Getting Serious About Your Nonprofit’s Compensation Structure


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Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Hello everyone and welcome. Thank you for joining us this afternoon for Nonprofit HR’s Virtual Learning Educational Event. Today’s session is entitled Getting Serious About Your Nonprofit’s Compensation Structure. My name is a Atokatha Ashmond Brew. I am Managing Director of Marketing & Strategic Communication for Nonprofit HR. I will be your conversation moderator for today.  


We have a lot of great content to cover. You’re going to walk away with a solid understanding of how to refine your approach to compensation to yield a positive return on investment. Before we get started, though, I would like to go over a few items so you know how to participate in today’s event. 


You have joined the presentation listening using your computer’s speaker system by default. If you would prefer to join over the telephone, just select telephone in the audio pane and the dial-in information will be displayed. You will have the opportunity to submit text questions to today’s presenters by typing your questions into the questions pane of the control panel. You may send in your questions at any time during the presentation, we will collect these and address them during the Q&A session at the end of today’s presentation. 


Today’s event is being recorded, and you will receive a follow-up email within the next few days with a link to view the presentation and the recording along with those assets. All live attendees will receive the codes for SHRM and HRCI recertification.  


Just a brief note about Nonprofit HR. Since 2000, Nonprofit HR remains the country’s leading and oldest firm focused exclusively on the talent management needs of the social sector, including nonprofits, associations, social enterprises and other mission-driven organizations. We focus our consulting efforts on the following practice areas: Strategy & Advisory, HR Outsourcing, Total Rewards, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Search. We were founded with one goal in mind: to strengthen the social impact sector talent management capacity by strengthening its people. 


Today’s conversation will be led by two of Nonprofit HR’s Total Rewards experts, Lisa McKeown and Tina Twyman. And now, I’d like to share a little about our panelists. 


Lisa McKeown is Managing Director for a Nonprofit HR’s Total Rewards practice. Lisa offers clients more than 25 years of experience in global benefits, compensation and HRIS with a unique expertise in global compensation strategy, program design and operations. Throughout her career, Lisa has held several prominent roles within well-known brands. She held multiple roles with Pathfinder International for nearly 10 years, culminating in the role of Director of Total Rewards and HRIS, through which she paved the way for the company’s first global total rewards structure. Lisa has also held roles with Staples Inc., TRW Inc. and other mission-driven organizations. 


Now, about our second speaker, Tina Twyman. Tina is a Senior Consultant for Total Rewards with Nonprofit HR. Tina has over 15 years of human resources experience in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, higher education institutions, financial services and technology firms, and other industry sectors. Tina is a strategic partner who advises senior leaders and executives on compensation, job/organizational restructuring and organizational development.  


You will have an opportunity to ask questions throughout the webinar and during a formal Q&A session at the end of the webinar. Lisa, I’d like to turn it over to you now to get today’s conversation started. 


Lisa McKeown: Thanks, Atokatha. It’s really good to be with you all today and I just want to talk a little bit about what our learning objectives are for the webinar today. We want to talk about what is changing in the landscape of compensation that Tina and I have seen in our work, in our experience talking with our partners and others in this space. So, we want to cover that first. Next, a strategic approach to compensation, so really looking at what approach you should take when designing and thinking about your compensation structure. We want to spend a little bit of time talking about job descriptions, why they are important, things you should consider, components and aspects of job descriptions that are important—to understand and know. Compensation program components. We want to talk a little bit about a high-level overview of market analysis. How do you determine it’s time to build your structure? How many levels? So, we want to talk a little bit about that. And, we want to dive also a bit into paid practices and policies, and talk about some of the different things you should consider when thinking about the pay decisions that you have to make within your organization. Then, of course, throughout, and then at the end, we’ll have plenty of time for questions. 


So, to talk a little bit first, to set the stage for what we’ll talk about in the remaining of the presentation, what is happening within compensation that makes this webinar so timely? We have seen, due to external factors happening in the world around us, the pandemic, a renewed and heightened focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the economy opening up since the pandemic, there’s a lot that’s happening. One of the first pieces we want to talk about is looking at compensation through a lens of equity. 


We’re looking at not only compensation but total rewards programs. And today, we’re focused on compensation, but we’re also working with a lot of our partners, looking at benefits as well and really, considering the development of your programs, ensuring that they are equitable, that they are meeting the needs of the diverse staff that you have and the geographies of where they’re living. 


There is a renewed focus and heightened attention that’s being driven, many times, by your staff and by external factors within the environment outside your organization and within for virtual workforces. Most of us who work in similar organizations, nonprofits and other organizations, we went from being in an office to working from our homes. And now that we’ve been doing that for over a year, many organizations are grappling with, should I be bringing staff back to the office? Should we allow for a hybrid situation—some at home, some at work or a mix of that? Should we go all virtual? So, considering that you might be thinking about this now, you want to think about its impact on your compensation program. This is another reason that it’s important to start thinking about some of these components. 


Competition for talent. We know as the economy opens up—we’re seeing it, and we’re hearing about it from our clients that we partner with and in the space overall—that there is a heightened competition for talent, and we expect that to continue as we go through the summer and the fall. So, because there is that competition doing the work now to prepare your compensation structure, your market data and thinking about your job descriptions is really going to be important to set yourself and your organization up for success when that competition for talent happens. 


Access to information, and misinformation. This is not a new element, this has been available for some time where there are individuals, through different websites where they can publish salaries, posting their salaries. It’s a lot of misinformation around what positions get paid. Through different elements, either Glassdoor, LinkedIn or other elements, where people can post their own salaries, then employees are seeing that information, and coming to you, and saying, “I’m seeing that my position is X amount.” So think about how your compensation needs to factor that in, you need to be prepared to answer questions related to your compensation program because there is a lot of information out there. 


And then, transparency around compensation. This is an area that we have worked with our clients a lot on. To what level should they be transparent? If they haven’t been transparent up to this point, if they are considering that, lots of organizations are now posting a salary range on close to jobs. So, there is more information about what organizations are paying for positions. And your employees are seeing that, your candidates are seeing that, so ensure that those salaries that are being posted externally. Then, what do you share internally with your staff? 


A lot of these different factors will impact whether you have a well-developed compensation program, you know what your jobs are worth and your job descriptions are up to date. It’s important to think about these things as you’re thinking of developing your approach and your philosophy of compensation. 


Tina, is there anything that I might have missed that you think you want to add in before we move on? 


Tina Twyman: Not at this time, Lisa. 


Lisa McKeown: Great. Thanks, Tina. 


