The Mix Tape: Ep. 3 — Compensation Isn’t Just Business, It’s Personal

There's few topics in business that are universally uncomfortable like compensation, so why not break the ice on a podcast? Mix Talent's Patty Adams takes on the subject with Dale Moyer, co-founder of incentovate. Incentovate helps businesses create robust compensation and benefits strategies, provides financial management, and offers on-premise HR leadership.

Transcription

Unison:
Welcome to the Mix Tape.

Valerie McCandlish:

I’m Valerie.

Natalie Taylor:

And I’m Natalie.

Valerie McCandlish:

Welcome back for another episode, we hope that you’ve enjoyed this season so far. And today I think our guest might be coming for our jobs, Natalie, because she gave such a great intro that I really don’t know what we can say that can even top that info that she’s about to give us.

Natalie Taylor:

I know Patty is just the best. If you’re a returning listener, you’ll remember her from season one. She is our human resources consulting guru, and she is back again for season two. Today, Patty is joined by Dale Moyer, an expert in told rewards and the president and founder of Incentovate. Together, they’re discussing a topic that is on just about everyone’s minds compensation. Without further ado, here’s today’s episode. It’s not just business it’s personal.

Patty Adams:

Hello. Welcome to the podcast. I’m Patty Adams, head of readiness and optimization at Mix Talent, where I leverage over 30 years as an internal HR practitioner in life science companies, to help clients in pharma, biotech, cell and gene therapy to develop, deploy and de-risk their people strategy in alignment with their business strategy. Some of you may remember me from season one’s podcast. A return to work is not a return to normal, and I’m excited to return for season two of The Mix Tape to discuss a topic that often strikes fear in the heart of business and HR leader. I’m fortunate to assist clients across a wide range of human resources related matters, but there’s one theme that’s constant, compensation. Whether it’s a small startup at the seed funding stage or a large established company preparing for a commercial launch and all stages in between, there’s always a need for compensation related data information and support.

Patty Adams:

So since we’re in Q1 and compensation reviews are in full swing, we thought the timing was perfect to dedicate this podcast to the often unnerving ever confusing and often emotional topic of compensation. It’s not just business, it’s personal. I shamelessly stole that tagline from my colleague Dale Moyer, and I’m fortunate to be joined by Dale today, as he’s an expert in total rewards. Dale is the founder and president of Incentovate and his mission is to provide guidance and expertise in areas that range from total rewards and compensation from HRS implementation to benefits design and administration, from acquisition integration to change leadership. I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with Dale on compensation projects, and I’m very grateful to him for lending his expertise to our discussion today. Welcome Dale. Please provide the audience with some information regarding your background.

Dale Moyer:

Oh, well thank you, Patty and so nice to be here. Thanks for having me. You said it well we’re in the business of helping organizations and really what we do at Incentovate is, we work with our organizations to help them get better, to get a handle on issues that are sometimes plaguing them. And oftentimes that’s in the total reward space. So that’s really it in a nutshell, we try to remain at a high strategic level with them. So we can then get down into the weeds with them on certain issues as they come up.

Patty Adams:

Great. Thanks Dale and so let’s jump into the abyss that is compensation by first talking about some of the trends in the market. In preparation for today’s discussion, I did a little bit of research and found that a recent study published by the society for resources management stated that employees rated compensation and pay the second most important contributor to job satisfaction. And that’s a jump from the fourth position back in 2014. Additionally, the study said that top talent may soon be looking elsewhere for opportunities, if they don’t feel like they’re being adequately rewarded. Some other stats to start our discussion, U.S. wages are going to increase by 3.9% in 2022. That’s according to the conference board. And that’s the highest rate increase since 2008. There is no doubt we are in a bidding war for talent. So Dale let’s start by you sharing with us, what are you seeing as trends that are impacting the way employees and business leaders think about compensation?

