2013/2014 Salary & Benefits Planning & Budgeting Guide

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We’ve compiled a brief compensation and benefits planning and budgeting guide to help your organization make important pay, health care, and benefits decisions this fall and into 2014. The guide summarizes the latest and most important trends we’re seeing related to administering compensation, health care, and benefits, which affect your organization as it plans for 2014.

Employers project 2.9%-3.0% pay increases for 2013/2014.

Salary budget planning surveys for 2013/2014 consistently report average actual pay increases of about 2.9% for 2013 and project pay increases of 2.9%-3.0% for 2014 for most levels of employees, in line with increases of last year. A breakdown of the projections from these surveys is summarized below.
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4 Important Guidelines for Giving Pay Increases

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4 Important Guidelines for Giving Pay Increases

Pay increases are an important part of a compensation system as they aim to reward employees based on their performance achievements, but your organization should make sure you follow these four important guidelines when administering pay increases.

1. Base pay increases on your performance management and goal setting processes.

Pay increase practices should be aligned with not only your organizational culture and best practices for your organizational size and industry, but they also should align with your organization's performance management and goal setting processes to make sure that variations in employee performance are measured accurately and fairly rewarded.
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Northeast Ohio Keeping Up with National Pay Adjustment Trends

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The 2013-2014 ERC Wage & Salary Adjustment survey results found an average projected pay adjustment of 2.9%- basically more of the same from 2013. The results from this local survey of Northeast Ohio employers are very much in line with national reports from organizations such as Hay Group and WorldatWork which repeatedly indicate that employers are hovering right around the 3.0% mark, much as they have for that past several years.

One bright spot here in Northeast Ohio is that out of the 139 participating employers only 7 indicated they are not giving any pay increases to their employees or a full 95% of employers that are providing increases in 2013. 2014’s numbers are shaping up similarly, with only 6 out of the 139 employers projecting that they will not give increases, again that’s 96% projecting increases for 2014.

As the chart below illustrates, in terms of the overall percent of employers providing increases, 2013 and 2014 (projected) have finally met and even exceeded the pre-recession levels. Seeing these adjustments continue to expand across the region’s employers is a positive sign for the region’s business community and in theory means these increases (even if small) are reaching a larger proportion of the total workforce as a result.
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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

ERC's NorthCoast 99 program recognizes great workplaces that excel at the attraction, retention, and motivation of top performers. ERC is proud to have recognized great workplaces in Northeast Ohio, and has accumulated a great deal of insight into what makes a workplace truly great through the research we conduct as part of the program.

What makes a great workplace that draws extraordinary employees to love coming to work every day? What makes a great workplace that attracts, retains, and motivates the very best talent?

Here are 15 attributes that we believe are characteristic of great workplaces for top talent, based on our research over the last 15 years.

1. Offer Challenging and Meaningful Work

Great workplaces understand the importance of keeping employees' work interesting, exciting, challenging and meaningful, because consistently, top performers say that challenging and meaningful work is the number one attribute they seek in a job.

2. Hire and Retain Great People

Great workplaces are made up of great people. Within great workplaces, top performers work alongside other top performers who are positive, hardworking, committed and loyal, believe in what the organization does, and participate in making the workplace great.

3. Provide Competitive Compensation

Great workplaces offer competitive and fair compensation, above-average pay increases, and opportunities to earn more pay based on performance, such as bonuses, profit sharing, and other incentives to keep and reward top performing talent as well as attract new talent.

4. Value and Reward Employee Contributions

Great workplaces show they appreciate and value employees and their contributions. They celebrate success often, and praise, recognize, and reward employees in a variety of formal and informal ways. They never miss an opportunity to say 'thanks' for employees' hard work.

5. Invest in Training and Development

Great workplaces invest in training and development for their workforce to grow their talents and capabilities. They make time for learning and support it by paying for employees to participate in various opportunities and offering/delivering a variety of training and career development programs.

6. Guide, Support, and Develop Top Performers

Through performance management practices that help guide, support, and develop exceptional performance, great workplaces provide clarity on how to be a top performer, help other employees become top performers, and assist existing top performers in sustaining top performance. Reaching for excellence each and every day is what makes great workplaces successful.

7. Encourage Work/Life Balance

Great workplaces are flexible to employees' work/life needs and encourage work/life balance by offering flexible schedules, providing generous paid time off, accommodating individual requests and needs, and creating a supportive work environment that is understanding of personal and family obligations.

