No Change in Membership Dues – 13 Straight Years!

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ERC is pleased to announce that its membership dues will not increase in 2012. This is the 13th straight year that members have enjoyed access to ERC services, surveys, research, information and group purchased savings without a dues increase! 

“We are delighted to be in a position to maintain the dues structure for our membership,” comments Pat Perry President of ERC. “ERC is delivering significantly more services, faster and conveniently at the same dues level that we had back in 1999. As a result, members continue to have the ability to measure and showcase remarkable returns on their ERC investment.”

International Sales Managers Earn Higher Salaries in Northeast Ohio & Midwest

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According to the 2012 EAA National Sales Compensation & Practices Survey, which surveyed nearly 800 organizations throughout the United States, employers in Northeast Ohio pay International Sales Managers more than other regions of the United States. Similarly, employers in the Great Lakes region (which includes Ohio) also report paying higher compensation for International Sales Managers when compared to organizations in other regions of the United States.

Specifically the survey showed that employers in Northeast Ohio reported median total compensation of $165,000 for International Sales Managers. This median total compensation was significantly higher than the national median of $128,323.

Total Compensation for International Sales Manager



Northeast Ohio

Great Lakes Region

10th Percentile




25th Percentile








75th Percentile




90th Percentile




Source: 2012 EAA National Sales Compensation & Practices Survey

The data seems to suggest that employers in Northeast Ohio, as well as those in the general Great Lakes Region, pay their International Sales Managers more than employers in other regions of the U.S.

In general, international competencies are highly in-demand, and employers in our region seem to be paying a premium for global skills - at least for international sales management talent.

For more information about ERC's Surveys click here. Also, ERC members can now access international resources and pay data through our HR Help Desk. Email for more information about these new resources!

4 Ways to Become a Manager Employees Want to Follow

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4 Ways to Become a Manager Employees Want to Follow

Are your managers people who your employees want to follow?  Do your managers regularly encounter resistance and wonder why they can't achieve the results they want or why their employees won't follow their lead? More importantly, are employees just following managers because they are the boss, or because they are genuinely inspired and motivated by their leadership?

"Why won't they listen and follow me?" is one of the most common frustrations managers have. Few realize, however, that it takes more than just authority, a position of power, and demands to get people to truly follow you and engage in your vision. Engaged followership is also not something that happens overnight. It takes days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to position yourself as a trusted, respected, and emotionally intelligent leader that people take pride in following. You earn your followers with your words, actions, and attitudes.

How do you become a manager people want to follow? Start simple. Ask employees these questions on a regular basis.

How are you?

This question conveys that you care not just about the work, but about employees as people. Naturally, employees follow managers who care about them and will resist managers who show indifference to their needs and interests. Managers who take time to have intentional conversations, demonstrate an interest in the people who work for them, and learn about employees as individuals, gain followers. Care elicits trust and trust breeds followers. Here's a quick self-check to determine how well you are showing you care about your people:

  • Do you know your employees' spouses and children's names?
  • Do you know your employee's birthday? 
  • Do you know what your employee does for fun?
  • Do you know what your employee's personal goals are?
  • Do you know what your employee's personal challenges are?
  • Do you ever go above and beyond to help employees with something non-work related?
  • Do you ever call or visit employees to see how things are going at work and personally?

How can I support you?

Do you convey that employees are at work to serve you and help you reach your goals, or do you believe that you are there to serve them and help employees reach their objectives? Asking this question shows that you are focused on serving employees and their needs and not just yourself. Conversely, when employees sense that you are just trying to use them as a means to an end, they usually won't follow you.

Great managers who are followed are those that serve their people by resolving problems and going to great lengths to support their people. They view their role as servants to their followers and not their followers as servants to themselves. This mindset radically changes their behavior as managers. They become more concerned with how they can meet their employees' needs and prioritize those needs above their own.

How can I help you succeed?

People want to work for a winning team. Employees follow managers who make the right decisions and lead them in the right direction. Exceptional managers pave the way for employees' success - not their failure.  They get people from point A to point B.

In order to do this, managers must be effective at managing work and achieving results through others to gain the respect of their followers. Managers who are able to lead and coach their teams and employees with effective problem solving, goal-setting, planning, and management of the work, have team members who want to follow them.