Dale Moyer:

It’s a great question. And it’s the hottest question today on this front. And I think it’s one that a lot of organizations are grappling with. They’re looking at a lot of data. They’re hearing a lot of information and they’re trying to quickly get out ahead of this by making adjustments. Adjustments to pay, adjustments to their compensation structure, trying to figure out where they maybe at risk of losing key talent and also just broad base talent. What are we seeing? We’re seeing a lot though, of folks who are repeating a lot of things that they’re hearing. And so a lot of times there is a bit of an echo chamber. They’re hearing information about the great resignation or the great migration of talent, and they fear around that.

Dale Moyer:

And I think some of that fear and uncertainty then feeds on itself, so that they begin contemplating having to give very large increases to try and keep people satisfied and in place in their roles. But we’re really kind of cautioning to just take a step back, take a deep breath, see where things are at and take a little bit more of a patient approach to things, so that there’s not knee jerk reactions to making this longer term commitment to making compensation changes that might be abrupt and you might be living with for quite some time.

Patty Adams:

Yeah, that’s interesting. So some decision making driven by fear, uncertainty and rushing to make those adjustments versus making more informed decision based on market data or… Is that a little bit about what you’re saying?

Dale Moyer:

Very true. And it’s interesting, right? We’ve both seen merit increased budgets have historically for the past 15, 20 years have been at a 3% amount each year. So it’s almost very predictable edging up to 3.9% is reported is very significant. But it’s interesting that in conversations we’ve had with organizations, some have been contemplating, even larger increases and some are making headway in doing that. Again, would caution not to go too full fledged in that direction, but to maybe take a little bit more wait and see, because there’s other levers, there’s other opportunities to explore as we’ll talk about today. And as that survey shows pay is not always number one and it historically has not been in a lot of these surveys of employees, but it is getting up there in terms of one of the top two or three important aspects.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. So continuing our discussion on trends that you see in the marketplace. You mentioned the great migration this unprecedented turnover, resignation, I think was 4.9 million people in the month of November resigning. And how feared uncertainty about losing talent in an organization can drive some of those decisions. And along those lines now there’s some talk about the great rates. So people across the spectrum getting raises to your point, business leaders thinking we’re just going to implement pay increases and that goes across the spectrum from some of the more entry level positions to even the higher end of the spectrum executives and so on. Can you tell me a little bit about what you’ve seen in terms of your clients, is this consistent with what you’re seeing? Does this kind of meet the trends that you’ve seen in some of your client organizations?

Dale Moyer:

I think one of the biggest moves I’ve seen is that for a lot of organizations, they just want to get a handle on what is reality today?

Patty Adams:

Okay.

Dale Moyer:

So they want to examine and make sure that their pay practices are best in class, that they’re thinking constructively and critically about how they’re paying, how they’re benchmarking, how they look compared to their industry, to their peers. So there seems to be more interesting curiosity in that, into taking a deep dive into how they’re doing things and then making a plan for the future, which I think is just wise business. It’s good hygiene to be keeping a sharpened look at things on this front.

Patty Adams:

Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So tell me a little bit about how the pandemic has influenced. Interestingly, a lot of the client organizations that I work with have become very flexible in terms of where people can work, not requiring relocation. Relocation used to be a huge consideration in total cash compensation packages, especially for executives or offering relocation to positions that may not have been offered relocation before. And how that remote work is almost driving this gig mentality. How do you see that as impacting compensation, not just now, but certainly as we move forward?

Dale Moyer:

It’s a great question. And I think it’s going to have some very lasting shaping impacts on the terrain. When the pandemic hit organizations did what they had to do, they shifted quickly. We innovated to create flexible work arrangements to protect employees and to safeguard them as well as the business. Then the question seemed to be, well, now we have to come back to the office. This is going to go away. And as we saw with the [inaudible 00:10:20] with the research of Omicron, this will probably be with us for quite a while. We’ve prepared for years of this. And I think in a very positive way, it has really sort of reshaped how work is for a lot of people and for a lot of organizations.

