeping it around.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Daniel Wesley is a Florida-based entrepreneur whose degree is in nuclear medicine. His work has been featured in many distinguished publications, including Entrepreneur and Time magazine. He is currently the chief evangelist at Quote.com and writes for both Credit Loan and debtconsolidation.com.

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Labour Complexity

Why Employees Need Funeral Cover

Why your employees need funeral cover – the macabre topic you didn’t think you needed to discuss.

Amy Galbraith

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Being the boss is difficult. You need to be sure that your company is running smoothly, keep customers happy and ensure that your employees are satisfied and content. One effective way to keep your employees satisfied is to offer them benefits such as a medical aid, life insurance or funeral cover.

Group scheme funeral cover is especially important to employees as the costs of funerals continue to rise. If you are interested in offering this to your employees, read on below for just some of the reasons why your employees need funeral cover.

The cost of a funeral

If you have not planned a funeral recently, then you will not be aware of how costly they can become. Even if you water it down to the basics, a funeral is an expensive endeavour. Often you will see people struggling to put together the funds to pay for a funeral of a loved one, which could be the case for one of your employees.

Sometimes, employees will put finances together for their coworker, so the family can use these funds towards the funeral. This is especially true if the employee was the sole breadwinner of their family. Getting funeral cover for your employees will alleviate this burden and allow their friends and families to grieve in peace.

Related: Sick and Tired of Employees being Sick and Tired?

There are fewer exclusions

There are usually exclusions for funeral cover but, for group scheme funeral cover, there are significantly fewer. In some cases, your employees do not have to undergo a medical exam and if they are smokers, they will not have to pay a higher premium than the other employees.

Unlike individual funeral cover, group scheme funeral cover works on the principle of pooled risk, it is available to all employees regardless of their health status. If one of your employees has high cholesterol, they will not be excluded from the cover. Similarly, if someone has diabetes, they will not be excluded. This is a fantastic aspect if your employee is the sole person who works in their family and does not have the means to afford their own cover.

Benefits apply automatically to all employees

One of the major reasons why group scheme funeral cover is so good for your employees is that the benefits will apply immediately to all employees. This means that, regardless of their health, age and level in the company, they will have access to the benefits.

This is highly advantageous to your employees as they will not have to wait to see if they qualify for the cover. While there might be a certain time period you will have to wait before making a claim, your employees will all reap the benefits equally. This makes for a happier workplace and less stressed employees, which benefits everyone.

Their families will have closure

If or when one of your employees passes away, it is a very difficult time for their family. This can be made even more difficult if they have to scrape together money to pay for a funeral. Having a proper, dignified funeral is part of the grieving process and provides closure for the family.

If their family is not able to plan a proper funeral, this could mean that they have an open-ended period of loss in front of them, with no official goodbye to their loved one. You will also find that fellow employees find closure, as they will be able to attend the funeral and give their condolences to the family. Having closure is an important part of the grieving process and will ensure everyone involved can grieve properly.

Related: Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

It offers a good incentive

If you want to find and retain talent, you will need to offer your employees a good incentive to choose to stay with your company. Group scheme funeral cover might seem like a minimal benefit, but your employees will be happy with the fact that you are actively helping them to look out for the best interests of their family.

Having funeral cover will make it more likely that your employees will stay loyal to you, as you are offering something that will help with their future and the future of their family. While some employees might have taken out their own cover, there are some who might not be able to afford it. Your employees will feel valued and appreciated and will stay with your company rather than look for work elsewhere.

Final words

Your employees need funeral cover for a wide variety of reasons, one of which is the rising cost of funerals in South Africa. There are fewer exclusions with group scheme funeral cover, which means that all of your employees will be covered, no matter what their health status is.

Some options even allow employee family members to be covered, which can be of immense help to the employees in their time of need. Offering funeral cover to your employees is affordable and allows them to have one less stress in their lives, which means more productive workers and a happier office atmosphere.

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Temporary Employment Service Providers Underpin IPP Economic Development Goals

Preference will be given to Independent Power Producer projects valued at R56 billion that possess a plant technology and location that contributes to local economic development.

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“Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects will provide 61 600 full-time jobs,” stated Energy Minister, Jeff Radebe, while announcing the plan for 27 new renewable energy plant projects to be rolled out under the IPP programme.

This is an excellent and beneficial initiative. However, the fact that many of the skills will be required only on a temporary or project basis during the construction and setting up of each facility, may pose a challenge for IPPs looking to get started.

Skills sourcing

Sean Momberg, Managing Director of Workforce Staffing, says that IPP projects stand to benefit from consulting experienced Temporary Employment Service (TES) providers. “IPP projects require a significant investment in human capital, which becomes more complex and time-consuming by having to source local staff,” he explains.

Related: Temporary Employment Providers — Friend or Foe?

“Once the main contractor is appointed, they are responsible for sourcing skilled staff and suppliers for the duration of the construction and commissioning phases. A TES provider can significantly reduce the workload, by managing all human resources and industrial relations for them.”

Building an alternative power plant is a lengthy process. The 27 projects mentioned have spent approximately two years in this sign-off period and, now that they have been approved, IPPs need to work quickly to get the ball rolling. From civil work and environmental impact assessments, to mechanical, engineering, electrical and physical site building — each project requires a varied and vast number of skills.

Running interference

“TES providers go beyond providing temporary and project-based staff,” says Tebogo Moalusi, National IR Director at Workforce Staffing. With unions such as NUMSA protesting against IPP projects, even though job losses due to coal mine closures were unrelated to the introduction of IPPs, TES providers’ expertise in managing union relationships can prove a valuable aid to IPPs.