So, what we want to start with is providing you an introduction to compensation and really have you see where your total rewards strategy aligns with what your organization has developed. And sometimes organizations will come to us, and they’ll start with that program design and administration circle. But really, what you need to think about is your corporate vision, your values and your mission. What are the values of your organization? What’s your mission? Having a mission that is perhaps social justice based, education based or arts based, those missions have different impact on your philosophy related to total rewards, so it’s important to really have that defined. 


Then, of course, you have your business strategy or your strategic plan. Many organizations think about how the organization is structured. They think about a three-to-five-year strategic plan, so also considering that impact on your HR strategy. And then, of course, that leads into your total rewards strategy. So, if you’ve got a strategic plan, that then determines what the talent management priorities will be for the next few years, you want to make sure that you’re considering those different factors when you’re developing your total rewards strategy, which talks about your compensation philosophy, where you want to be in the market, how you want to design your structure and how you want to communicate about your structure. So, having the context of those previous conversations together is going to help develop that. 


Once you determine that strategy, you have to think about building your compensation program. That’s your market analysis, that’s sort of that technical work that an organization needs to do to make sure that they’ve pulled market data for all their jobs, you’ve developed your job descriptions, you understand what the roles are in an organization, you understand the external competitiveness of your positions and then internally, how staff are benchmarked. Once you have that sense of where you are with the market, then you can begin to think about your philosophy, your policies and practices. 


We’re going to dive into our first big segment of our presentation, and we’re going to talk a little bit about job descriptions. I’m going to provide a little bit of an overview, and then I’ll hand it over to Tina to walk through some of those pieces. 


So really, what is the purpose of your job descriptions? 


They really do support all your talent management initiatives across your organization. Without defining your job descriptions, what are the outcomes that are required? At what level does the work need to happen? Are they developed based on the business needs of the organization? They really are a tool, a strategic tool, that really supports and underpins all of those talent management initiatives in your organization. You certainly need well defined job descriptions to make sure that you can benchmark your roles appropriately to the external market. You need them to evaluate performance, set goals for career growth and development to understand how staff can move and what competencies and outcomes they need to achieve to be able to grow within an organization. And then, you obviously need them for recruiting as well. Many organizations sometimes will take their job descriptions or develop their job postings from those roles. So, it really is important that you first define what those job descriptions in your organization are. It’s really the foundation, not only for compensation, but your other talent management initiatives too.  


I’m going to hand it over to Tina. Tina, you let me know when you’re ready to advance the slides. She’s going to talk a little bit about job descriptions. 


Tina Twyman: Thank you, Lisa. 


Starting off with some guiding principles of the job descriptions—defining the roles within your organization based on the business need. Now, Lisa, you and I know that the attendees here today are serious about getting their compensation structure in line. So, we know that they are defining their roles based on business needs and not individuals. That was one of the key components, and I know it happens. We know others that have done that, but I think that’s really one of the main guiding principles, it’s going back to the diagram and using your workforce planning to align with the business strategy. And then, of course using that DEI lens and making sure that we stay in compliance when it comes to job descriptions. That’s really the most critical thing that I want to mention about that. 


For job titles, definitely describe the level of work (accountant, senior accountant, advisor, etc.) and use consistent titling whenever possible. Another opportunity is not inflating job titles. It really does set up unrealistic expectations for the employee. We do understand that organizations depending on where they are in their lifecycle, they’re looking for creative ways to put a package together. And sometimes that does come to a lot of title inflation, but it does not help when we’re looking at jobs across the organization. When it comes to job titles, I would try to stay consistent and use levels to accurately describe the work that they are performing. 


Lisa, do you have anything to add? 


Lisa McKeown: The only thing that I would probably add to that is, oftentimes, when Tina and I are working and conducting comp analysis for organizations, we often look more into the job content. I think there definitely is work that we’ve done around job titling that relates to thinking about what titles make sense externally, to know your donors, your clients that you might serve, and what titles might make sense internally; sometimes organizations have both external titles and internal titles. And I think the thing to be mindful about a job title is, as Tina mentioned, not inflating them, thinking about consistency and really thinking about what’s required of the job as opposed to adding “senior” in front of a title to create a sense of a promotion when really the job is the same. So, be mindful of how you use job titles. 


Tina Twyman: Absolutely. 


The job summary is really three or four high-level sentences describing the major purpose of the job. Why does it exist? And it’s really ideal to include the reporting relationship and some kind of overall accountability and decision making. 


When it comes to the meat, or the essential job functions, of the role, oftentimes we’ve seen two to three pages of job tasks and we ask that you refrain from that, and really think about the outcomes and the responsibilities of the role. And try to focus on those that account for at least 10% of the role. Any other duties that are important can go into another area, kind of “other duties assigned” to capture it all. But really try and focus on what are those outcomes, if the function doesn’t happen, what are the results of that? Using verbs. Again, if a job is coordinating activities, use “coordinating activities” versus “managing activities” if they’re truly not managing activities. And that kind of goes in line with the job title thoughts that we just talked about previously. 


Lisa, is there anything else you want to add? 


Lisa McKeown: No, I think that’s good. 


Tina Twyman: So, here’s an example: A head of HR is typically a very senior strategic position. We have different titles, VP, senior vice president, but it’s an executive-level role. And if you have for example, “implements all people operations to ensure a positive employee experience,” that sometimes can be confused with a person of a department of one versus a strategic, more executive senior leadership role who develops and oversees the implementation of human resources practices, the vision, priorities and strategies. There’s an example here of an opportunity when it comes to a job responsibility for HR position, for example. 


Lisa, do you have anything to add? 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, I think when you think about drafting your job descriptions or really defining for your organization what roles are acquired, I think it’s good to keep in the back of your mind, the other elements that you are creating jobs for. 


For example, if you’re thinking of using your job descriptions to upload into your HR technology systems, and they will be used to support your performance management process. Really develop outcomes within the job descriptions that define what is expected of an individual. So, I think this example of head of human resources is really important, because it not only defines it for your recruitment purposes, performance management purposes, it also defines it for how you benchmark the role externally. If you have a leader of HR that is simply implementing policies, that’s going to be perceived differently than someone who is actually developing and overseeing and ensuring that those policies they develop are carried forward. So, it’s thinking about what outcomes are required and also, at what level are those outcomes also required as well. 


Tina Twyman: Excellent. And finally, job specifications. The most critical component I want to spend time on is really that this should entail the minimum job requirements to perform the job. And sometimes, organizations overstate or list everything under the sun because they’re looking for that perfect individual, and that sometimes can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. And so really think about, what does it take at a minimum to perform this job? Whether that’s years of experience or a high school diploma, or what level of degree, license or certifications? 