Dale Moyer:

I don’t believe we’re ever going to completely return to this back at the office. I believe now we have reached a point now where there’s going to be really a broad based, almost a sociological acceptance that your job can be remote. It used to be, had to kind of hide out a little bit or had to talk through, or kind of make excuses for why you worked remote or why it is that you have the special deal that you can work at home on Fridays. That is no longer a topic of conversation. Now it’s part of our work. And so now I think the conversation is interesting how it bleeds back into, well, what will that environment look like when you have some folks who are more willing to come back and can work on premise versus those that will be almost entirely remote or some blend thereof?

Dale Moyer:

And so now the conversation is really getting around to, okay, so this is going to be with us from here on out. How do we more adequately evaluate performance for employees who we don’t always see and are always in our midst all the time. So this, I think will be an interesting aspect. And I think the other interesting aspect is you’re talking about Patty in terms of locality pay and about geography. And as we look at this, geography begins to play less and less of a role in a remote space. We’re working with organizations where employees are in far [inaudible 00:12:00] places and states and cities where there are no company operations per se, but they’re working out of a home office. And so that then begins to beg the question of, well, how relevant are some of our assumptions around differences in the cost of living for certain cities.

Dale Moyer:

If we’re hiring individuals for a company that’s based in New York, but its employees are in far [inaudible 00:12:24] cities in different places. So all that rationale about giving locality and adjusting locality pay for individuals, it’s always predicated on where they lived and all the expenses that come in living in certain places. So these are all kind of interesting things that are shifting the landscape a bit as we look across things.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. And great insight there, Dale, thank you. And just a couple of thoughts as I’m listening to you describe some of these trends and what I’ve seen with some of the client organizations that I’ve worked with, certainly that cost of living adjustment. I think the struggle going forward is some organizations are diligent about doing compensation reviews, assessment, benchmarking on an annual basis to make sure that pay is competitive. What is the benchmark now? Is the benchmark national pay data, whereas before their tier point taking a deep dive and local trends? Boston versus we’re in the north suburbs of Chicago. How do we make sure especially with all of the issues around pay equity and compliance related concerns around pay equity that not only are companies being competitive, but they’re also being thoughtful about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and equity, or pay equity matters that aren’t just the right thing to do from a cultural perspective, but are also relevant in terms of regulatory considerations?

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely. What you’re highlighting here is we’re looking now at pay compensation, total rewards through now multiple lenses and those lenses evolve over time. So it’s always been that the three biggest driving factors on pay is the industry, the size of the organization and its geography. And as I mentioned, certainly there’s an element here that the location may not be as relevant for certain roles. But that’s the important point here is, it’s really for knowledge workers that have the ability to work remote, we’re not talking about broad swaths of employees, certainly the service industry, the hotel industry-

Patty Adams:

Manufacturing industry.

Dale Moyer:

Manufacturing industry. Researchers who require access to labs, for example, that’s not work that can be done in homes and by any means. So it’s really knowledge workers that have the ability to do their work on a laptop, for example and have remote access to other employees and clients for whom are getting now this flexibility. Geography will still be very important for those industries we just talked about, but also then for employees really at entry level, the worker level, the record file level who for majority of their work has to be done on premise.

Dale Moyer:

As you mentioned, Patty pay equity, really the governance around fairness, both from a gender, racial perspective and lens is all becoming more and more important at how we look at things. So I think one of the trends, the themes of even today’s podcast is there’s just going to be more importance in being diligent and intentional about the decisions that we make about pay and its relevance to work and its relevance to the workplace now and in the future.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. Great point that intentionality and I think a lot of times what business leaders, HR leaders struggle with is how do you get to that point where it’s objective decision making, that’s informed by anecdotal information. And we’ll talk about some of those tools and resources in just a few more minutes and in terms of what can businesses do to make sure that they’re being mindful of these trends, but of some of the regulatory questions. But you touched on something that I think I want to talk about. As I opened today’s podcast, I talked about the fact that compensation is often fraught with emotion, whether you’re a leader trying to crack the code about what’s fair and how can I meet people’s expectations and still be fiscally responsible in terms of paid decisions, why is compensation such an emotional topic for people?

