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SALARY ADMINISTRATION COMPENSATION EXERCISE

*CASE BEGINS ON PAGE 5*

Introduction

                Students in human resource management programs receive a great deal of training in the design of various salary compensation programs.  However, comparatively little direction has been  provided students as to the proper administration of the day to day or year to year administration of individual salaries under such programs and the attendant salary administration problems that more often than not arise.

                This salary administration exercise is intended to provide students with just such experience in conducting a fair and motivational salary administrative system.  This exercise will include both a discussion of salary administration theory and its application in common salary administration situations salary administrators will encounter in industry within the confines of a traditional compensation program (all cases are based on actual industry situations).  Students should have had prior instruction in designing a conventional compensation program to include job evaluation, designing salary ranges, policy lines, external/internal competitiveness issues, etc.

Review of Salary Administration Theory

                The basic philosophy of salary administration is to motivate, prevent or correct salary inequities and control costs by not over paying for the value of individual employee contribution to firm performance.  To that end, conventional salary administration as practiced in industry has a variety of principles and directives:

General Merit Raises Guidelines

Where there is no change in a person’s performance from one budget year to the next, then the person in question should under normal conditions receive the same % merit raise from one year to the next.
When there is a performance increase from one performance level to another, then the person in question should normally receive a higher % merit raise in order to recognize and reward the increased contribution by the employee to the company.  This % raise should be sustainable for the foreseeable future at the higher level of performance.
Likewise when there is a performance drop from one performance level to another, then the person in question should normally receive a lower % merit raise in order reflect the lower contribution to firm by the individual and to call attention to the drop in performance. This lower % raise should also be a sustainable amount for the foreseeable future.
The % merit raise given to a particular employee should be sustainable (that is the same % given from year to year in relation to the range maximum or when there is no range maximum in relation to external competition based on a professional conducted salary survey; this assumes no change in performance) for the foreseeable future (approximately five years).
In those situations where the % merit raise contemplated is not sustainable for a given performance level, then the % merit raise must be reduced to a level that is sustainable for given % merit raise.  Situations that are not sustainable include those that take a person’s salary to one that is at or above his or her performance band or classification maximum in the near term (usually less than five years).
Merit raises are usually provided on an annual basis.  However, many firms stagger the date of the merit raise based on performance.  Top performers usually receive their raises the quickest (12 months or less) with average performers taking the longest to obtain their merit raise (usually 15-18 months).  In is important to note that this latter practice allows firms to better sustain merit raises as in some years a person will receive no raise but due to the cost of living and competitive adjustments salary range bands will usually have been adjusted upward by so some %, thereby allowing additional room for a merit raise for a particular individual.
Salary Band Issues Guidelines

From time to time certain individual salaries may be above their allowable salary range maximum.  This often occurs due to several factors.  First, a person’s performance level will commonly decline for various reason. As a result their corresponding performance maximum salary range band falls as well.  Sometimes, supervision grant raises that bring a person’s salary above its range maximum without the proper authorities noticing or preventing the action.  At other times, the company’s compensation scheme may be above competitive levels or the pay policy is changed to one that is lower than the previous policy.  Consequently, a number of individual salaries will fall above their revised range maximums.
Nevertheless, once a person’s salary is above it’s range maximum, it is normally frozen or “red circled” until the person’s salary falls below the range maximum.  Management could choose to lower the individual’s salary.  However, this should not be done except in extreme circumstances due to the adverse affects on motivation and morale.  Other viable options, depending upon the circumstances, that may help resolve the problem are promotion, an increase in performance, or waiting until the range maximum rises above the person’s salary due to cost of living and/or competitive adjustments.
Salary bands/ranges are often adjusted on a periodic basis (usually annually).  In order to hold the purchasing power of a given salary level constant salary bands must be adjusted upward or lower based on the annual change in the CPI.  Salary bands/ranges may also be adjusted upward or downward based on the company’s salary levels (policy line) as compared to relevant competitive salary levels.
Promotional Guidelines

Promotions may be made to recognize experience and contribution in the current position by a promotion in the current job.  Promotions may also entail a physical move/promotion to some higher-level vacant position.
Normally promotions are linked in some manner to current performance levels and a person’s capacity to handle higher levels or responsibility.  This is often affected by shortages in talent (in which case people are promoted faster than normal), by a surplus in personnel (in which case people are promoted less often than normal), compensation levels are lower than competition (in which case workers are promoted faster), or when compensation levels are above competitive levels (in which case promotions are often slowed).
Absent the above exception individuals should be promoted at a rate to where they are at their highest level of potential(so as to obtain their best work at their highest level of ability) five-ten years before normal retirement age. Rules of thumb based on performance levels at large firms are as follows:
Average performance-about three promotions in a career- about one every 8-10 years

Above average performance-about five promotions in a career- about one every 5-7 years

Excellent performance-about eight promotions in a career-about once every 3-4 years

Outstanding performance-unlimited but about once every 1 ½ to two years.