Similarly, managers who help their employees and their teams do better gain followership. Managers who show their employees the right way to work, help them develop their skills and capabilities, redirect them when they do something wrong, and build a competent team gain followers. People follow managers that make them better employees.

What do you think?

People want to follow managers who are interested in their perspectives, suggestions, and involvement. It makes them feel important and purposeful. When invited to contribute to a new project, be involved in creating a new product/service, or asked to provide their views on an issue, employees feel empowered. Managers who consistently ask employees for their opinions, ideas, and involvement and consider a diversity of perspectives can gain lasting followers.

Don't ask these questions just once or even a few times. Keep asking them of your employees (perhaps in different ways) over and over again. They will make employees feel cared for, empowered, worthwhile, and supported -- and those positive feelings will inevitably help turn an average employee into an engaged follower.

Interested in learning more about training your supervisors?

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Thinking of You

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by Pat Perry

On behalf of the entire ERC family, we wish to express our sincere thoughts and prayers to the Chardon community. We are especially mindful of the victims of this tragedy and our hearts go out to their families. 

United Way of Geauga County has set up a Healing Fund to help support those in need relative to this devastating event. If you wish to donate, you can contact the United Way of Geauga County at (440) 285-2261.

Proposed Changes to FMLA

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In 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced proposed changes to Military FMLA and changes which would affect Airline Flight Crew Employees.   Secretary Solis discussed the amendments at Joining Forces for Caregivers, an event held Monday January 30th, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  

“Keeping the basic promise of America alive means ensuring that workers, from our servicemen and servicewomen who keep us safe at home to the flight crews who keep us safe in the skies, have the resources, support and opportunities they need and have rightfully earned,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a press release. “The proposed revisions… are an important step toward keeping that promise.”

Changes to Military FMLA

Changes proposed would permit an employee to take leave during or following an immediate family member’s deployment for matters related to the person’s service (e.g., military briefings, financial or legal arrangements).  The 26-workweek option would be extended to care for family members who are veterans with an illness or injury that occurred in the line of duty, including conditions that have arisen only after the veteran had left the service.   The five days a family member can spend with a military member while on rest or recuperation is likely going to increase up to 15 days.   The FMLA coverage, which only covered the National Guard for qualification of exigency leave in 2012, would also extend to family members serving in the armed forces.

Airline Flight Crew Changes

Due to the way crew members currently work, the hours are difficult to track.   The proposed changes are intended to create a more accurate and simple way to account for the hours.   The proposed revision for airline flight crew employees would add a special hours of service eligibility requirement and specific alterations for calculating the amount of FMLA leave.

For more information, contact Scott Vaka at CareWorks USA at 614-760-3536 or

Administrative Jobs Experience Slower Salary Movement

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According to the 2012 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey, though administrative jobs experienced salary increases of at least 2% from 2011, most administrative jobs in the survey continue to see slower salary movement compared to other jobs.

Median salaries for Receptionist, Telephone Operator/Receptionist/Secretary, and Administrative Assistant to CEO jobs increased 2% from 2011 to 2012. Administrative Assistants of varying levels saw higher increases of 3%-5%.

Median Salaries for Administrative Jobs




% Change





Telephone Operator/Receptionist/Secretary




Administrative Assistant I




Administrative Assistant II




Administrative Assistant III




Administrative Assistant to CEO




Source: 2012 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey

The data from the survey is in line with other trends which suggest that administrative job salaries are rising, but at a slower rate than other jobs which are in higher demand.

 To participate or purchase ERC's Salary & Wage Surveys which report data from Northeast Ohio employers on over 400 jobs, click here.

Congress Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

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Congress had approved an extension of the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits from February 29th, 2012 to 2013. The extension was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate, and President Obama has signed the legislation into law.

The extension of the tax cuts will reduce payroll tax by 2% to 4.2%. It will also extend federal unemployment benefits. 

Salary Talk: Tips for Talking About Pay with Employees

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Salary conversations - such as negotiating an offer with a job candidate, confronting an inquiry about a pay increase from a current employee, or dealing with a complaint about pay - can be uncomfortable and difficult for employers. Pay is personal. It affects employees' ability to pay their bills, support themselves, and provide for their families. Salary matters, however, need to be discussed with objectivity and frankness by managers. HR can help facilitate these conversations in the following ways.