Dale Moyer:

That’s something I think a lot of folks think on, business leaders, employees ourselves since we think about pay. And think it gets back to, we internalize our value, our self worth in many times, not rightly or wrongly, and that gets expressed through compensation. And that’s why it becomes such an emotional issue is, there’s always a sense of what is my worth? What is my contribution level? And it becomes more and more apparent than for employees. And this is not a new topic is, the importance of how equitably and fairly is someone being paid for their work? I always find interesting is that there’s a hypersensitivity almost like a dog ear sensitivity that people have, that we all have about how our peers are paid relative to our own.

Dale Moyer:

And as we know, there’s various factors that go into that skill sets, performance, tenure are all contributing factors to that eventual decision. But there’s less than of a comparison or there’s more of an acceptance that, for example, though, individuals at higher levels in the organization may be paid significantly more. So it’s not just this simple question of are other people being paid as much as me or more than me, or less than me? The question is, are people at my level within the organization being paid relative to me?

Patty Adams:

Yeah. That reference to other right.

Dale Moyer:

Exactly.

Patty Adams:

I’m going to choose someone in the organization to compare myself to. Sometimes it’s rational because we’re in the same job sometimes it’s not.

Dale Moyer:

Sometimes it’s not.

Patty Adams:

Right. And I think to your point about other life milestones, a lot of people have specific salary milestones in mind that they want to achieve by a certain point in their career. And if they don’t see themselves getting to that point as anticipated, they might be experiencing some disappointment, self-doubt that can lead to dissatisfaction on the job. So I think I’m going to go where someone will pay me what I think I’m worth. So let’s talk a little bit about lifting the veil of secrecy around compensation and how compensation decisions are made. What is it that leaders think about when it comes to pay not just from an individual perspective, but overall some of what informs an organization’s approach to their compensation philosophy and how that affects pay practices in an organization? Let’s try to lift the veil and give some insider information about how that happens.

Dale Moyer:

Great expression too. [inaudible 00:19:32]. What’s also an interesting point is it’s so often that pay in the situation, if you will, around what people are earning is oftentimes just an artifact of history. So a lot of times leaders may come into a role and they’ve inherited a situation, right? People are being paid this amount or this amount relative to each other. And so that can either persist and continue, it may be working or they may be starting to see pressures and the pressures can be turnover, dissatisfaction. Another one can be that they’re not being as profitable. And so we talk about, there has to be this very healthy balance between profitability, for an organization and its ability and willingness to pay to hopefully have content and satisfied and motivated and incented employees.

Dale Moyer:

So that’s here with us now. And if anything, it’s just been raised up in it’s importance given today’s situation in terms of lifting the veil. So I really think the process is, as we just saying earlier, so many of us get our information from different sources. So when employees are getting their information and may be getting it from social media sites, job review sites, seeking information is quite easy with a few fingertips on the keyboard.

Patty Adams:

It’s everywhere.

Dale Moyer:

It is everywhere.

Patty Adams:

Yeah.

Dale Moyer:

It is everywhere. And so we have to ask the question, what are the sources of information? And I think one of the most important things in this space is to make sure that you’re working with validated data because there’s no lack of sources of information, but there are lacks of good information. So what’s so important in this space is really then just to take a careful look to make sure you’re working with validated benchmark data sources that use healthy sample sizes, where you’ve got a lot of representative sample sizes for the data. And that it’s got some good history to it that it’s been built on and developed over several years or more, not just a one of. And so I think that becomes the promise for making some good decisions around kind compensation, compensation philosophy, pay band strategy, and so forth.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. So that really provides the foundation for organizations to have well informed, market based and market competitive pay practices, but there’s still enough ability in there to accommodate whatever that organization’s culture is. I always tell clients, market data is critical because everybody wants to know, am I competitive in terms of what I’m paying my team? And then there’s also pay equity and other regulatory considerations that we talked about. So yeah, so we want to be fiscally responsible. We want to be market competitive, but those are one data point. The other pieces you have to consider your culture. Are we going to be better than 50% of the market due to cash constraints? Are we going to have to pay between the market 25th and the market 50th?

