Northeast Ohio CEO’s Total Compensation Among Top In Nation

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According to the results of the 2012 National Executive Compensation Survey, CEOs here in Northeast Ohio receive the fourth highest total compensation package as compared to 20 other geographic regions reported in the survey. Coming in at $308,500, Northeast Ohio CEOs rounds out a strong showing for the Midwest, with the Columbus/Cincinnati breakout and Detroit Metro area in the first and third spots respectively in terms of total compensation for CEOs in their regions.

Base salary accounts for approximately 75% of the total compensation package in Northeast Ohio, a rate which suggests that area CEO’s receive a larger portion of their compensation in the form of variable pay than in the vast majority of other regions reported in the national sample. By focusing on variable pay, such as bonuses and other short term incentives, employers are able to more closely tie executive pay to performance. Establishing a clear connection between the value a CEO adds to the company and the compensation they receive in return is a critical step forward and a growing trend in executive pay, both for the sake of internal equity as well as to ensure compliance with external regulations.

Of the 47 executive positions survey across the national sample, increases to base pay remain stable- right at 3% for 2012. When calculated only including those organizations who projected increases, this number is a slightly higher figure, but one that continues to hover around the 4% mark for these executive type positions.

Additional Resources

2012 EAA National Executive Compensation Survey
The 2012 EAA National Executive Compensation Survey, published in May of 2012, reports compensation, benefits, and pay practice data provided by 2,235 participating organizations throughout the country and 108 organizations in Northeast Ohio for 11,948 executives in 47 positions. Breakouts of data are included across five variables: sales volume, organizational size, industry, organization type, and geographic location – including Northeast Ohio. Download the survey here.

2012 ERC Performance Management Practices Survey
This survey collects information from Northeast Ohio organizations on performance management practices in the workplace, specifically related to performance reviews, performance criteria, role of the supervisor in managing performance and other performance management issues. Click here to view the survey.

An Employer’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Device Policies

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As new technology continues to shape the workplace and the use of social media and mobile devices at work becomes more widespread, organizations must create and enforce employment policies to protect themselves from the risks and liabilities associated with these new applications for working. Here's a short guide which contains important tips and guidelines for creating social media and mobile device policies.

Social Media Policies

Social media policies must balance a range of interests. First, they need to protect other employees and the company’s information and reputation without prohibiting employees from engaging in conversation about employment at your organization. Second, social media policies need to be flexible enough to allow your marketing, sales, recruiting, and PR employees to promote your company and network, but restrictive enough so  employees won't excessively use these platforms for non-business related purposes.

Below are several guidelines and best practices for creating social media policies, consistent with recent guidance issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and endorsed best practices published by the Society for New Communications Research. Additionally, this 2012 policy was approved by the NLRB and is helpful for employers as they create their own guidelines.

  • Require that social media usage is consistent with other workplace rules and policies, including federal laws related to discrimination and harassment.
  • Encourage employees to be respectful and fair to coworkers, customers, vendors, and other individuals affiliated with the company online and when using social media. Promote dealing with conflicts or complaints directly with one another rather than via social media outlets.
  • Educate employees that if online complaints or remarks are construed as disparaging, malicious, or threatening, their postings could be perceived as harassment or contribute to a hostile work environment, and thereby be unlawful.
  • Communicate that social media postings be accurate, factual, and truthful. Clarify how your organization will handle mistakes and edits to content. For example, many organizations require that mistakes be corrected promptly and edits or deletions to online content be communicated.
  • Define specific types of appropriate and inappropriate content to publish online. For example, trade secrets, private or confidential information, and financial disclosure laws/regulations can be reasonable content to protect.
  • Specify how employees should represent themselves online. Make clear that employees are not to represent themselves as spokespeople on behalf of the company and that employees who publish anything online related to their work or subjects associated with your organization should identify who they are and that their views do not represent those of their employer.
  • Specify if and when employees are able to use social media on the job. You may restrict employees from using social media at work if it is not job related or delegated by one’s manager, or if excessive use of social media is affecting job performance.
  • Don’t prohibit employees from talking about your organization online or expressing their personal opinions. The NLRB has been especially critical of employers who are trying to prevent employees from discussing terms and conditions of the workplace.