8. Invest in Employees' Health and Wellness

Great workplaces genuinely care about their employees' well-being. They offer wellness options that help employees develop healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as provide an array of benefits which support their employees' health and personal welfare.

9. Involve and Empower Employees

Great workplaces involve and empower employees by listening to their input, involving them in moving the organization forward, and giving them opportunities to lead initiatives, collaborate with one another, participate in decision-making, and make a meaningful difference at work. At great workplaces, employees believe that their opinions matter and that they can positively impact their organizations.

10. Share Information About the Organization's Performance

Leaders frequently share information about the organization's performance, its financials, the vision and direction of the organization, and other critical information and updates at great workplaces. In addition, leaders regularly interact with and communicate with employees one-on-one, in small groups, and as an entire staff. Additionally, great workplaces help everyone understand the mission and purpose of the organization, and how their work connects to the big picture.

11. Are Led by Exceptional Leaders

Great workplaces are led by exceptional and inspiring leaders. Leaders set the example from the top and lead the organization well. They genuinely care about and value employees. Relationships between leaders and employees are characterized by mutual respect, trust,  honesty, and support.

12. Encourage Innovation and Growth

Great workplaces are successful, growing, and innovative. They hold themselves to high standards, are focused on delivering exceptional customer service and quality, and strive to innovate and continuously improve their organizations. They are always raising the bar in their businesses and in their workplaces.

13. Hire the Best of the Best

Great workplaces hire the best—and only the best. They recognize that a great workplace and culture results from great people. They define the talent they need, strategically recruit it, and put into place selection practices that identify top performers, as well as on-boarding practices that engage top performers and set them up for success from the start.

14. Create and Sustain a Unique Culture

Great workplaces have a unique culture that is their own, often described as fun, congenial, collaborative, positive, passionate, and creative. Their work environments, people, and workplace practices all help create a vibrant, positive, magnetic, and infectious culture.

15. Serve the Community

And last but not least, great workplaces make an impact on and give back to their local community. Not only do they generously donate their company resources to the community, but they also serve their communities by helping others in need and offering their staff's time and talents.

There is no magic formula for achieving a great workplace, and these are just some common attributes of many that great workplaces seem to have. While no workplace is perfect, many organizations strive to become a truly great workplace and come close. The NorthCoast 99 winners are among these organizations, and they, as well as all other organizations that strive everyday to be great workplaces, should be applauded for their efforts to become employers of choice in Northeast Ohio. They are truly making a difference.

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Building Community and Great Workplaces through Service

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When building better workplaces, employers typically focus on making internal improvements that can range from renovating the physical office space housing the organization to developing employees to build the talent pool. However, if the 2013 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report is any indication, employers would do well to look beyond their four walls and reach-out to build their surrounding community.

Among these employers of choice, virtually all winners (99%) sponsor some type of charitable event, fundraiser and/or scholarship and a strong majority of this year’s winners (81%) coordinate an organization-wide community service activity.  Clearly, these great places to work have successfully made a concerted effort to integrate community service into their culture by taking a highly active role in serving their community.
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State of Ohio Announces Training Voucher Program

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The Ohio Development Services Agency is launching round two of the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program.

A pre-application is now available beginning September 4, 2013 for businesses who want financial help to train their current workforce. $27 million in grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for the grant program will be accepted for review on September 30, 2013 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Visit the Ohio Development Services Agency's website to review the guidelines and application instructions for this program and to access the pre-application.

Frequently Asked Quesions

Who is eligible to apply for the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program?

An eligible employer is one who operates as a for-profit entity in a state-designated targeted industry, with a facility located in Ohio that has been in continuous operation for the 12 months immediately prior to the application submittal.  Targeted industries are: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Aviation, Automotive, BioHealth, Corporate Headquarters, Energy, Financial Services, Food Processing, Information Technology and Services, Polymers and Chemicals, Back Office, Logistics, or Research and Development.  The company’s NAICS code (http://www.naics.com/search.htm) will determine eligibility as to the targeted industry.

How will the Voucher for the program be awarded?

Vouchers will be awarded in the form of a Voucher Agreement between the Ohio Development Services Agency and the employer.  The program will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until all of the available funds are committed.  After that time, applications will still be accepted and retained in a “queue” in the event that additional program funds become available.