Patty Adams:

Some of those decisions, and there’s so many levers that can be pulled to help put together a competitive pay practice that isn’t always necessarily just based in total cash compensation. Can you talk a little bit about how you advise your clients in thinking about some of those other levers from a total rewards perspective that can be pulled to help them compete in this war for talent?

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely. Two things you just said, Patty is so important. One is organizations are using market data really as that touchstone to sort of figure out what is the lay of the land? Where do we begin to make some comparisons? And flexibility is key. As we step back and look at this though, it’s not just a numbers exercise while we’re doing compensation evaluation and total rewards design. We’re having to take a deep dive into culture and understand what’s important. What is the organization, it’s founders, it’s people stand for? What’s important to them? And I think that’s always an important discussion to have because every organization is also unique. So while there’s a comparability perspective which we have to answer and understand, there are unique aspects that really become the secret sauce for a lot of organizations, right? That’s why certain people just love working for them.

Dale Moyer:

We really like to take a holistic approach. It’s looking at pay, it’s looking at the importance and the relevance of base salary versus bonuses. And if the organization is fortunate enough to be able to pay bonuses, how those are tied in together? What are the measurements we’re going to use to determine the success of payouts? How will those two come together? What does the overall total cash compensation picture look like when you take base and bonus together?

Dale Moyer:

So that’s important so that you can prospectively have a lay of the land, a look at how things may turn out, given certain scenarios, economic or otherwise in looking at that total rewards of course, branches across benefits as well. So obviously a lot of our employee benefits these days are a bit commoditized. And there’s an expectation that there will be medical, that there will be dental and there will be life insurance, etc. But even within that there’s some space to create and sort of modify the benefits plans around what’s important to their employees and then to dedicate the resources, the financial resources to making that work.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. So the health and welfare benefits playing an increasing role. And I think structuring the story around tier point, how that complete package reinforces the culture of an organization. We’re committed to taking care of you. For an early stage company, we may not have the cash, but we have competitive benefits, we have flexibility.

Dale Moyer:

Correct.

Patty Adams:

Right. I read an article the other day about how recruiters are targeting. A CEO will say, “All right, we’re requiring everyone to come back to the office.” For company X, recruiters will start calling people in that company who may not want to go back to the office and say, “Hey, come and work for us. We’ll let you continue to work remotely.” It’s almost like fish in a barrel. So taking that comprehensive view is important. And I think one thing I want to take a deeper dive on here is we start to come towards the end of our podcast, we talked a bit about benchmarking and the importance of accurate benchmarks. So let’s talk a little bit about what are benchmarks, how do they work in terms of setting pay ranges for our positions? What is some of the technical, but again, lifting the veil, what goes into setting competitive benchmarks for companies?

Dale Moyer:

I think one of the most important things is first of all, assessing which of the jobs are benchmark able for the organizations. It’s not always that every single job is. I think the important thing is that we’re able to look at certain roles at different levels within the organization, and then use benchmarking data in a way that we can kind of get a handle on how well or how not so well, or how competitive or how not so competitive we are paying within those comparable scopes. There’s not just one pay out there either. A particular role may command a salary in the marketplace of $55,000, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the magic number. So we’re usually looking at a range of pay anywhere sometimes on the lower end of the 25th percentile up to about the median, up to about the 75th percentile.

Dale Moyer:

When we see pay below the 25th or above the 75th, then we have to step back and ask the question, do we have this person at the right level? Is there something particular about this person that is justifying the pay relative to his or her position? But I think having those kind of questions and sort of de-layering and getting to the source of the answers for those things helps us then to be, again, more intentional around what the pay should be for employees at various levels in the organization. And that feeds logically, it’s a logical stepping off point to really articulating our compensation philosophy. And so we have a more robust plan.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. And I think that’s a great segue because that’s the work that you and I do. We’ve done together. We work independently with some of our clients, but ultimately it’s coming into an organization taking a look at what’s in place, identifying benchmarks in to your point of validated survey source. Making sure that there’s good alignment between what that job is in that company and what we’re finding in the survey data. Looking at cash compensation, looking at things like equity and trying to help the company understand how are you relative to the market data point number one, then we also have to think about, okay, what is your cash runway? What is your budget? What are expectations of the compensation committee of the board and, or senior leadership. And then how does that align with where people are in terms of their performance, their experience? Because we can’t ask about pay history anymore.