Bring Your Own Device to Work (BYOD) Policies

In addition to social media policies, every organization should have a Bring Your Own Device to Work Policy (otherwise known as a BYOD or a Mobile Device Policy) because employees are increasingly bringing their own mobile devices to work and accessing company networks through smartphones, tablets, IPADs, and laptops - to name just a few.

Although these devices can be of benefit to employees and employers alike by increasing productivity and providing flexible access points to company information, BYOD creates huge risks for employers in terms of compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), privacy and compliance mandates, etc. if mobile device policies are not in place. Here are some guidelines for developing those policies.

  • Consider the adverse effects of not allowing these devices in the workplace. Bans on mobile devices are usually not feasible because inevitably there is an employee who needs mobile access.
  • If your organization needs to remain compliant with certain regulations (HIPAA, etc.), take special precautions to safeguard this data and restrict employees’ access to it on their own devices. Work with your IT department to design those precautions.
  • Define and provide examples of what is acceptable use and transfer of organizational data on mobile devices.
  • Put into place guidelines regarding confidentiality and data ownership, including a procedure for data retrieval when an employee leaves the organization via voluntary or involuntary termination or when a device is lost or stolen.
  • Require strong or complex passwords in order to login to your company networks on mobile devices.
  • Have employees formally consent to an acceptable mobile device use policy, such as by signing off on your policy.
  • Establish clear rules for non-exempt employees about what they can and can’t do with their mobile devices during non-working hours to protect you in terms of FLSA requirements
  • Suggest that employees not use their phones or mobile devices with driving, in light of Ohio's recent ban on texting while driving
  • Indicate disciplinary consequences for employees who inappropriately use business data on their mobile devices.

Two final pieces of advice when creating these policies. Collaborate with your employees to create a policy. Be sure to include your legal department, your core users of social media for business purposes (for social media policies) and IT department (for BYOD policies). Finally, update these policies on an ongoing basis. With technology constantly changing, these policies need to be revisited at least annually.

Please note that by providing you with research information that may be contained in this article, ERC is not providing a qualified legal opinion. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application.

10 Qualities of Remarkable HR Leaders

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Remarkable HR leaders can emerge at any level. Whether they are an entry-level recruiter with a strong ability to hire unique talent, a tenured training manager who has a knack for building employees' skill sets, or a mid-level employee relations specialist with a unique skill for enhancing employee engagement, remarkable HR leaders impact their workplaces in positive ways.

Every day we witness HR leaders who find great talent in the midst of a skill-set shortage; devise competitive pay strategies to retain their top performers; coach managers to build their leadership effectiveness; create training and development programs that engage and grow their talent; design recognition programs that motivate employees; and so much more.

When we routinely interview HR leaders in the community, we find that many highly effective and respected HR leaders and professionals share certain characteristics. Here are 10 of those qualities.

  1. Caring. Remarkable HR leaders have integrity and instinctively care about people. They always put the needs and interests of their employees first. Their caring nature and emotional intelligence guide smart but compassionate policy making, and establish positive and healthy employee relations.
  2. Forward-thinking. They plan for the future of their workplaces, identifying potential threats and opportunities for attracting and retaining their top talent, as well as ways to make positive changes to their organization's culture. They ensure that they are prepared for challenges to protect their organizations and stay ahead of the curve.
  3. Passionate. Great HR leaders love and are passionate about what they do, where they work, their industry and most importantly about talent - finding it, empowering it, engaging it, and developing it. They truly enjoy what they do, whether it's specializing in a certain area of HR, being a generalist, or managing the function.
  4. Innovative. Remarkable HR leaders design creative approaches to attracting, managing, and developing talent with the understanding that to be competitive, they have to stand out from other employers and use different approaches. They are supporters, promoters, and designers of unique world-class talent initiatives.
  5. Strategic. They don't operate in a vacuum. Instead, outstanding HR leaders understand their organization's strategy, take an interest in its vision, and align their work, projects, and goals with the needs of their business. They know what high performance means and how to elicit it through talent management.
  6. Problem-solver. Remarkable HR leaders are problem solvers and impeccable crisis managers. HR lends itself to a number of unforeseen and complex legal, employee, and management problems. Great HR leaders help prevent those, deal with them, and significantly mitigate adverse effects on the organization.
  7. Communicator. Highly effective HR leaders are strong communicators and influencers. They are able to provide guidance on a range of HR issues and influence new ways of doing things to improve the organization's operations. They communicate with ease to employees and managers, and are also able to effectively facilitate change. They listen to their employees and build relationships with them over time.
  8. Ethical. Because they handle a great deal of confidential information and sensitive issues ranging from employee medical conditions and performance problems to legal matters, great HR leaders are trusted, ethical compasses of their organizations. They don't just do what's standard or required by law - they do what's right for their people - even if a higher cost or greater time investment is attached.
  9. Technology-minded. Great HR leaders vet, leverage, and use new technology to make their departments more efficient and accurate in their day-to-day operations. They aren't afraid to embark on new technology to improve their systems and processes.
  10. Life-long learner. Last, but certainly not least, extraordinary HR leaders never stop learning and networking to build their skill-sets and leadership as well as to gain new ideas. They are always trying to find ways to improve their own effectiveness, and thereby, their organization's success.