Lisa McKeown: I think we actually had a question that was pre-asked about physical demands like lifting, excessive typing, outdoors versus indoors. And I think that these are also important to add to a job description, particularly if you’re hosting this job externally, so that the person applying for it understands what those physical expectations might be as well. And the working demands, I think are also critical. You know, that’s even changing now. So much work is done virtually that it’s impacting perhaps the extent to which travel might be required for a role. So, I think rethinking those types of demands will be important as you take a look at either job descriptions you already have created or if you’re thinking of revising or updating or creating ones that might have it. 


Atokatha, before we go on to the next section, where is there any questions on job descriptions that we could answer? 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Hi, Lisa. Yes, there are several questions. The first one has to do with the mention of “senior” and removing “senior” from the job description or job title. I think you spoke to that earlier, and a few folks are asking for clarification on when to use that. Should they use it in promotion purposes or for promotion purposes? So, could you just speak a little bit more to that? 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a really good question. And oftentimes, we will work with nonprofits that are smaller organizations and they might not necessarily have as many opportunities to be promoted. Unless somebody leaves a position, a higher-level position or lateral position, it’s difficult sometimes to give a promotion to staff. So, I think putting, let’s use, for example, “project co-ordinator.” Many times, organizations might just put “project coordinator” or “senior project coordinator,” but the job is pretty much the same. It’s just to give a sense of you’re moving up, you’ve been promoted, but the responsibilities remain the same, and I think it solves a current temporary issue, but what it does is create a long-term problem because your titles are becoming not aligned. Your structure, if you do have one, is not aligned. And there’s no role clarity, so it’s difficult to maintain that clarity when you are simply changing titles or creating job descriptions for individuals, rather than what the business needs. I understand the desire that you want to give that sense of promotion, but I think it’s really important to think about, if you benchmark your jobs and your jobs have some ranges, that 25th to 75th, and someone has a “project coordinator” job title, can they take on additional responsibilities and just increase their salary based on those increased responsibilities? We’ll talk a little bit more about promotions when we talk about our paid practices, but the guidance I would give is if the job truly is senior, maybe it supervises interns, and the project coordinator doesn’t, that could be a difference. I would just make sure there’s a business reason to add “senior” in front of a title rather than just to provide an individual promotion. 


Tina Twyman: Yes. I was going to add that make sure there is a business need and, of course, have the financial resources. And then when there’s a change in the scope level, the depth and breadth, accountability, the kind of problem solving, those are factors that you consider when it’s time to promote or increase title as the result of the work. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: All right. Thanks, Lisa and Tina, and one other question came in regarding competencies and job descriptions and whether or not that’s absolutely essential. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, I think often competencies are those elements that describe those organizational competencies that could be required across all of your roles. Your communication is a good example. At certain levels, communication has a different competency level. At one level, it could be, you must be able to communicate complex strategy or concepts. In others, it might just be to communicate about a benefits program or it could be to understand certain instructions to be able to complete a task. So, there’s an example of those organizational competencies, and then there’s functional competencies, those things you must know to do the job. I think, yes, competencies should really be well defined within your job description and then appropriately written for the level of the role. 


So, someone who might need finance experience might not necessarily need to have their CPA, but they might need to be able to understand basic accounting principles. It’s thinking about not only what competencies, but at what level competencies are needed for a particular role as well. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: All right, we can move on for now, Lisa. 


Lisa McKeown: OkayOK, so the next piece we wanted to talk about is thinking about if you have your job descriptions, they are well defined and you’re in a position to be able to benchmark those positions to the external market, I think some of the next steps that an organization generally will think about is, how do we ensure that our paid practices and our salary structure is competitive and externally and internally equitable? And it’s important that as you think about embarking upon creating a salary structure to ensure that some of these guiding principles will guide you through the process. So, definitely ensure that your paid practices are externally competitive and internally equitable, that your positions are defined by the business need and then, the experience and the performance really determine the individual’s place in the range. This is an important distinction to keep in mind as you develop your structure. 


So, you have your job descriptions, you’ve defined your roles. When we’re partnering with organizations to help them build their compensation structure, we don’t actually look at who the incumbents are in the role and what their salaries are, because we try to keep that process very equitable and almost pure, in a way. Because we don’t want to think about what individuals hold the job. If you embark upon this work on your own as an organization, and you go out and you benchmark your roles, it’s really important to separate the role from the person. Really benchmark your jobs first to the external market, and once you agree that you’ve selected the right survey data from the different surveys that you might select, and you feel comfortable that you’ve selected the right survey matches for your job descriptions, then you can start thinking about bringing the staff salaries in to do a comparison. 


It’s important, it’s very hard to do, but it’s really important to try to separate what level is this job to the market, what will the market pay for this job, first. And then, what should the individual or the incumbent, based on their experiences of credentials, their performance, be paid within the market? So, just things to keep in mind.  


We talked a little bit about this previously. Before you begin to develop your compensation philosophy, your paid practices and your processes for that, you really need to understand where your organization stands to the external market. Oftentimes, we’ll have organizations wanting to start with, I want to design, I want to think about our comp philosophy. We’ll ask the questions: Have you thought about what state your job descriptions are in? Do they define your roles appropriately? Have you looked in the last few years at how your roles align to the external market? When’s the last time you did that? If you have, have you sense checked, if it’s been a few years, jobs from different levels to make sure that the market data hasn’t moved? 


So, it’s important before you embark upon really developing the philosophy and the practices that you first know where you’re beginning. So if you do a benchmark, you do the work to look at your salaries, look at your job descriptions, define what the ranges are for your unique roles, and then you bring your employee data in, you might have a gap, you might be paying well below the market. And in that case, you’ve got to think of, from a financial perspective, how much do I need to budget to bring these salaries in line with at least the 25th percentile? 


That’s going to impact your messaging, your communication to staff and what you might share. If you do that work and you’re right at the midpoint of the market, your salaries are competitive, most of your staff are within the ranges that you develop, that’s a different message that you can tell. Knowing where you are can really drive the messaging. 


Tina, is there anything you want to add to that before I move on? 


Tina Twyman: You covered it. 


Lisa McKeown: Great. Once you’ve done that work to develop your job descriptions. I think these are some of the questions that you could ask yourself. 


Is it time for a more formal salary structure? 