Promotional raises normally vary from zero to 5% per promotion level. Industry practice is to grant a 5% raise (to maximize motivation/recognition) unless it would mean raising an individual’s salary so high in his or her salary band that normal merit raises would not be sustainable and/or they would be so small as not to motivate.
Promotions should not be allowed for individuals experiencing a drop in performance.
Retirement Issues

Those individuals nearing retirement should be brought to their highest level of potential and salary band at least three years before retirement.  This is done for several reasons. One, to recognize their many years of dedication and commitment to the company. Two, many retirement plans base their benefits and pension calculations on employee salaries.  Third, it should enhance retention levels since the remaining workforce observes that someone staying a career with the company is treated well.
Special Adjustments

                Special adjustments are granted when normal salary treatment (merit and promotional raises will not rectify any particular salary problem).  Normally, salary adjustments above 10% are not allowed except in extreme circumstances.  When there is a rather large salary discrepancy, the individual involved may receive (up to 10%) special adjustments for several years before the problem is corrected.  There are several common situations in which special adjustments are used to correct salary problems:

For whatever reason, sometimes some employee salaries will be below the classification range minimum. In effect the company is paying the person below what the company itself says the job is worth.  In such cases the individual’s salary should be raised to at or above the classification range minimum not only for motivational reasons but for legal ones as well.  It is important to note that in such cases the individual involved could receive a special adjustment in excess of 10%. Due to the seriousness of the problem, it is not spread over several years as previously discussed.
In some situations, usually industry boom periods, external salaries rise at a rapid rate.  As a result some employees (often-short service employees) are paid a lower salary than those paid new hires). This is an obvious inequity (salary compression) that must be corrected.  If normal salary treatment does not correct the problem then a salary adjustment is warranted.  The normal rule of thumb is to have current employees at least $100 a month above new hire salaries.
Under other conditions, particularly in firms with no set salary structure (as in the this compensation case) salary administrators must closely monitor relevant salary surveys to ensue that their employee salaries stay in line with competition and the company pay policy.
Hence salary adjustments may be necessary to bring an individual up to competitive levels.

It is important to ensure internal equity as well. In general, a person with higher performance and/or experience (and education) should be making more than someone with lower performance and or experience.  
Raise Communication

When communicating raises to employees it is important to explain what portion is merit, promotional, and/or adjustment. Otherwise, employees will usually assume they will continue to receive the % raise in the future (assuming no change in performance). When an equity adjustment as been included in the raise this could mistakenly result in a demotivated employees.  For this reason, many companies actually grant equity adjustment at times other than when the merit raise is awarded. However, for case purpose they will all be awarded at the same time.
         CASE

 IT TAKES A SHARP PENCIL

Montgomery Sharp Pencil Accountants Anonymous is a regional accounting firm that has offices in Troy, Mobile, Montgomery, and Dothan.  Montgomery Pencil employees 125 workers in total.  It has been in business 30 years and over the last five years has experienced an annual growth in business of 25%. The industry average is only 10%.

Sharon Walls has been budgeted $32000 to allocate among her nine subordinates as pay raises (high level company management rarely grant proposals above the amounts allocated).  Cost of living for 2003 is expected to rise at an annual 4.0%.  There have been some ugly grievances at this branch over pay raises in the past, so Sharon has been strictly advised to base all of her allocations on purely objective reasons.  No increase recommendation will be granted without an appropriate justification.

Your Salary recommendation should show the total amount proposed and its % of the salary.  Salary increases must be distinguished based on merit adjustments (coded M), promotional adjustments (coded P), increases for promotion may be up to 5%. Equity adjustments (coded A) while all equity adjustments must be justified (this includes any communications that you would also provide the employee when giving the increase)any equity adjustment over 10% must carry additional extraordinary justifications.  Round salary adjustments for CL 20 and above to the nearest $100 and round salary adjustments for the levels below CL 20 to the nearest $50.

NEED MERIT PAY RAISE ANSWERS FOR ALL EMPLOYEES LISTED BELOW

Name
EEO Stat
Cur Sal
Last Inc%
Ratings
PT
Job Title
CL
Serv
Hi Ed
Exp
Personal Data in file

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paul
H
58,800
7%, 2/01
E    2002
27
Sr
26
30
MA Acct
42
Nearing Retirement; has been a real help in the reorganization/transition of mgt.

