In 2018 I committed to one thing for my career that took far more energy than I had planned. I decided that I needed to stop accepting lower fees for my side work than my male counterparts. I don’t mean accept less than males who do speaking and writing, I mean stop accepting less than males who do speaking and writing in the same arena I do who have comparable experience, knowledge, exposure, etc as me.
Y’all… this was hard. Sometimes it meant saying no to opportunities I really wanted to take and sometimes it meant pressing on with difficult negotiation conversations. Sometimes the first offer was sufficient, plenty of people let me set my own rate, and sometimes I still failed at negotiating the right price and accepted way lower payment than I should have.
I know I’m not the only one up against this. I’ve worked on this for my day job and overlooked the much needed negotiations for my “side gigs.” 2018 was the first time I had enough confidence to start the conversation to earn better pay for my side gigs so I started it.
What is glaringly obvious to me now is so many organizations still do not have a solid compensation strategy. I don’t know how far away we are from more folks getting this right, but I sure hope we can collectively step our game up this year.
I mean this as HR professionals with a voice in our organizations. I also mean this as HR professionals planning conferences for our profession. I know its tough. I’m helping plan a conference with a limited budget, so limited that one of the speakers we really wanted quoted me a price larger than the entire speaker budget that’s set aside to pay multiple speakers. Multiple speakers people!! We can’t do much this go around, but we can do something and I intend for that something to be as fair as possible.
Together, lets agree to start somewhere. Find a way to get the revenue or the sponsorship’s. Talk about a number your team is comfortable with, and don’t pay someone twice as much as you pay someone else for no good reason. Reach out to other people who have planned conferences and ask advice. Use your resources.
I’ll get better at negotiating my rate properly. You’ll get better at a solid compensation strategy. We will all get better at something this year.
Friends, secure your bag in 2019. If I can help, let me know.
Recruiter A gets hired in 2006. Recruiter A has seven years of experience and a bachelors in history. Recruiter A is offered a salary of $53,000
Recruiter B is offered $50,000 in 2016 with ten years of experience and a bachelors in human resource management and two hr certifications.
Recruiter A is a male, Recruiter B is a female. There is a ten-year gap in the offers and the amount has decreased. There are more variables that impact the salaries offered to Recruiter A and Recruiter B, but the glaring difference is gender. Recruiter B brought more HR knowledge and expertise to the existing group than Recruiter A had, allowing Recruiter B to fill other voids when necessary. Both recruiters had their start in “temp staffing” before joining the same company. The same department manager was in place and made the offers to Recruiter A and Recruiter B. At the time of hire neither recruiter is asked to show past results. That department manager making the offers is a female if anyone is curious.
If you haven’t experienced gender pay gap than great, but just because you haven’t seen it does not mean it doesn’t exist. A quick google will give you a variety of resources to investigate the gender pay gap for yourself. There are a variety of reasons for why a gender pay gap exists. A glaring reason is lack of a compensation strategy (though some companies strategy is to hire women because they will work harder for less money, but that’s not the kind of strategy I want to encourage). I’ve seen plenty of hiring managers make an offer to a candidate based on what they made at their last position combined with what they are asking for. While I can argue that this makes sense there are impacts that must be considered when making this decision. Someone needs to ask questions like, but not limited to, the following:
“What is the goal of our compensation strategy and is this in line with it?”
“Will this salary negatively impact the employee at pay increase time?”
“Will this salary negatively impact the employee at pay increase time?”
“Will this change the compensation plot for the group I manage?”
“Will this restrict future opportunities for them?”
“Would I pay someone of the opposite sex the same amount of money?”
I have some reservations over complete pay transparency, but I want to ask you as a manager if Recruiter B finds out all of this information, can you explain the answer? Is there a chunk of experience that is missing? References that aren’t as glowing as Recruiter A? Financial challenges that the company didn’t have 10 years ago? Whatever it is, are you ready to have a conversation about it (and possibly help Recruiter B grow)?
Here’s my common sense response to the FLSA proposed rule. Pay your people for the work they are doing. Seriously, that’s all. Ideally, pay them what they are worth. If you don’t think they are worth what you’re paying them, it might be time to part ways.
Let’s look at this together. You’re paying people $455 a week and you’re lobbying that they wont want to be hourly because being classified as “exempt” is an honor to them? Do you realize that $455 a week is $11.38/hr? That’s all! $11.38 an hour. If you are still paying people who qualify for exempt status $11.38 an hour, now is a great time to reevaluate your business plan. Can we be honest here? Are you paying them $455 a week because it’s cheap labor? I realize that not every business has money coming out of their ears or can pay beaucoup bucks for folks, but for exempt level duties can we all agree that $11.38 is not a lot of money?
Let me try to sound less harsh. I really considered making this one a video blog so that my tone would come across correctly, but decided against it. I want to challenge you to not take the stance that your employee is going to be upset if they go from exempt to non-exempt because of a “status in the workplace.” Talk to your employees, find out what they are going to be upset about it and start building a strategy that works best for you and your employees. I want to challenge you to evaluate your salaries and see how many people you will actually have to “double” their salary to get them to the right amount to meet the salary test for exemption. Hopefully you’re exempt level employees aren’t that far from the suggested salary now. I know, this sounds ludicrous! You can’t possibly conduct good business through effective communication, can you? Give it a shot!
I know there are many more complicated layers to this and it will vary from employer to employer, but dial down the drama and let’s do what we do best-solve some business problems! Saying “no more overtime” isn’t the answer either. Quite frankly, there will be times that your formerly exempt employees are going to have to work an hour or two of overtime. It’s not going to break the bank and if you aren’t overworking them and you’re truly managing their performance, you’re both going to be fine.
Let me leave you with this. There are some organizations out there that are taking advantage of some 19-year-old employee who is working her ass off, lining their pockets with money, and working for pennies all because someone sold a “status of exemption” to her as being a good thing. That 19-year-old employee working her ass off needs someone to have her back because she doesn’t know a lick about the FLSA, DOL, exempt, non-exempt, duties test, etc., she just thinks she’s being a hard worker and doing what’s right.