At Nonprofit HR, in our work, methodology and approach to helping to build comp structures, we generally recommend that you have at least 20 unique roles, and what does that mean? You might have 20 staff within your nonprofit organization, and each one of those might have a unique role because you might be smaller. You might be a larger nonprofit that has 150 employees, but several of those employees, for example, are program coordinators. Maybe 15 of them are program coordinators. So, we really want to look at how many unique jobs or job titles exist within your organization or jobs that are very similar. You want to look for if you have more than 20 unique roles, it could be time that you’re approaching building a formal salary structure. 


If you have less than 20 roles, you might want to benchmark those roles to the market and think about maybe not needing as formal of a structure. If you have more than 20, or you’re approaching 20 to 30, it’s definitely time to think about creating a more formal structure. Of course, have you done the work to align your jobs internally? And have you thought about how that relates to your organizational structure? If you have a structure and you’ve got more than 20 jobs, how are those jobs related to each other? What is the reporting structure? Because when you define and you build a compensation structure, you want to make sure that it aligns with your reporting structure within the organization. If you have a hierarchal structure, you want to build a structure that aligns to that. If you have more of a matrix or a flatter structure, you want to make sure that the comp structure that you develop reflects that as well. Then, you always want to think about equity. 


Are employees or managers bringing concerns about equity of pay? Do you know if you’ve got a couple of folks with the same job title, or they’re in the same department, or at the same level, and have you looked to see if they are being paid equitably? Are there any differences to that? Having that formal structure gives you the framework to try to evaluate and analyze some of that information. 


How many grades do you think are appropriate? There’s no set number of levels. I think if you are a smaller organization, maybe under 50 or so staff, based on the types of jobs that exist within your organization, those will naturally be grouped together as you see the market data, as job descriptions are read, what makes sense for your organization. I’ve seen some that have hundreds of employees and then have five levels. I’ve seen organizations that have 50 employees and they have 10 levels. So, it’s really thinking about, what is the most agile structure that gives the organization the flexibility to make pay decisions that are nimble, easy to understand and easy to communicate? Compensation structures don’t have to be complicated in and of themselves. They have to make sense for the organization. They have to reflect the roles and the levels that you have and tie into, if you recall, that overall strategy, mission, values and strategic plan of your organization. But they should all tie in and reflect each other. 


Then, of course, when you’re designing a pay structure, you want to think about how wide you want your salary ranges to be. When you’re a smaller organization, or even a larger organization, thinking about letting the market, the external market, drive how you set up your ranges, and there’s several ways that we do that. There’s several different methodologies for determining what ranges will be, but we do usually use the foundation of the external market data. 


So, really think about if you are a smaller organization, creating ranges that allow for growth within that range. If you make them too tight, there’s not a lot of room for growth, so really strategically thinkabout what makes sense as you’re developing those ranges, keeping in mind you want to not stray too far from the market data, but you also need it to work for your organization as well. 


Tina, is there anything you want to add in there before I move to the next slide? 


Tina Twyman: For organizations that are thinking if they don’t have a structure in place now or they’re thinking about some questions around their employees, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal pay structure if they’re smaller, but some kind of framework. If their employees are asking about promotions or career pathing, if they’re having challenges with recruiting or even retention and turnover, there are some opportunities there. If they’re asking those questions themselves or starting to see that data, then it’s probably time to start thinking about some type of framework or structure. 


Lisa McKeown: As we talked about a little bit earlier, build upon and ensure that your roles are well defined, you’ve got job descriptions with outcomes, the competencies, what experience, education or certifications might be required, and you’ve got those organized. Then, you’ve gone out and you’ve taken those roles and selected the surveys that make most sense for your organization, or you’ve worked with a consulting firm to do that work. And you’ve developed your structure, the structure that makes sense for your organization based on your size, the number of jobs and your mission. There are so many factors that go into creating a compensation structure that works for your organization. But having that structure in place, whether it be very formal because you’re more than 20 positions, or a little bit less, at least you’ve benchmark to your individual jobs and you now understand taking your staff salaries and benchmarking them against that market data, those ranges you’ve created. You now understand what could be the delta between any salary adjustments you need to make to be more competitive, you have found out that you’re right where you need to be, or maybe you are above the market. You can begin to think about your compensation philosophy. 


It’s important, as we mentioned, to know where you stand to be able to start thinking about this, because this impacts how your organization defines for itself, what is the purpose of your compensation philosophy? The really the purpose of it is to define, and it’s more of an external facing document, there are many organizations that use their compensation philosophies, and they’re not meant to be many, many pages long. Generally, they are just perhaps a page, four to five paragraphs at the most, very high level. And again, it’s designed to give your organization the flexibility that it needs. But what’s the purpose of your compensation philosophy? It is enabling you to define how you view compensation within your organization, the parameters of it, what the guiding principles that you’ll put together related to your philosophy? What are those elements that you consider part of compensation? And Tina will talk a little bit about that in the next slides. 


Market positioning. So, this is going to be important. Where do you want to pay in the market? Do you want to strive to be at the midpoint of the market, that 50th percentile? Or do you want to be higher than that? Do you want to pay the 75th? And talking that through. And then also, what are some of the pay components you consider part of compensation. It’s important to really define this, and Tina will talk a little bit more about this in the further slides, but it’s not just salary and benefits. There are other things your organization does that enhance the overall work-life experience for your employees, so it’s important to think about other components of your total rewards program. 


Tina, I will turn it over to you to talk a little bit about this part of it. 


Tina Twyman: Excellent, thank you. As Lisa mentioned, the compensation philosophy and strategy usually isn’t more than a page long and really just provides a statement or information about the how the organization believes that people should be paid. And, of course, it should support the business strategy and fit within the organization’s culture. 


As Lisa mentioned, the parameters, or the strategy or principles, that guide the design, implementation and administration of that program—what does that mean? So, how often will you review your market data, your structure, things of that nature? Where do you want to fit, as far as the philosophy, the market position? You want to hire the best of the best and you want to target the 75th percentile. Can you afford to do that? That is why Lisa mentioned a few slides back that it’s important to know where you are before you start jumping in and designing your compensation philosophy and your strategy. 


And then, what makes up your pay components? Base pay, that’s your fixed salary, and benefits and wellness programs, all those total rewards. If you have a bonus program or a set up compensation program, all of those make up, if you offer them, your pay components within the compensation philosophy and strategy. 


Lisa, anything you want to add? 


Lisa McKeown: No, but I think I want to give Atokatha an opportunity if there are any questions related to building a structure or philosophy that we want to answer before we go into talking about pay practices and policies. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: There are several questions. One, and I know you’ve covered equity earlier on in the presentation, but there is a question asking for additional insight on equity. And then, just another question regarding pay bands and region ranges and how they can truly approach that, especially if they are a smaller organization with a smaller budget. 