These are just some of the many qualities that can make an HR leader successful, but the bottom line is that remarkable HR leaders deliver exceptional achievements and results to their organizations by balancing the needs and interests of employees and the business.

Leadership Development Training Courses

Leadership Development Training Courses

ERC offers a variety of leadership development training programs at all levels of the organization.

Train Your Employees

Paycheck Fairness Act Blocked in Senate

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The Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would “pave the way for women to more easily litigate their way to pay equality” failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate in June of 2012 as Republicans united against the measure for the second time since 2010, according to this story from The New York Times.

Employers Retention Challenges

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As the U.S. economy continues to improve and employers begin to add employees to their payrolls, another employment metric is also increasing, i.e. voluntary turnover. For employees, a stronger economy often means they feel more confident leaving a job of their own accord. However, from an employer’s perspective an increased separation rate means they are going to need to work harder to retain existing employees as the job market improves.

As a national trend, increased voluntary turnover is moving steadily upward with a 2012 report from PriceWaterhouse Coopers documenting a 1.2% increase from 2010 to 2011, up to 8.2% (2011/2012 US Human Capital Effectiveness Report). In Northeast Ohio, the voluntary turnover rate hit double digits in 2011, with the 2012 ERC Turnover and HR Department Practices reporting an average of 12% across all industries and organizational sizes.

However, notable discrepancies in these rates are apparent when comparing manufacturers to non-manufacturers. At 9.6% manufacturers seem to have more success at retaining existing employees than their non-manufacturing counterparts who are seeing a much higher 16.7% voluntary turnover rate for 2011.

In terms of the role of HR, bringing this rate back down, may mean considering a redirection of HR funds away from Recruiting/Hiring and into areas like Training & Development or Benefits. By allocating an average of 23.1% of their total HR budget to Recruiting/Hiring, by far the highest percent allocation reported in the survey, non-manufacturers may actually be contributing to the trend towards higher turnover.

With such a strong focus on recruiting, these organizations may be missing out on opportunities to develop and incent their own existing employees.

3 Keys to Good Customer Service

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3 Keys to Good Customer Service

Good customer service is the heart of every business. It flows from employees who engage internal and external customers, meet their needs, and exceed their expectations. Good customer service creates a "wow" experience for your customers, leaves a positive impression, encourages repeat business, and ideally refers other customers to your organization. So how do you get your employees on-board? Here are 3 critical elements of good customer service.

1. Good customer service starts with the right attitude and mindset.

Customer service starts with having the right underlying attitudes and motivations. This means not only hiring people with the right customer service mentality and who want to help and satisfy their customers, but also encouraging the right focus and attitudes by talking positively about customers in the organization, repeatedly communicating the importance of customer service to your business' success, training employees on the customer service practices your organization has decided to emphasize, and recognizing employees who serve the customer extraordinarily well.

Key employee attitudes that drive good customer service include viewing customers positively, understanding that customer service is important to the organization's success, feeling motivated and accountable for providing good customer service, having the information and tools needed to provide good customer service, viewing leaders as enthusiastic and supportive of good customer service, and believing that they can take initiative to do what is best for the customer.

2. Good customer service requires effective communication.

Exceptional customer service requires mastering communication with internal customers (other employees) and external customers (those outside of your organization) as well as with difficult customers. Without both quality communication through a variety of channels such as face-to-face, over the phone, or via email, as well as effective communication in a diverse range of situations both internal, within the organization, and external, outside the organization with a diverse group of customers, service can suffer.