“IPP projects commonly face hinderances like demarcation disputes,” adds Tebogo. “A reputable TES provider understands local economic development as well as relationship management and works with both local employment providers, the community and unions to mitigate concerns.”

IPP projects often involve investment from international players and communication between international and local parties. Sean says that TES providers assist in breaking down these communication barriers, focusing on the importance of local job creation, while ensuring that international standards are maintained.

 “TES providers assess local catchment areas keeping fair processes in mind. This takes procurement into account, and sourcing of local equipment, accommodation, transport and catering is all considered,” he says.

Frequently with international parties, payment terms are set at 90 days from invoice. Sean stresses that this is not sustainable in local environments, where suppliers and staff don’t have the financial capacity to work within those terms. A reputable TES provider has the financial capacity to ensure that payment demands are met weekly or monthly, based on local requirements.

Related: Does A Strike Hit The Heart Of Your Business?

A focused approach

“A TES provider’s focus remains employment. Although the IPP’s goal is to complete their project on time and within budget, TES providers have the experience and knowledge to provide employment and procurement solutions that underpin the IPP’s objectives, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free project roll out,” Sean concludes. n

Temporary Employment Services’ part in minimising IPP job losses

  1. Onsite training and skills courses upskill temporary project workers.
  2. Skills transfer helps ensure future employability.
  3. Entrepreneurial skills development fostered for post-project maintenance contract work.

Workers obtain marketable skills they can add to their CV.

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Is Your Critical Illness Cover Keeping Up With The Times?

Critical illness cover was originally the brainchild of a forward-thinking surgeon who noticed more and more patients were struggling to make ends meet after recovering from life-threatening conditions.

BrightRock

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Critical illness cover was originally the brainchild of a forward-thinking surgeon who noticed more and more patients were struggling to make ends meet after recovering from life-threatening conditions. This increase was driven by medical advances, which drove a spike in survival rates – and its consequential recovery costs – something that old school insurance policies did not factor into their products. And while we all know the medical field continues to move forward through innovation, it’s important to ask yourself: has your cover kept up?

Medical advances during the 1960s and 70s didn’t just lead to an increase in patients’ life expectancies, but it also led to financial difficulties for many survivors of critical illnesses and –injuries. Many of these patients were faced with rehabilitation costs and additional expenses caused by lifestyle and/or professional adjustments they had to make to stay on the road to recovery, and they struggled to make ends meet.

Dr Marius Barnard, brother of the famous Dr Christiaan Barnard and respected surgeon in his own right, identified an opportunity to provide these patients with risk cover for these needs. He partnered with a life insurer in 1983, and critical illness cover was born.

Initially covering only four major conditions, medical advances soon enabled the expansion of critical illness cover to many more conditions, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, paraplegia, major burns and brain damage. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise have increased the likelihood of critical illness claims, but the claims are becoming less severe, thanks to improved medical techniques for the treatment and detection of life-threatening conditions.

Related: How BrightRock Is Rocking The (Industry) Boat In Only 5 Years Since Launch

Where does critical illness fit into your financial plan?

While medical and, possibly, gap cover can make provision for medical expenses, critical illness cover is instrumental in covering any gaps and providing for lifestyle changes that result from conditions like paraplegia, like the expenses involving alterations to a home to be wheelchair-friendly.

Many medical aid schemes may also exclude certain treatments or not cover them in full, or you might have reached your annual limit. In these instances, critical illness cover may just come to the rescue.

Considering all the scenarios where critical illness products have the potential to come into play, it’s important to ask yourself how forward-thinking the insurance you signed up for really is. Does your insurer factor in the latest treatments, and have they adjusted the range of conditions they provide cover for to keep up with the latest medical research and survival rates?

How many conditions are covered?

Start by obtaining the list of conditions covered by your critical illness policy, because the number of conditions covered vary from company to company. There are life insurance providers that provide cover for over 300 conditions, while some assurers cover fewer than 100 conditions. Some life cover providers also take into account the treatment, clinical impact and effect of an illness, which ensures protection for as yet undiagnosed conditions – this is the kind of cover you should be signing up for.

How do the pay-outs work?

You should also consider the pay-out structure and/or –options of your critical illness policy. There are policies with pay-out options that are helpful for conditions that involve large expenses initially, followed by smaller amounts over a number of months. Importantly, you should be allowed to make certain choices about how your cover should pay out at claim stage, when you know what your physical and financial needs are.

What about smaller events, like accidents?

Forward thinking life cover providers have also identified a need for financial protection in instances where you might have less critical, but still traumatic illnesses or injuries and spent little or no time in hospital.

Related: BrightRock’s 5 Entrepreneurial Tips For Start-ups

Just think about the myriad of costs involving corrective procedures, medical aid co-pays, hospital costs, rehabilitation, assistive devices, physiotherapy, wound care, nursing and surgery costs – not to mention being unable to earn an income while you recover from a serious illness or injury. Many of these expenses might be typically incurred just because you aren’t fully covered by medical aid schemes and gap cover products.

Innovations like cover that precisely matches your needs are done in the same spirit of innovation and matching the needs of patients as we saw with Dr Marius Barnard. So before signing up for, or selling your next critical illness policy, ask yourself: Does my cover provider do the same?

  • Schalk Malan is the CEO of BrightRock, provider of the first ever needs-matched life insurance that changes as your life changes.

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