Lisa McKeown: Right. Is there a specific question around equity? We’re definitely going to talk about equity when we talk about paid practices and policies and different elements there. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: No, they were just asking you to expand upon that, so if you’re going to cover that later, then that’s great. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, I’m going to talk about it a little bit, but I think it’s important to highlight that the very act of taking proactive action to define your job descriptions based on the business need, and not thinking about an individual, is in of itself ensuring that you are focusing on what is required to do the job itself. Oftentimes, and many organizations are thinking about, is experience just as equal to, or sometimes better than, a degree? 


And so, thinking about what you really need for your roles is really the process of beginning to think about defining your roles in an equitable way because it will support your recruiting efforts. Because you’re focused on the business, you’re focused on what is needed to do the role itself and being clear about that. 


The process of not trying to think about your employees and what salaries they make, and, “Oh, yeah, I know this job because this person has this job, and they do it in this way,” but really think about this job as a program director that needs to have these competencies. These are the outcomes that are required that we would expect of somebody in this role. Try to separate the individual from it to make sure that you’re defining your roles not by some people, but on what the business needs. 


I think that process that you’ll go through, and if you don’t have job descriptions that are well defined or you’re in that process now or you think they’re well defined, I think that exercise alone, and then we talk a little bit about job descriptions when we talk about pay policies, but keeping them up to date, and reviewing them at least once a year to make sure they haven’t changed. Try to be very focused on, remember, it’s not about the individual, it’s about what do you need this role to do for the organization to meet its mission and to serve the population that you’re serving. 


Then, the second question, I’m sorry, Atokatha, that was—can you repeat that? 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: It’s around pay ranges and bands, wanting to know if you have any insights on whether or not there’s a rule of thumb for a percentile, and where a nonprofit should be, perhaps based on budget or employee count, et cetera. So, just looking for some guidance or guidelines around those ranges and bands. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, I’ll mention a little bit and I’d love to also give Tina an opportunity to weigh in on that too. 


The quick answer is there really is no rule of thumb. But in our experience, we’ve seen that it’s important, even if you only have five jobs within your organization and even if they combine many different roles in one—you might have someone that is overseas operations and they do finance, they do HR, they do administration, and you might have a program manager that’s also doing development work, communication work or website development—it’s very possible when you have smaller nonprofits that people are doing multiple roles, and even larger organizations, it’s the same. 


I think a good rule of thumb is to, particularly when you’re developing your comp philosophy, the guidance that we give is, strive on average to be at the 50th percentile if you can afford to do that. Particularly based on what the results of your market analysis are and where you benchmark your staff to that market data, I think even if you only have a few positions, you can still go out and individually benchmark them and get a range for that position. And you can still look at the incumbent in that role and determine, based on their experience and their performance and all of those other factors, should they really be at the 25th percentile, if you find, once you do the market data, that they’re very low in the range. Should they be higher up? 


Oftentimes organizations will take several years, two years sometimes if they’re really below market, to get staff to where they need to be. So, I think a good rule of thumb is to give yourself as an organization the room to be on average a little bit below the midpoint and a little bit above the midpoint, because you’ll have staff all along the spectrum. 


If you have the budget to be at the 75th, or even the 90th percentile, that’s wonderful. But will you always be in that position to pay at the 75th or the 90th percentile? Think about not only now, but down the road. Will you still have the ability to do that if your funding changes? Provide enough flexibility and space and agility to be able to manage your comp program, not only today, but down the road as well. 


Tina, is there anything you want to add in? 


Tina Twyman: No, and I don’t have a general rule of thumb either, but I was going to say even depending on how wide the ranges are varies by the organization, the types of positions that they have and so forth. So, it’s hard to say, “Here’s a rule of thumb for these matters,” because it does really depend and vary by each organization. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Great, and Lisa, that was that’s it for the questions for right now. There are lots of questions, but I can save some of these later for the formal Q&A. But there is a clarifying question in regard to percentile, and what that means exactly from the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile, et cetera. 


Lisa McKeown: Yes, so when you will develop your salary ranges and buy salary surveys, generally, within those surveys you’ll see a list of participants. And those participants will provide the salaries that they are paying for those particular roles for which they have positions within the organization. The survey themselves, the third party, will compile all that information, and then compile for a unique job, let’s say an accountant job where, for most part, the 50th percentile means 50% of organizations are paying at this salary. 


If you have, for example, let’s use an example of $50,000 as a 25th percentile and $150,000 as the 75th. That minimum amount, that $50,000 at the 25th percentile, means that, and this can get a little complicated because it’s math, but it essentially means that that would be the entry point, that 25th percentile would be the entry point that somebody would be paid for that job. And then, 75% of organizations are paying more than that. Then, you get to your 50th percentile, which is where, on average, most organizations are paying for this position. Then, when you get up to the 75th percentile, it means that less organizations are paying at that high level. 


So, it really is just the survey, the salary data, that’s collected by organizations who compile it as third-party survey vendors and then, they present what those ranges are. Those ranges represent what you might use for a unique role in your organization. So, do you want to pay at the lower end, that 25%? Or do you want to pay at the higher end, where less organizations are paying, at that 75th percentile? Where do you want to be along the spectrum? I really hope that helps whoever asked that question. If you want more clarity, our emails will be available, so feel free to reach out to me if you want a little more clarity on that. 


Thank you, Atokatha, for that. I’m going to hand it back to Tina and we’re going to start talking about the different pay practices and policies that you’ll want to think about in your organization. So, Tina, I’ll turn it back to you.  


Tina Twyman: Thank you, Lisa. 


As we continue to get serious about compensation or compensation structure, salary administration and developing pay practices are also essential. Even creating and maintaining the salary structure; how often we’re looking at the market data to make changes to our structure, to the number of grades, to the ranges—that minimum and the maximum, as you just talked about; ensuring that staff are paid within the salary range for their position appropriately; monitoring the employee so once we give them an increase, let’s say, at the beginning of the year, continuing to monitor their position and range; and are we developing or creating and administering pay practices consistently?  


So, here’s an opportunity around pay equity. Are we determining effective dates and eligibility? Are we administering our pay practices consistently? And then, communicating about the program. What are we communicating? How often are we communicating? Here’s an opportunity about transparency. I know you touched on that earlier in the webinar, Lisa. And sometimes, employees think they’re supposed to know what everybody else is supposed to get paid, and that’s not necessarily what we mean by pay transparency, but really talking about, how did you develop your programs or what are we doing about our programs? And how are you communicating about the compensation program? And then, make sure that our leaders understand and have received the proper education around the compensation program and the salary structure. Are we setting aside enough money for the program for the cost and budgeting for the various types of increases? 


