Base Pay Competitiveness

Increase the engagement of your employees with competitive and equitable program designs, ensuring you are getting the value and the promise of your pay philosophy and strategy.

Equity Compensation

It is still a very important part of total direct compensation, especially for upper management, key employees and executives.

Executive Compensation

Columbia Compensation Consulting can help you make sense of the chessboard that is Executive Compensation. Pay for performance can be a reality no matter how many opinions or options there may be.

Communications & Education

The best designed compensation programs are ineffective without communications and training materials to increase employee understanding and management accountability for pay.

Bonuses and Incentives

Bonus and incentive plans have to be more than just what employees come to expect for another year of service.

Sales Compensation

A well-designed sales compensation plan enables your sales force to achieve rewards tied to the business strategy and their individual or team results.

Experience…. Knowledge… Creativity… Solutions

The mission of Columbia Compensation Consulting is to provide professional compensation and rewards consulting services that enable clients to achieve their business and human resources objectives.

Case Studies

Urban Airship

urban airship

Problem: Sales compensation plans needed to be modified in advance of new year and define sales processes to manage the plans throughout the year.

Solution: Introduced individual commission rates to enable strategic alignment of NPI and upsell opportunities, and simplified approach to paying for renewals.

Universal Music Group

Problem: Divisional organization with little commonality in job definition, levels or market reference.

Solution: Defined and created job types and levels with bench-markable jobs.  Created market pricing process to utilize existing market data from cloud platform to specific job, level and location.  New localized salary structures being implemented in 2017; new titling scheme for internally equitable job evaluation.

Columbia Distributing

Problem: Managing compensation without benchmarks, multiple locations, creating inequities and frequent inability to attract candidates for open positions due to uncompetitive offers.

Solution: Benchmarked jobs across three states, created geographic sensitive pay structures and ability to benchmark annually.

Simson Lumber


Problem: Consulting/advisory services helping Compensation leadership to create a new plan design better aligned to business objectives and market.

Solution: Benchmarked jobs in the industry and region. Created pay mix strategy for total cash for all organizational levels. Created new pay structure from individually priced and managed ranges to separate exempt and nonexempt jobs.

Audio Precision


Problem: Align executive compensation (components and values) to market; educate Board of Directors on current executive compensation practices and principles.  Help to determine competitive pay for the Board of Directors.

Solution: Provided data and counsel on how other companies utilized data to enable decision making and putting practices in place for the Compensation Committee and the CEO to manage the process in the future.  Managed the overall value of total direct compensation on a customized basis for each executive by determination of current equity position and executive level, making individual compensation more meaningful for employees.


Problem: Undefined career level definitions led to employee dissatisfaction with classifications and associated compensation and promotion opportunity.

Solution: Documented and defined multiple levels of professional and management job families in job family matrices.

Compensation Consultant Portland

A hands-on results-oriented attitude with a strong track record of successes.

Compensation Consulting and Expertise for Greater Portland, Oregon, Seattle and the Bay Area

Jim Harvey is Founder and Principal Consultant for Columbia Compensation Consulting Inc.  His 30+ years’ experience encompasses high-tech, aerospace, utility and health care industries, specializing in leading companies in the formulation and execution of their rewards strategies in support of business objectives.

His global work experience and collaborative reputation includes translating business needs and ideas into tangible and measurable deliverables, and a hands-on results-oriented attitude with a strong track record of driving large-scale projects through to delivery and implementation.

Jim began his professional career in Arizona, and moved with his family to Oregon in 1997.  He has been an instructor for WorldatWork since 1990, teaching classes on job evaluation, base pay / pay for performance, business acumen and sales compensation.  He enjoys Oregon’s long summer days, gardening, recreational golfing and travel.

His blog represents all the things learned over the years, shared with some and learned from others.

Looking for a Compensation Consultant?

Why Should You Hire Columbia Compensation Consulting?

Compensation Consultant Portland

You may find that you are frequently coming across compensation and rewards questions or issues that seem to be more complex than you expected. And often the question arises as to whether to develop your pay programs in-house, or spend the money to hire a Compensation Consultant Portland such as Columbia Compensation Consulting. Consider these reasons to engage my firm:

1. Time – I can focus on your issues, and on completing the project to meet your deadline, without any distractions.

2. Objectivity – The solutions and alternatives to your issues are unbiased and can best meet your needs, not those that benefit any one party. It’s not a canned approach, and my solutions do not conveniently resemble the products I sell because I only provide services.

3. Experience – I bring a significant breadth and depth of experience acquired from handling similar problems with a broad group of clients and employers. Therefore, I can quickly respond to your needs without additional training time or expense.

4. Availability – Even highly-qualified staff needs help occasionally, which is why availability of a qualified consultant is important. I have the time, resources, and specialized experience to supplement your company’s regular talent.

5. Costs vs. Benefits – If you’ve tried working out the solutions yourself, you’ll sometimes succeed; however, the cost of failure can be huge, since it includes the value of lost opportunities, your wasted time, and potential damaged credibility with employees. I can sharpen the focus on the problem and develop better solutions quickly.

Sales Compensation Plan Renewal

Every year David Chicelli and The Alexander Group do a survey on sales trends and practices.  I’ve just received the 2018 version, and while there are numerous percentiles, averages, and all sorts of numbers that would sate even the most hardened statistician, the most relevant data is on companies plans for their newest Plan year. This isn’t necessarily headline-making data, but it’s “attention-grabbing” if you are in a company that ignores this most basic principle of sales compensation planning and design, that being: Sales Compensation Plans Are Annual Plans And there’s the headline.  Here’s the context. Over 90% of participating…

Change in Plans…

A change in plans isn’t such a bad thing, it happens all the time. It’s raining, so we go to Plan B. The restaurant is closed so we go to another. These sorts of changes don’t seem to bother us so much. But change the compensation plan and watch out!!! The thing is, any compensation plan that hasn’t changed in a while is probably no longer an effective plan. Yet changes cause stress, uncertainty and certainly encounter resistance. One of my favorite quotes about change comes from Machiavelli and goes something like this: It must be considered that there is…

Nonexempt FLSA Earnings Threshold

It is official – we have the number, now it’s time to consider the effect. The number is $47,476 annually.  That’s the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest paid census region, the South.  And it adjusts every three years (the original rule would have adjusted every year but for voracious feedback from the HR community).  If you pay an employee less than that (in most cases), you’ll need to determine what next steps to take once the law takes effect on December 1, 2016. Here’s a link to the DOL announcement: According to a…