July 20, 2017

How to think about compensation

Knowing if you have a “good deal” depends on your tangible and non-tangible compensation. In today’s highly competitive hiring environment, it’s important to look at both.

Professional engagement is more than just liking what you do.  It’s about knowing you’re in the right role at the right company, seeing a future within the organization, having a manager who works for you, and a compensation plan that reflects your impact.

In my experience, feeling good about each of these elements most of the time leads to engagement on the job (I get that we all have some bad days…).

The last ingredient of professional engagement – compensation – is often viewed short-sided. Clients will ask me, “Is this a competitive salary?” without looking at the full picture of what the organization is offering.

My take – of course salary is important, but there are other parts of the employee experience that add value as well.  Here’s how I guide my clients to think about their “deal.”

Tangible elements of compensation:

  • Salary – How much you’re making. There’s easy ways to find out if the compensation fits market conditions. Word-of-mouth, Glassdoor, Indeed, your previous pay range(s). Do your research.
  • Health Benefits – Medical/Dental/Vision. There’s value here. Usually thousands of dollars a month. Check the Health Marketplace to get a sense of cost per month.
  • Performance Incentives – Awards/Merit/Stock/Bonus. Knowing how you might score additional money is important. Ask how it works and make sure you’re clear on the potential – could be a ton of extra dough.
  • Perks – think education coverage, gym, bus pass/parking, free food.
  • Matching – 401(k) style. Whatever the plan, that’s “free money” and it’s worth knowing (and taking advantage).

Non-Tangible elements of compensation:

  • Flex-time (aka “Working from home”). This is a biggie. Tons of value doing laundry on Friday mid-morning … oops, I mean taking that conference call from home.
  • Location (and commute) – City or Suburb? Toll Bridge or Highway? (don’t get me started on Hwy 520 here in Seattle!) There’s tons of value if the work location is desirable (to your health and wallet).
  • Travel – VIP style (hopefully). Awesome hotels as part of your travel options? Maybe business class? Ability to take clients to dinner? That’s awesome (and valuable)!
  • Mentoring / Volunteering – opportunities to help yourself (and others). Continuing to grow professionally (and help others) can add a ton to your experience. Maybe not to your wallet, but it’s still valuable!
  • Vacation – time to decompress. While two weeks is paid (in most corporate environments), any time over this is bonus! Now only if you took full advantage of your vacation time, right???

Your homework this week: If you’re in a corporate gig, take a look at your tangible and non-tangible compensation. Did I cover everything? Anything missing? Things you need further clarification on from your employer? Feel like you have a “good deal” now? Anything out of whack?  If so, let’s chat!

Coming-up next week: It’s the end of the month already!  Can you believe it? Time for our favorite Book, Article, TEDTalk, and PodCast (BATP) all about money!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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