And then, promoting ongoing education to support the structure and making sure that we’re in compliance. Again, we talked about pay equity and DEI, but there are so many other components to compensation around compliance. But are you doing your due diligence? Do you have a list of things that you’ve got to be checking off maybe once a year, at a minimum?  


Now, some things to think about. We’ve talked about job descriptions and I know it can be tedious, but they are important. How often are you updating and reviewing your job descriptions? When you have organizational changes, has the pandemic changed the way that you do business or a component or a department or division and how business is done? And if so, it’s great opportunity to take a step back and look at those job descriptions and see what that impact is. Not only on the work, but then on the individuals. 


And then, the compensation philosophy, Lisa, earlier you mentioned going virtual or hybrid as a result of the pandemic and how the economy is now changing or recovering, rather. Recruiting is getting tough for certain industries and so, with virtual, if you’re allowing your employees to work from anywhere, have you taken a look at some of your salary or your compensation practices? 


For new hires, this is pretty common. We tend to look at determining pay pretty frequently when we’re hiring staff. And that’s pretty straightforward because you’re recruiting and you have to make decisions around your salary offers. Are there practices in place when you do that so that you can ensure pay equity? And who’s looking at those offers before they’re being made to candidates? 


And are there any laws governing salary in your state? We know they keep changing. Now, there are laws in place that you can’t ask about a previous salary. We know that jobs are starting to put their salary ranges on their job postings. So, just, again, many things to think about when you’re looking at salary as it relates to new hires. 


Performance-based pay. Are we doing COLAs? Lisa and I have said many times that we’re not a fan of COLAs, or cost-of-living adjustments. Mostly, it’s 3% or 2%, whatever the cost of living is, and then you give that increase out to all your staff on some review date. Lisa and I definitely have the same philosophy on that, we really talk and promote merit- or performance-based increases. What are those accomplishments? And then, what type of recognition and reward is associated with that? 


Market adjustments. That’s an adjustment. How often are we reviewing our salary ranges? How often are we going out to market to look at the structure to determine how the market is moving to keep our structure in line and enhance giving our employees, when appropriate, a market adjustment to get them back in line with the market? 


Those are a little bit of pay practices that may not be as well-known as new hires and promotions. 


Lisa, do you have anything to add there? 


Lisa McKeown: No, no. 


I’m going to talk about some other types of salary administrative things to think about. So, thank you, Tina. 


One of the other types of salary administration decisions you often have to make will be about promotional increases. Have you thought about what can trigger a promotion? Oftentimes, it will be a new business need, a need available at a higher level or a position is vacated. Really think about what can trigger a promotion within your organization and then, how do you determine what that increase will be? And I think it’s important for the next point, as well, how are you ensuring that your promotion decisions are equitable? And I think this can be true for any salary decision you might make, where you’re increasing in individuals’ pay. Whether it be you’re bringing a new hire into a team, into a new job level or you’re doing a market adjustment for all your staff. I think whenever you make a new hire or promotion or increase, you need to think about, what are the salaries of the staff that are around either that level or that department? So, if you have a promotion that’s occurring, promotion to a higher or new grade or new job level, are you thinking about what the salaries are of the people at that next level that that person is being promoted into? What are the salaries of the folks around them? Could I be creating any inequities with this promotion? Are you looking at ethnicity, race, gender? Are you looking at all of those things to ensure that if it’s creating any inequities, you correct them? 


For new hires, same thing. If you bring a new hire into the organization, they’re getting a higher salary and you’re bringing them into a role or level, are you also adjusting the salaries around there to ensure that you’re making equitable decisions?  


Lateral transfers. These happen quite a bit. They happen in smaller organizations. Even in large organizations, they actually can be a great learning and development opportunity for someone that wants to have a different career path. Oftentimes, you’re thinking about, how do we do this, is a salary increase required? If they’re in the same grade or in their same level role, do they really need a job increase? Do we want to give them a small bump as motivating factor? So, you want to think about when you do have lateral transfers, what type of salary decision do you make? Positions that might go to another level, for whatever reason—it could be through attrition, a reward, a performance issue, whatever it might be—are you thinking about, well, if the position is moving from a higher grade to a lower grade, are we going to adjust the salary? Many organizations do not, but if you don’t, you have to think about, am I creating inequities in the reverse? Similar to bringing somebody in and promoting them, you want to still maintain the equity. So really think about if we, as an organization, either downgrade a position and the person is of a higher salary, will we change that person’s salary? 


Interim pay. Many times employees step in, either for somebody on leave or somebody leaves an organization and somebody of a level right below that steps in to fill that role temporarily. Will you add pay to that person’s salary? Many times, organizations, they’ll just put somebody in there temporarily and they don’t realize that we really should be giving them a little extra, separate. Not necessarily added to the person’s pay, but a separate payment to help supplement the extra work at a higher level that they might be doing. 


To kind of wrap this up before we open it up to questions, really the whole point of us sharing with you today is doing the work that we’ve talked about—with job descriptions, market analysis, thinking about your paid practices—and really to put you in a proactive position. If you are doing the work and you’re being proactive about it, then you’ll be able to answer, perhaps, some of these questions. So, can you answer for staff, you’ve created these ranges, what were your survey sources? And it’s okayOK to share those. Why is somebody making more or less money than me? Can you explain to somebody who might be at the same level, or even hold the same job, but they’re making different money? And, people share their salaries now, publicly, it’s on job descriptions when jobs are posted, so why is my job in this salary rate? Have you defined your levels so that staff can see, “Oh, it makes sense. My job is in this level. These are jobs that are sort of similar to my role. I understand why my job is here.” Or do you have a wonky mix of jobs combined together where you couldn’t really define why a job is at a certain level? And can you define, for someone, how do I make more money or get a promotion? You may have salary ranges, you may have a compensation structure, you may have good job descriptions, but are your people managers prepared to answer questions from your staff? Because employees generally, will go to their manager first. And it can be sometimes difficult for managers when staff come to them about salary types of questions like, “I know my job is worth X, because I’ve seen this job posted somewhere else.” Or, “My friend has this job and they make X amount of money.” So, are your people managers, do they have the right information? Are they armed with the right information to do that? 