In the case of current employees, meet with managers to discuss employees' performance, tenure, skill set, scope of responsibility, and value to the organization. With job candidates, look at their skill set, scope of responsibility, experience and education, the job's value to the organization, and how other employees with similar skills and backgrounds are paid for the position.  Address how pay decisions will affect the team or department as a whole. Will other employees' pay increases be affected by giving an employee a higher pay increase, or will an increase exceed the range for the position? Is the employee eligible for a promotion or could they be transferred to a role with higher pay? How will the new employee's pay compare to other employees in the position? These are all important issues to consider when discussing pay with current employees or job candidates.

Next, understand the organization's needs, including how the organization is performing. If your organization has a strong track record of success and profitability, it may be in a better position to provide higher compensation or a pay raise. Success generally allows organizations to pay employees better. If performance is lagging or has been variable, it may be advisable to limit compensation costs.  Also, consider what the organization wants to reward and how it wants to pay employees relative to other companies.

Help managers talk about pay. Arm managers with the tools, information, and education to understand what is going on in the market relative to employees' compensation. This requires actually understanding the data yourself in order to communicate those trends back to them. Educate managers on the overall market trends for the positions in their department as well as how other companies of similar industry, size, and location are paying their employees. If your organization is truly paying employees fairly and based on the market, there's no reason not to be transparent with the data. Additionally, train managers on your organization's pay philosophy and compensation systems. Make sure they understand why your organization pays employees the way they do, the many issues that factor into pay decisions, the latitude they have in making decisions about pay (if any), and how to discuss employees' total compensation (i.e. benefits, rewards, etc.). Teach them how to explain to employees how they can earn a pay increase (i.e. gaining a promotion, enhancing skills, improving performance) in the future or provide alternative rewards if pay can't be adjusted. The trick to having pay discussions is to be able to justify your decisions and present options.

On a final note, recognize that compensation complaints are often the symptom of a larger problem in the employee's job or the workplace. Ask yourself if pay is really the issue because compensation is rarely a driver of engagement for happy, passionate, and motivated employees unless pay is perceived to be so unfair that it creates a major problem related to job satisfaction. Keep in mind that it will usually take much more compensation to satisfy an employee who is a poor fit for the job, has a bad manager, or is unhappy in the workplace. It may be worthwhile to explore these areas before considering changing their pay.

Additional Resources

Survey Information
Use ERC's compensation surveys to determine how other local employers are paying employees of all levels, from hourly to salaried to executive jobs. Click here to see our upcoming surveys schedule.

HR University
HR University is a comprehensive course for those who are newer to the HR profession or those who have limited experience or realize it is time for a refresher which covers topics including compensation and benefit plan design, performance management, staffing, and more. Click here for more information or to register for this series which begins April 26th.

Are Execs Receiving the Perks They Used To?

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Executive benefits and perks have undergone quite a bit of change since 2007 and several studies suggest that executives are no longer receiving the breadth of perks they used to several years ago.

A 2011 study conducted by CompData, for example, found a decline in the percentage of companies offering company cars, annual physical exams, and voluntary deferred compensation programs to CEOs from 2009 to 2011.

ERC's data shows similar trends. In analyzing changes to executive perks in our Executive Compensation Survey since 2007, several changes have been noted. Fewer organizations seem to be providing these to their executives, and particularly their CEOs.

Percent of employers offering benefits and perks to CEOs: 2007-2011 comparison









Company cars (company owned or leased)





Club memberships (business, social and/or country club)





Periodic physical exams





Special retirement plans (supplemental pension and/or thrift)





Additional life insurance





All-expense medical insurance





Estate planning





Legal counseling





Income tax preparation





Mfg = Manufacturing employers
NMfg = Non-manufacturing employers

Source: 2007 & 2011 EAA National Executive Compensation Surveys

Does this trend mean that employers should stop providing executive perks? Not necessarily.

Extra benefits and perks should be considered as part of the total compensation package. Perks in lieu of a higher base salary, for example, may be quite beneficial. Similarly, depending on the executive, it may be important to offer some of these perks in order to acquire the right talent.