Dale Moyer:

That’s right.

Patty Adams:

We can only ask about pay expectations going forward. So that kind of throws another interesting twist.

Dale Moyer:

It does. And Patty, what you were saying earlier about how things have referenced in the pandemic. We’re talking about how things have affected the landscape. Yeah. I think one of the things that’s being called into question a lot now is timing and duration and role as you and I have talked about a lot of times. The prospect of a long term incentive plan may not be as attractive for some people today, as it was in a few years back.

Patty Adams:

Yes.

Dale Moyer:

An LTI plan, long term incentive plan that may hold the promise of a payout five or more years down the road may not be attractive to an employee who has not worked in a position five years in his or her career. And so in those kinds of aspects, I think it’s important to bring out those are aspects that often times will confound the compensation committee leaders in the organization say, well, we’ve developed this great plan why aren’t people more excited about this? Why hasn’t this necessarily curved our turnover problem, etc?

Dale Moyer:

And I think one of the issues may be, is that employees generally may discount certain plans or add a premium to them if they feel like there’s a really good shot at a good payout. And so I think you see that a lot of times here with long term incentive plans where we’re kind of taking a fresh look at what is the duration, what is the timing for a payout? And is that attractive to people these days?

Patty Adams:

Yeah. So am I going to stick around for a five year investing period, when I just got a call from a recruiter, who’s offering me a $5,000 cash sign on bonus?

Dale Moyer:

Exactly.

Patty Adams:

Right. So to what extent does that long term incentive now actually work as an incentive and how much weight should organizations be placing on how the candidate or an employee will value that as part of their total comp package?

Dale Moyer:

Yes.Well said.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. And so let’s move now towards some of the frustration with benchmarks, with industry data that we’ve been referring to. Because what I hear a lot from my clients is this market data, we understand it’s a must, it’s specific to our industry. There are thousands of companies that participate, but it doesn’t seem to fit for us. We’re either way above what they’re saying we should pay for this job or way below, and we can’t afford it. So have you seen that first of all?

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely. Yes.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. And what’s the remedy?

Dale Moyer:

Yeah. Well, I think hopefully it’s comforting to organizations that when they find that they are paying for certain roles above or below, it’s not necessarily a unique problem to them. And so I think there’s a few things. One is let’s use more than one source when possible-

Patty Adams:

Great.

Dale Moyer:

Survey source. So I think that’s helps the validation process. The other is, again, we’re not looking for one number, we’re looking for a range of numbers. We’re looking for something that gives us some insights to relative levels of pay and where we should be relative to them. Those I think are the beginning points and that way it becomes more sensible as we develop.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. And what I hear you saying, I talk about this a lot. You’ve heard me say this. You’re probably tired of hearing me say this. There is an art and a science to compensation.

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely.

Patty Adams:

Right. The science is, are the benchmarks that we’re talking about, the methodology that goes into identifying pay ranges and an important part of having a compliant and market based pay. That there’s no doubt about that. But the art, we never want to discount our clients’ insight, their experience with what they’re seeing in the marketplace. Especially when you talk about some of these emerging sectors and life science, like cell and gene therapy, where there are very niche roles, where the data for those roles may or may not be reflected-

Dale Moyer:

Exactly.

Patty Adams:

In some of the benchmarks in these compensation surveys. And if they are, it may not necessarily reflect how competitive the pay is for those roles.