And I know a last point to keep in mind is, you may have all the right answers, you’ve done all the work and employees still don’t like your answers. That happens, in all organizations that we have worked with, that I’d been a part of myself, that Tina has likely been a part of, that you might have all been a part of as well, too. So, just because you have an answer they don’t like it doesn’t mean you don’t have the right answer. So, I think be prepared that you might do all the due diligence, do all the work, make good decisions, solid decisions based on equity and diversity and you’ve tried to be fair and reasoned and rational and create an easy and agile structure, and you still may have those that might not like your answers. And that’s okayOK, but for the most part, if you’re being proactive, you’re sharing, your proactively addressing issues before employees have to bring them to you or managers have to bring them to you, then you’re in the right place. 


At this point now, I think we’re going to open it up to questions.  


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Yes, lots of questions. Lisa and Tina, thank you so much for this presentation, and all of the valuable content that you have shared. The questions are all very different, so I’m just going to go through them, and we’ll take them as they come in. 


The first is: If a long tenured staff member reaches the top of their salary range, and there is no other position to move to, what are the equity issues to consider capping their salary, making exceptions, using other rewards other than salary? And I’m assuming that this is in reference to those who are still not ready to retire but are still in their current position and may not have any other options. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, sure. Tina, would you like to take that one? 


Tina Twyman: Sure. A common practice is freezing that salary at the maximum of the range. And, if you give out a COLA or hopefully, a merit increase, taking that merit increase they’ve earned to say they were top performer and you give them a 5% increase. Taking that 5% and giving it into a form of a lump sum bonus payment is certainly a common practice. You continue to reward the work and the performance that the individual does and not just freezing and stopping pay altogether, which can sometimes be, I imagine, discouraging. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: OkayOK, another question has to do with, for employees, and I’m summarizing this because it’s somewhat of a statement and there is a question in there. It’s really around geographic diversity and how to choose a jurisdiction to really tie your compensation to, if you recommend that, or if you have any other ideas that they should consider. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, this is a really timely question. And we’re working with a lot of nonprofits to solve this. I think, there’s a couple of approaches an organization can take. One of the things you’ll want to look at, of course, is, what decisions have you made regarding whether staff will be coming back to the office? Will they be sort of a hybrid? Or can staff continue to work from home or other locations? I think it’s solving or answering that question. If you decide that your staff can be fully virtual, but you still have a large contingent that, based on where your office is, let’s just use D.C. as an example, if the majority of your staff are in D.C., I think it makes sense to have your structure based on the D.C. market. 


And I think, if you only have less than 10, perhaps, that are based in another part of the country, if you’re a smaller nonprofit, from an administrative standpoint, it makes sense to base that on your D.C. staff. If you’re a larger nonprofit and you have staff scattered all over the country, we have often recommended regional salary scales. So, oftentimes, organizations will benchmark their staff, nationally, sort of an average from East to West Coast and everywhere in between. And then, based on where you have large pockets of staff, create some regional geographical factors that you can apply to the structure, either plus or minus based on the region of the country that might make sense for you. 


What we generally don’t recommend is that you individually benchmark for every location where you might have staff, particularly if you’re large. If you’re a small organization, you can do that. But from a budget perspective, if you’re open to replacing positions anywhere in the country, you want to create a baseline of what you’d want to budget for those positions. So, we often recommend to look at national averages, create geographical factors based on where the majority of your staff are or if you have most of your staff still tied near where your headquarters are, even if you don’t technically have a headquarters there anymore and not requiring staff to come into the office, have that be where you’re basing or grounding your compensation structure. 


Hopefully, that helps. It’s so individualized based on what your employee census looks like and what the locations are honestly, too. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: OkayOK, there are several questions on COLA plus merit, and what the challenges are there, especially keeping up with inflation? 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah. Tina’s right. I’ve always had a strong sense of how COLA doesn’t necessarily reflect geographically nor does it reflect the level at which certain levels of roles move in the market. 


So, if you’re in between structures, for example, and you’ve benchmarked three years ago or two years ago, and in between, you just apply across the board either COLA increase to your structure or COLA increase to staff, some actually will just bump up the ranges, 2% or 2.25% or 3%. Others will leave their structure, but provide COLA to staff. Whichever way you’re doing that, it’s important to keep in mind that not all levels of role move at the same pace. For example, you might have position under managers so that individual contributors, professional and administrative staff, if you’ve got operations or direct service staff, those positions in the market might increase more than 3%. So, if you’re only increasing 2% or 3% a year, your structure, and those positions have increased, say, 10 to 15%, you’re not keeping pace with the market. 


Same on the higher levels. Sometimes you might be increasing roles, for example, at an executive level or a senior director level, but the market doesn’t have the demand for that. So, I think it’s really doing a sense check. If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at what your positions are valued in the market, just pick a few jobs from each level and check the market data in between, when you’re updating your full structure. I think it’s much better to provide and a much better use of precious financial resources, particularly for nonprofits, to really think about making sure that you’re keeping pace with the market, so do that sense checking, check your market data, make adjustments there as needed and then reward for performance. I think that, to me, is a better way to continue to motivate and engage and not lose pace with the external market more so than COLA, cost-of-living adjustments. It’s really focusing on the cost of labor, as opposed to cost of living. 


One thing I will add, though, is some organizations do look at the cost of housing for their areas and they make a commitment to look for—we have several nonprofits that have built their entry level to their structure around this. What’s the cost of, say, a modest, one bedroom apartment in the area where most of our employees are? And they’ll look at the market data, but they’ll also make some adjustment. If the market data says an assistant at $35,000 starts you off at that entry point into your range, but in the housing market it’s $38,000 to actually afford that. They might bump up their range starting out so that they keep pace with that. Many nonprofits do take a look at that as well and consider that as a factor when developing their structures.  


Tina, is there anything you want to add to that? 


Tina Twyman: No, you cover cost of living versus cost of labor, so I think that’s excellent. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: OkayOK, great. Here’s another question: We have bilingual staff. Should those staff be paid more just because they are bilingual? Both if the job requires it, or if it doesn’t require, but the person still uses their bilingual skills. And, how do you compensate or take that into compensation for other parts of the job that might fall outside of the need to be bilingual? 


Lisa McKeown: Oh, that’s really, that’s a really good question. 


I think it goes back to what did you define, what did the business define based on the population or the mission of the organization? And what languages, it goes with saying, what certifications? But when it comes to languages, I think if it is required for the role that somebody be bilingual, I think you can certainly factor that in in the market data. In surveys themselves, they don’t actually factor in that you must be bilingual in market data, per se, from salary surveys necessarily. 