Also, some benefits may be important to offer for your business' operations. For example, some organizations find it important to provide annual physical exams to their executives to ensure that their leaders are healthy and equipped for the job. Others find that their executives need to be provided with a vehicle or automobile benefits for ease of travel.

The decision to offer executive perks comes down to a few basic questions:

  • Does your organization need to provide special benefits or perks in order to attract executive talent? If so, which ones are most important or necessary?
  • Are other employers in your industry or size offering certain benefits or perks?
  • Can your organization afford to provide special benefits or perks?
  • Which executives will qualify for special benefits or perks?
  • What is the risk in not providing certain benefits and perks?

Finally, it's important to consider that executive positions can be demanding and extra benefits and perks can help increase productivity and support the executive.

To participate in ERC Compensation & Benefits Surveys, which reports executive compensation, benefits, and perks provided by employers, including those in Northeast Ohio, please click here.

Tips to Successfully On-Board Your New Hire

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A new job is an important decision in an employee's life and can elicit a number of emotions ranging from nervousness to excitement prior to the first day. HR can play an important role in capitalizing on these positive feelings and engaging new-hires throughout their first days. Here are some tips for successfully on-boarding your new-hire.

Make the pre-employment experience memorable.

Consider sending your new-hire a simple welcome package, calling them prior to their first day to welcome them, inviting them to a company event, and/or  sending a hand-written note or card. These unexpected, small gestures show that you are looking forward to working with the new-hire and reinforces their decision to come work for your organization. It also sends a positive message to their families.

Eliminate your probationary or introductory period.

Not only are these 90-day periods less common than they were several years ago, but there is no place for them in the workplace if you are confident that you have selected a great employee for the job. Requiring these periods in order for employees to continue employment and/or receive certain benefits tends to send the message that your new-hire "has to pass the test" to be a true employee of your organization and that you don't trust their potential. Is that the message you want to send to your new employee, and haven't they already passed the test if you made a good hiring decision?

Be prepared on day one.

Be ready for the new-hire when they arrive on their first day. Treat them like a guest by being ready at the front door, giving a guided tour, making introductions to staff members, providing lunch, and helping them at every step throughout the day. Ensure that their workspace is clean, stocked, and ready for work and that they have all the tools necessary to do the job, including proper equipment and computer programs. Make their first day as pleasant and as organized as possible and limit time spent on paperwork.

Cover the big picture.

Sometimes employers are so eager to get their new-hires working that they don't spend time educating them on the big picture, such as what the company does; it's history, mission, and vision for the future; its values and culture; its product and service offerings; industry; the markets and communities it serves; and the organization's structure. Spending time covering all of the core aspects of your organization's business is critical to helping the new-hire understand how their role fits into the organization.

Encourage relationship-building.

Provide time for your new-hire to build relationships with their supervisor and fellow team members by coordinating team events, social outings, one-on-one meetings, retreats, or other activities to help them learn about their fellow coworkers and build relationships with them. In addition, consider including your leadership team in the on-boarding process. Introducing new employees to senior management and allowing time to get to know them can build a sense of comfort, trust, and security in the leadership team.

Spend enough time on training and provide a mentor.

Surprisingly, many organizations don't spend enough time training their new-hires upfront, which can lead to a host of issues later. While you may want to get your new-hire started on tasks and projects, it's important to recognize that every new-hire (regardless of experience) will need training. Don't assume that they can just jump into the work with little direction or knowledge of your internal processes. If possible, also assign a "buddy" or mentor to help the employee learn and assimilate into the organization.

Ask for their feedback.

Throughout the first few months, it's important to establish checkpoints with your new-hire. If your organization doesn't have a formal feedback or survey process, ask new-hires a few simple questions - if the job is what they expected, what challenges they are experiencing, and if they are being provided with the right amount of training and support. Keep the lines of communication open with your new-hire to ensure that when a problem or misunderstanding arises, it is dealt with quickly.

On-boarding is about investing in employee retention, engagement, and productivity, so if you want to make sure your new-hire stays and thrives, consider these on-boarding practices. They are best practices from employers of choice in the region - NorthCoast 99 winners ( - and will ensure that your new-hires are engaged and productive from the start.