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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mis en Place

I've been working steadily over the past few months on one of my annual projects - our salary reviews.

First I gather country/city data for cost of living increases, then examine competitor data from surveys. Using this, we get a base-line increase/adjustment figure for each location and then position. That information in hand, we look at retention of profit on our bottom line and tweak a little where we can to ensure our primary responsibility of returning a positive dividend to our shareholders is met.

Detailed worksheets with complex formulae and look-up tables peppered throughout are generated and these form the basis of the next step - going through the rigmarole of various approval levels as required by our compliance processes. Once we've done that, it's time for the communication to staff. I've managed, over the years, to convince management to reduce that letter from one very full page of way too many words, to a couple of brief and to-the-point paragraphs advising of the new compensation level and concluding with a nicety about their contribution in the past year and looking forward to the same in the next. In reality I could write: "Dear (name), You will receive $.... from 1 January 2007, signed HR" and that would suffice because really the only thing one looks at is the number!!

Form letters are drafted, field-linked to the data sheets, merged, printed, signed, copied. Then happily stuffed into waiting envelopes and presented to each employee before Christmas. Usually there is at least a semblance of appreciation, though it is quite incredible just how quickly any monetary reward is forgotten and if the other 'hygiene factors' aren't taken care of, dissatisfaction will soon rear its ugly head.

So, my mis en place is ready. Today I'll be doing a final check, no doubt make a few last-minute adjustments, there are always those, then press that button to mail merge. By this evening, one big project for the year is off my plate. And hopefully, tomorrow, more than a few people will be happy, if only for a fleeting moment.

Then I can relax, just a little, before the next biggie starts to raise its head...the annual bonus, which is tied to so many things: profit retention, share price, quality inspections, personal performance.



Sunny Delight said...

Our office just received an general across the board email from the director of the agency..."You all got an 2% raise this year" and from what I hear, all are happy, nonprofits have not been doing well in the past few years, so any raise is better than none.

I get the none though, since I am new on the job....sigh

And for someone with math problems darlin' you sound incredibly efficient.

Fiona said...

Now THAT is how I'd love to communicate. We are mostly (95%)doing an across the board increase but for each person we calculate their new pay and each letter is addressed in a personal manner with their name written by the signatory. We over-complicate things.

We had a pay freeze here for almost 5 years, last year was the first year with an increase!!

Honey I get really stressed at this time of the year with all these figures...I fight my limitations tooth and nail, hell I check excel calculations with a calculator *L*, just to be sure!!

I sit waiting for someone to find errors in my work....to expose me....and with sheer volume, there is bound to be one or two and I really beat myself up over them. I maybe read a figure wrong or transposed two figures...I always do SOMETHING!!!! And because of the sensitivity, I pretty much have to self-check my work.

Am sitting here about to do another cross-check of my data...to be sure to be sure to be sure...before I do the print run...will be a long night tonight!!


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