We don’t see a lot of bilingual being included in market data, but that doesn’t mean if you require it, and it’s a harder to recruit for position to fill, there’s nothing that says you can’t set your range for that job. And let’s just say it’s a someone that’s doing direct care work in the housing environment, or addiction, whatever it might be, childcare or addiction services, they’re working directly with the people that you serve, and they need to be able to speak those languages. There’s nothing that says you can’t bump up their job within your starting salary to compensate a little bit for that bilingual requirement. We don’t always necessarily see it in the market data, but we do see that you can compensate for it a little bit in the starting salary of the position. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Great, thank you very much. Here’s the next one: If an organization is doing a market analysis for salary and using different sources, how can they navigate the tension between the sources to make sense of it, especially when there are multiple stakeholders? 


And they provided an example of seeing a discrepancy between women and men’s pay and recognizing that they have to choose which compensation data they’re going to use and how they ensure equity as a result of that in their decision making. 


I know, it’s a pretty long question. There’s a lot in there, but I think, it’s using multiple sources of data, having internal stakeholders that may represent different affinity groups and being able to decide which source they’re going to use at the end of the day and be able to explain it. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah. I’ll let Tina weigh in a little bit and then, I definitely have some thoughts on it. I want to give you an opportunity to provide your thoughts too, Tina. 


Tina Twyman: Sure. Well, first, I would make sure that the survey sources used do represent the organization’s size, subsector, industry, revenue, location and so forth. And so, those are all accurate. And you’ve looked at all of the job matches, and all the job matches are accurate matches, then I would use all of the data. I don’t see a reason why you have to pick one or two. And if you do that consistently, then you have a consistent process or methodology in how you’re determining the pay. 


What would you like to add, Lisa? 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah, I think, also, there are some salary surveys that do include data related to gender and race. If the salary includes that data and they are the right fit for your organization—like some of the surveys that we use, they really just focus on the job, and that’s really what you want to focus on—you want to focus on as many salary surveys that fit or align with your organization. And you can look at participant lists. All survey vendors do list out, and generally, you don’t have to buy the survey to see this, they can list it on their website before you buy it. You can look to see who the participants are that submitted data, even though the data itself is confidential and it’s analyzed by a third party. I would definitely look at participant lists and see if there are organizations that you feel you align with, that might have similar missions and similar size, like, “Yeah, we compete with this organization,” or, “We have gotten talent from this organization.” Sometimes talent moves back and forth between them. So, I would really check out the participant list to see what organizations are submitting data. 


I would still go back to focusing on the jobs as the driver and determining the value of the role, initially. And, when you are, then, looking at and bringing that data into your organization and benchmarking your staff, ensuring that you are looking objectively at experience, performance, how long has it been with the organization, have they developed, have they built their skills, what value are they adding on their role, things like that. Then, really objectively looking at those factors to determine where they belong within the range. And all things being equal, if you have different genders, different races and ethnicities doing the same job at equal level, then they should generally be paid the same. 


Then, of course, based on how your market data looks, you’ll get a sense of what that salary delta might be. But, I would start with looking at the participants, and if we haven’t answered your question to the fullest extent, I really do welcome you to reach out to us and we can talk about it a little bit more. 


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Great, thanks. Lisa, I think we have time for one, possibly two, more questions. Here’s the next one: How would you pay in a different way when you have temporarily increased a staff member’s salary due to a temporary increase in responsibility? For example, an interim position while a leader’s role is being filled. 


Lisa McKeown: Yeah. If you have someone that’s filling in temporarily, I would not add that percent, or whatever you determine the percent of their current salary based on what the salary is of the role itself, and is there a difference there? You want to think about, are they assuming all of their responsibilities? Are those responsibilities being divided up, or are they only taking on a few of the most critical ones? 


So, you really want to evaluate the level at which they’re stepping into that role and the amount of responsibility they’re taking on. And then, generally, whatever percent increase you determine is most appropriate, I would not add it to their pay because, when they step out of that role, you don’t want that pay to remain with them. So, it’s communicated as an interim increase in pay while they’re in this responsibility, it can be three months or whatever it is until that position is filled. And then, when they leave that role, the money which is paid separately, it’s a separate payment amount through the payroll system, it’s very clear to them that that pay goes away. 


Tina Twyman: Yeah, Lisa. It’s an off cycle. I mean, a separate check—it’s not a paper check anymore these days—but usually, it’s kind of like the off cycle, once a month is probably the frequency that I’ve seen it the most. 


Lisa McKeown: Do we have time for one more, Atokatha?  


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Yeah, and I think that if I can summarize the rest of these, they are really around transparency, consistency and making sure that whatever decisions are made are easily able to be communicated to staff, and exactly how much transparency would you all recommend as a result of that? 


Lisa McKeown: Tina, you want to take that one? 


Tina Twyman: My favorite. Transparency. Lisa and I have certainly talked about compensation philosophy and those guiding principles. That’s a great starting place. 


If you have that developed, start communicating about your philosophy and those guiding principles: how often you’re going to look at compensation, whatever you have, whatever you do, even if it’s not formal as a practice, start with communicating and communicating more than once a year. And I think that sharing the process in how you’re determining those principles or pay decisions is a real big insight into transparency. And really, I think that’s just the key. Then, we can go into details around should you post your pay ranges. Again, I don’t have a rule of thumb, it depends on the organization, where you are, you have to meet your employees where you are. And if you have a lot of work to do, then you might want to do that in phases and not give too much information too fast too soon.  




Lisa McKeown: No, I think you covered it.  


Atokatha Ashmond Brew: Well, that’s all the time we have for Q&A today. Thank you, again, to everyone who attended today’s webinar. We hope you found it to be valuable. 


Thank you, again, to our panelists, Lisa and Tina, for leading such a dynamic discussion. There are many more ways that you can interact with Nonprofit HR. You can certainly reach out to us if you’d like information about the work that we’re doing in our Total Rewards practice area. You may email us at info@nonprofithr.com. We will also be sharing the slides and recording to this event. And you will have access to Tina and Lisa’s contact information there, should you like to reach out to either of them.  


We recognize that there are lots of questions that we were not able to get to, so we may communicate out a few more answers in the form of a blog or some other update in the very near future. Please stay tuned for that. We have many other webinars that are coming up this year, visit nonprofithr.com/events to see what’s coming up and to register. Please be sure to complete the feedback survey that will show up once this event has concluded. Your comments do help us with our planning and can inform the topics we cover as well.  


Again, if you would like more information about Nonprofit HR and the services that we provide or to connect with our leaders on today’s call, please email us at info@nonprofithr.com, and you may visit us at nonprofithr.com as well. Thanks again for attending. Thanks again, Lisa and Tina, for such a dynamic presentation. Have a great rest of your afternoon.