 
 
 
 
AA 2001
26
Acct
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
A   2000
25
Advs
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
BA 1999
25
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Crystal
W
71,400
2%
A  2002
27
Acct
24
11
PHD Acct.
28
married, expecting first child,

 
 
 
Mar-01
AA 2001
30
Advs
 
 
 
 
male, clients love her.

 
 
 
 
O 2000
30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
O 1999
30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tonya
W
36400
7%
A   2002
26
ACCT
22
2
BA
8
Pro Union, 2 yrs

 
 
 
Jun-01
AA 2001
26
 
 
 
Acct.
 
related experience; party’s a lot; no OT

 
 
 
 
NR
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
NR
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Scott
W
37600
9%
E 2002
28
ACCT
23
5
BA
10
Works the most overtime,

 
 
 
Apr-01
E 2001
27
 
 
 
Acct.
 

2 yrs related exp; looking for another job; say his salary is too low

 
 
 
 
E 2000
26
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
AA 1999
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Joe
B
18200
NA
 2002
21
Sr ACCT CLERK
16
1
BA-MGT.
12
7 years experienced highly recommended very highly; very knowledgeable but does not have a high energy level; has been in twice asking about getting a raise; has a Lexus car payment to cover; also wants to know when you are going to promote him to an exempt accounting position

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kt.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Stacy
W
38600
7%
E   2002
27
Admin &
24
16
MA
19
Loyal, hard working

 
 
 
Jun-01
AA 2001
27
Comp
 
 
Eng.
 
Not an acct, real help in automating the office continues to save $

 
 
 
 
A   2000
27
Spec
 
 
 
 
with program. Skills

 
 
 
 
A A1999
27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Heath
W
46000
9%
E    2002
29
Acct Advisor
24
   6  
MA
24
Transferred in from another company location to help MGR with recent business increases

 
 
 
Feb-01
E    2001
29
 
 
 
Acct.
 
 

 
 
 
 
AA 2000
28
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
AA 1999
28
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Max
W
17000
9%
AA 2002
18
Acct Clk
16
6
NA
8
Married hard worker

 
 
 
Jun-01
E    2001
18
 
 
 
 
 
4 yrs related exp; upset that new worker makes more than her; she has let this affect her performance

 
 
 
 
E    2000
18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
E    1999
18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Warren
W
17100
0%
A   2002
21
Sr Acct
16
4
BA
9
Not out going, but

 
 
 
May-01
AA 2001
21
Clerk
 
 
Hist.
 
very precise; never

 
 
 
 
AA 2000
21
 
 
 
 
 
makes an error;

 
 
 
 
AA 1999
 
 
 
 
 
 
5 yr related exp; goes out of his way for a for a beer on way home form work; son recently maimed in a tragic car wreck; quantity of work is way down

MAXIMUM MERIT RAISE GUIDE

*USE THIS TO DETERMINE EMPLOYEES MERIT PAY RAISE BASED OFF THEIR PERFROMANCE *

O   – Outstanding Performance  12%

E    – Excellent Performance     9%

AA- Above Average Performance  7%

A    – Average Performance 5%

NI   – Needs Improvement   0%

I      – Inadequate  0%

Best Relevant Salary Data:

2002 Regional Accounting Salary Survey

-Salary                                                                             –                                                                                     Salary

-Accountants                                                                    –                                                                  Accountants

-All companies                                                                –                                                                    Big six Firms

-By experience                                                                –                                                                    By Experience

                                Avg                        Top Qtl                                                           Avg                             

New Hire        $    35000                 $ 37000                                                             $38500                        

2-4 YRS          $                    38000                 $ 44000                                                             $47000                        

5-9 YRS          $                    35000                 $ 47000                                                             $48000                        

10-15 YRS      $    49500                    56000                                                               $65500                      

16-20 YRS      $    56000                 $ 59000                                                             $70200                        

20 + YRS        $    64000                 $ 75000                                                             $83000                        

% Raise Given    7.0                          8.0                                                                        5.5                           

1999 Administrative Assistants                                                                        1999 Computer Specialists

Salary Survey                                                           Salary Survey

                    Avg                    Top Qtl                                                                                                 Avg                                        Top Qtl

5-10 yr        $                        23000    $              25000                                                                    1-3 yr      $            50000     $                             60000

11-15 yr      $                        26000    $              29000                                                                    4-6 yr       $           65000      $                            80000

16-20 yr      $                        29000    $              35000                                                                    7-10 yr     $           85000      $                            95000

20 + yr        $                        30000    $              38000                                                                    11-15 yr   $           100000    $                            110000

                                                                              Over 15   $             120000    $                            130000

2001 Accounting Clerk Salary

Survey Troy

Salary all Companies                         Avg                        Avg top 3 Co.

Accounting Clerk                         $                     16000                     $             18000

Senior Acct Clerk                        $      18000                     $             25000

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