Customer service issues almost always arise from a failure to communicate properly.

For example, customers may not know what to expect or may not be accurately informed of changes and schedules. Customers also could perceive a lack of responsiveness or courtesy. A customer's tone may unleash an emotional reaction from your representative. The underlying problem in all of these issues (and most customer service dilemmas) is a failure to communicate well.

Effective communication with customers involves listening and understanding your customer's viewpoint or problem, handling emotions, organizing and preparing one's thoughts, speaking clearly and succinctly, responding to or following up on questions directly and in a timely manner, watching non-verbal cues like tone and body language, problem solving, and closing conversations or interactions to keep the door open for an ongoing positive relationship with the customer.

Communication is as much an art as a science and takes practice. Building self-awareness of communication strengths and weaknesses and teaching skills through training, role-playing, scripts, and conversation coaching are just a few methods to use to drive better customer service. But beware: not all customer service training and skill-building is created equal. Traditional lectures or "guides" simply won't cut it. Employees must practice, engage in the changed behaviors, and obtain feedback as they are doing so by a trained professional.

3. Good customer service is practiced on your internal customers.

Practice good service with your internal customers. Employees generally don't provide good customer service to their customers if they aren't serving one another in a consistent, reliable, friendly, and timely manner.

Good customer service is the result of positive, supportive interactions between staff members who are interdependent on one another for information, especially when multiple people and departments are involved in the process of delivering a product or service to the customer.

Organizations that provide good internal customer service:

  • Have collaborative cultures that recognize and reward teamwork
  • Freely and efficiently share information with one another; create processes that enable free-flow of information
  • Respect each others' time; respond and resolve internal inquiries in a timely manner
  • Listen and try to understand the concerns and demands of one another
  • Have clear communication channels for communicating product and business process information
  • Speak to one another courteously and respectfully

If you expect and want good customer service from your employees, the best way to achieve it is by modeling the attitudes, behaviors, and communication practices you seek inside your organization and creating a workplace that lives, breathes, and teaches what it means to put the customer first.

Customer Service Skills Training

Customer Service Skills Training

This training helps you build better relationships with your customers.

Train Your Employees

Salaries for IT Professionals in Northeast Ohio

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The table below offers a glimpse into the IT salary growth seen in the Northeast Ohio region from 2010-2012 as reported by the ERC Salary Surveys. Among the highest paying jobs reported by the 2012 Survey, a Systems Analyst Lead saw a steady salary increase of only about 3% annually since 2010. However, as a higher level position, this position pays well above the national median- reported at $77,740 by the Spring 2012 edition of Occupational Outlook Quarterly. In contrast, System/Software Engineers have expereinced a net salary growth rate of 9% over the same time period, but still falls over $10,000 short of the national median for Software Developers, reported at $90,530.

Network Administrator and Web Developer median salaries from the 2012 Salary Survey are similarly low when compared to national data. Interestingly, these slightly lower salaries are reported for positions with the strongest job outlook projections, a trend suggesting that filling these positions with top talent may require employers to increase their salary offerings to prospective job candidates in Northeast Ohio.

In terms of educational requirements, the vast majority of IT positions require a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree. The notable exceptions are job titles within the U.S Department of Labor’s “Computer Support Specialist” category. The PC Specialist position falls into this category and as such offers a notably lower median salary than the other IT positions reported in the survey.

For more information, including trends and forecasts, visit our Salary For IT site.

4 Questions Every Manager Needs to Answer

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Successful, effective performance management by managers essentially boils down to simply answering 4 key questions for your employees.

What is expected of me?

Managers have an obligation to tell employees what is expected of them in terms of job responsibilities, projects, and goals or objectives. After all, how can you hold employees accountable without telling them exactly what you need and clearly defining what they are supposed to be doing? This question should be answered at the beginning of the performance management process each year and whenever expectations or responsibilities change. Specifically, managers should clarify and define three types of expectations:

  • what employees should do on the job (responsibilities, duties, key projects, etc.)
  • how employees should do the job (behaviors, attitudes, competencies, etc.)
  • results to be achieved over a specific timeframe (such as deadlines, goals, levels of performance, etc.)

How am I doing?