The program allows for up to $4,000 per employee per fiscal year. What is the timespan of the fiscal year?

The state of Ohio fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30.  Please note, however, that the training period for this program will be between August 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.

The program allows for $250,000 per employer per fiscal year. How is that calculated?

Each employer (identified by Federal Employee Identification Number/FEIN) will be eligible for up to $250,000 in assistance per fiscal year. The Voucher Agreement and any Supplements to the Master Voucher Agreement issued to an employer during the fiscal year, aggregated throughout all of its State of Ohio locations, will be included in this calculation.  Please note that only one application per employer will be accepted per program year.  If an employer has multiple sites, those sites must work together to submit the one application. An application may include multiple employees and multiple training courses.

What is the employer reimbursement amount for this program?

We will reimburse the employer for up to 50 percent of the cost of the training (up to $4,000 per employee and/or up to $250,000 per company) once the employer pays the full cost of the training.  The employer’s contribution must come from private sources and cannot include any previously acquired public funds.  The match does not include wages.

After the application is submitted, how long does an employee have to begin the training?

Training must begin August 1, 2013 or later and must be completed by June 30, 2014.

When can the employee training begin?

While the Effective Date of the Agreement will be August 1, 2013, any costs incurred or monies expended by the applicant on the project prior to final approval and the execution of the written agreement, is done at the applicant’s own risk.  Applicant’s decision to go forward does not obligate the State of Ohio to provide state assistance that has not received all required approvals or has not been memorialized in a written agreement between the applicant and the state of Ohio.

All training must begin August 1, 2013 or later and must be completed by June 30, 2014.

Does reimbursement apply even when the company has a tuition reimbursement program as part of its benefit package?  Do the courses have to be strictly related to the business?

The OIWTVP will provide reimbursement funds for tuition courses when the course meets the needs of the applicant company.  Therefore, the course must be required by the company and be job related, regardless of the requirement for a degree.  Tuition courses which are for the sole purpose of obtaining a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are not eligible for this program.

ERC provides customized training courses for organizations across the nation.

Train Your Employees

8 Keys to Managing Training & Development

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8 Keys to Managing Training & Development

Strategically investing in your staff's training and development, nurturing their talents, and building their skill sets helps your organization achieve its desired results, enhances your company's culture, and assists your leaders in better managing talent.

As a result, properly managing staff training is important and involves evaluating and prioritizing learning needs, creating and planning staff development initiatives, managing the administration of these programs and their costs, as well as measuring results.

Here are 8 keys to managing staff training and development.
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A Brief Guide to Coaching Employees

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Coaching is a development tool that many organizations are using to enhance performance and behavior at all levels of the organization - from employees to key leaders. Coaching has been found to lead to improved work performance, business management, team effectiveness, self confidence, relationships, and communication skills.

Coaching Defined

Coaching is a one-on-one developmental tool that can be highly effective in developing leaders and high potential employees, changing behavior (or addressing derailing/poor behavior), improving leadership and managerial effectiveness, and enhancing performance. Coaching is usually focused on one of three areas: performance, development, or executive/leadership ability.
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Northeast Ohio Employers Committed to Training & Development

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The results of the 2013 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey offer a snapshot of the various approaches to training and developing employees that are being taken by Northeast Ohio employers. Highlights from these methods are outlined below.

Making technology work for you

If your organization is looking to help existing employees develop their skills at your organization, technology can be one of your strongest allies. Overall, about 71% of employers indicated they utilize some type of web-based trainings as at least one portion of their larger training program.
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The 4 Vital Leadership Skills

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The 4 Vital Leadership Skills

There are numerous critical skills that leaders need to develop—strategic thinking, business acumen, and technical expertise—to name just a few. But, sometimes organizations overlook the importance of a few very critical leadership skills. Here are four vital leadership skills that all leaders must have in order to lead successfully.

1. Communication Skills

Great communication is the hallmark of an exceptional leader because it's at the core of nearly all other leadership skills. Effective communication is necessary for every facet of leadership including building relationships with others, delegating assignments, defining goals and objectives, coaching and giving feedback, praising and criticizing, managing performance, influencing or persuading others, handling conflicts or problems, managing and guiding others through change, and presenting views and information in an honest and balanced manner.
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