Entries by Norell Design

Is Sales Compensation Coming From the Battery Drawer?

My mouse started acting up the other day.  That usually means the batteries are wearing out, so I headed over to the battery drawer for two new batteries. What a mess.  Lots of batteries, that wasn’t the problem. I just had no idea if any of them were any good.  So I did what was necessary, which was try all the various combinations of those batteries until I got something like the performance I needed to make the mouse run again.  But at this rate I have no idea how long it’ll work because I somewhat randomized my chances for success…

Your Compensation Powers

Early in my career my bosses’ boss was showing me the ropes and explained that when it came to job evaluation, we in Compensation had “the strong power of recommendation.” The idea that the best I could do was to recommend something was a little hard to swallow.  Now I understand what hierarchy means and who gets to make decisions, especially those that commit funds in one way or another when it comes to compensation and rewards.  But who is really the most qualified to do that?  Who has primary ownership of the company’s strategies for competitive positioning, internal equity,…

The Simplicity of 3%

“When people complain of your complexity, they fail to remember that they made fun of your simplicity.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson Compensation is hard enough to understand without debating fractions, isn’t it? As if making something that is already so misunderstood, debated and difficult more complex would be a good thing! But a little complexity may just be needed as a check and validation that you are paying as you are intending to. Every year various surveys are taken that ask companies what their intentions are for the coming year for pay adjustments of all types – pay ranges, merit,…

I Could Tell You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

I enjoy teaching a couple of compensation certification classes for WorldatWork, the association for total rewards professionals. I get a lot of questions about a lot of topics, but one that frequently surfaces – whether in a module or not – is “this is great, but would you tell your employees that?” And this isn’t some super-secret recipe for the incentive plan funding that makes you an insider, this is some of the compensation basics like pay grade, pay range, that sort of thing. So just to get it out of the way let me say that I am a…

Compensation Ticket to Ride!

Some friends recently introduced us to the board game Ticket to Ride.  For those of you who don’t know it or haven’t played, the goal of the game is to connect cities on a map (US, Europe, Asia and other versions) with train cars, based on the ticket you draw.  For example, Portland to Nashville is one of the tickets, and you can connect via Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, Atlanta, or any number of other routes.  You earn points by completing your tickets among other ways.  It’s a fun family game. I am very much a novice still.  Malcolm…

What Just Happened Here?

I’ve worked for a lot of great companies over my career, but not always for people that had the greatest insight into rewards and compensation. Sometimes that’s the HR leader, but more frequently it’s the CEO, or as I affectionately call him, the Chief Compensation Officer (CCO).  That could take the form of responses such as: “We need to make decisions that will enable us to save on expenses.” “I don’t hear a whole lot of negative feedback, it must be working.” “Turnover isn’t a problem so compensation must be OK.” “The Executive Committee needs to decide on our funding priorities.”…

Changing Your Perspective From the Stern to the Bow

In 30 or so years of looking at salary surveys, I don’t think I ever heard a description of this critical tool of the compensation professional that made me think as hard and as critically about what I do as, “Salary surveys are like the wake of a boat; they only tell you where you’ve been, not where you’re going.” Think about that for a minute.  Why is that the case? Why can’t we make that more strategic turn towards a future view of where to go?  Here are a few reasons I’d offer up: We’re comfortable just doing what we’ve…

Be the Wizard, not the Geek

A couple of years ago, a well-known leader and pioneer in the salary survey industry called me and wanted to talk.  Now that in and of itself is a little unusual, one of your vendors calling about something other than an unpaid bill.  But what he wanted to talk about held my attention, especially as I had tried to invent something similar internally at my company, but couldn’t secure the IT resources due to “other priorities.” Remember the quotes, and if you saw me writing this, they would be BIG air quotes there. Anyway, we talked.  And the more we talked…

Survey or Strategy?

This isn’t a discussion about the latest in rewards strategy, just plain old salary surveys.  Compensation surveys have come a long way over my 30+ years in the profession.  From 4” 3-ring binders with three sets of tabs stacked on top of 4-drawer file cabinets full of job descriptions, to the desktop access or even mobile device through the Cloud, with custom calculation capabilities, this profession has changed profoundly in so many ways.  And yet some things haven’t changed at all, nor would I want them to. Keeping with surveys, and since so many of us rely almost exclusively on market data to…