Throughout the year, managers must provide honest and accurate feedback and coaching to help employees understand how they are doing and progressing, as well as to assist them in staying on track with their performance. Feedback should include an honest assessment of employees' strengths and weaknesses and could be achieved through regular one-on-one meetings with their supervisor, formal mid-year or quarterly check-point meetings, and a final end-of-year evaluation discussion.

Although informal feedback is crucial, over the course of the year, managers should meet formally with employees a few times (at least twice) to revisit their progress on key projects and goals, address performance problems, and create conditions that help motivate employees in achieving their goals.

Don't expect your managers to take the initiative on coaching and feedback without some structure. Some managers can thrive with this informality, but many others can't. Teach them coaching and feedback methods and require structured interactions to ensure that employees receive the support they need.

Where can I improve?

Where organizations often miss the mark with performance management is viewing the process as merely a judgment and administrative record of employees' performance. While evaluation is fundamental to the process, performance management also seeks to develop employees' performance and potential to increasingly higher levels.

Based on their on-going assessment of performance, managers should identify opportunities for employees to develop their potential and discuss those periodically with employees. These opportunities may be improving performance deficiencies, attending training, focusing on skill development, or taking on new projects/assignments.

At times, the performance management process also involves answering the question "Where am I going?" in terms of discussing potential career paths and internal mobility and the requirements for moving into higher and different roles in the organization, particularly if these opportunities are tied to performance in their current job.

What’s the big picture?

Incorporating your mission, vision, values, and strategy into the performance management process helps focus your employees on the tasks, projects, and behaviors that matter most to the organization and its growth - especially if your performance management process is aimed at helping your organization meet its objectives and furthering its mission. Equally as important is to discuss how these components link to employees' performance and why certain tasks and goals are important to the organization's success. Consider...

  • integrating your mission, vision, values, and strategy into the performance review form
  • cascading goals from the top of the organization to individuals
  • continually discussing how employees' goals and responsibilities are tied to the organization's goals and objectives

When viewing performance management through the lens of these important questions, your managers can answer the questions that matter most to your employees and that are most important to their success.

View ERC's Performance Management Survey Results

This report explores performance management practices specifically related to performance reviews, performance criteria, role of the supervisor, and other issues.

View the Results

ERC Wins Healthiest Employer Award

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ERC is proud to announce it has been awarded a 2012 Health Care Heroes Award in the category of Wellness: The Healthiest Employer. The award honors champions of corporate wellness and is hosted by Crain’s Cleveland.

“We’re humbled to be receiving this honor among so many other great organizations,” said Pat Perry, President of ERC. “We are very proud of the ‘family first’ culture we’ve developed at ERC; work-life balance is critical to having a happy, healthy workforce. Our employees have really embraced the healthy culture that we created here. And it is important to us to lead by example, as we sponsor the ERC Health program throughout the State of Ohio.”

Drug Testing Policies in the Workplace

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Drug testing has become a hot button political issue with the 2012 report by the  National Conference of State Legislatures that 28 states across the country have either considered or passed legislation establishing drug testing requirements for individuals enrolled in various types of public assistance programs, including unemployment benefits. The constitutionality of many of these laws is currently in question, but what do drug testing policies look like outside of the realm of the State?

While some limited data on drug testing policies and practices in the workplace does exist, ERC’s 2012 Drug Testing Policies and Practices Survey provides data about drug testing policies for 163 organizations right here in Ohio. In addition, the report offers a detailed look into the frequency with which organizations have encountered failed drug tests, many of which result in rescinded job offers to otherwise qualified job applicants or even termination for existing employees.

Drug testing policies were common, with 78% of employers reporting that they would not hire an otherwise qualified applicant based on a failed drug test. This policy was applied to hourly positions (78.6%) slightly more often than to salaried positions (77.5%), a trend that continued across all breakouts regardless of industry or organizational size.

Although these hiring polices around drug testing were slightly more common for hourly than salaried positions, the survey found much larger differences in the reported testing failure rates among the hourly (33.5%) than the salaried group (13.2%). By and large, employers reported that their failure rates have remained the same from 2011, both for pre-employment testing as well as for drug tests performed on existing employees.

To download the full survey report of 163 participating Ohio organizations, please click here.

Additional Resources

ERC members save on drug testing with Preferred Partners.