Dale Moyer:

Great point. There’s a lag factor. The data that you’re looking at in any sort of survey or benchmarking will have been captured prior to present, it’s safe to say. So maybe things have moved kind of quickly since that data was published is one question, I think to your point, too, every organization may be in a unique situation. If they’re expanding into a certain area, a new territory, a new product, a new service, certain roles may become more important to them. They don’t want to lose certain skill sets, certain individuals. So they may be willing to pay a premium for that, which then looks out of whack or not consistent with the market data.

Patty Adams:

Yes.

Dale Moyer:

But then there’s a very valid reason for that. So again, the important point is always just to use the data to sort of just say, “Okay, you look like you’re paying high for these particular roles, this part level. Why is that?” And if there’s a good reason for it, then maybe you stay that course.

Patty Adams:

Great point a benchmark is just that. It’s a benchmark. To start with a foundation of well-informed information and along those lines I think that’s why you and I, after hearing from cell and gene therapy companies, some of the frustration with compensation data specific to that industry. So we’re going to be offering this as a service to our clients, compiling information specific to cell and gene therapy. So let’s talk a little bit about this project that we’re embarking on.

Dale Moyer:

Yeah. Very excited. So as you and I have been working on this, we’ve seen the need that specific to the cell and gene therapy space, which is probably one of the fastest growing within the biotech. They’re right now grappling with what are our comparables? How should we be structuring pay? And so, as we look at that, we’re looking at various published survey sources, but also then taking in a lot of the information from cell and gene therapy companies to really start to develop some best practices, some intel, some insights into how things are going and what the future holds. So I think this is an exciting frontier that we’re on right now in developing this.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. A lot more to come in terms of helping this emerging sector, life sciences identify compensation benchmarks that are specific to that industry.

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely.

Patty Adams:

So excited to find out more about that as we roll out this project. So any other topics or thoughts you have on cub that we should have touched on that we haven’t yet to help people understand how to manage, how to think about… And it’s one of those a tried and true saying, are you going to manage comps or is it going to manage you?

Dale Moyer:

Exactly.

Patty Adams:

It is manageable.

Dale Moyer:

It is manageable. And I think for organizations that maybe have not dedicated time, the effort to really kind of doing a deep dive, they may be looking at it as, oh, this is a ton of work. How are we going to ever get this going? Do I have to do this all the time? And the answer to that is, no. [inaudible 00:37:07] was plugged by working with an outside consultant can be a very good process to accelerate it.

Patty Adams:

Yes.

Dale Moyer:

Get you to the place where you need to be. And then it can be more of a maintenance mode of your viewing it. You’re looking at it hopefully on a periodic basis, ideally maybe twice a year, at minimal once a year. And once you kind of get to that point, then it’s a matter of maintaining it and keeping it going as opposed to having to make some major jerk reactions or quick decisions that may or may not be necessary. So I think the one important thing is to get it underway and then just to keep it maintained.

Patty Adams:

Great point. And there’s no better way to build confidence with investors, with boards, with senior leadership than to demonstrate that there has been thoughtful consideration and rigor-

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely.

Patty Adams:

Around recommendations of related to pay practices in an organization.

Dale Moyer:

Absolutely.

Patty Adams:

Yeah. Great. So thank you-

Dale Moyer:

[Crosstalk 00:38:05].

Patty Adams:

For an informative discussion. And of course, as is typical with our Mix Tape, I’m already on the record with my responses to these questions, but I’m going to put you on the spot here, Dale.

Dale Moyer:

Okay. All right.

Patty Adams:

Because what we ask everyone who is participating in this to share a couple of insights so that we can add to our mix tape. First is, what is your favorite song?

Dale Moyer:

Oh my goodness. Wow. My favorite song. Well, it would probably be a cop out to say, I don’t have a favorite, but let me just say this. I have been going back and listening to a lot of Robert Cray music recently, and he’s an old favorite of mine and timeless style. So I’m back on my Robert Cray, theme, I guess you can say of listening to music.

Patty Adams:

Any song in particular, we can put on our list.

Dale Moyer:

Oh, I hate to say… Well, I cannot think of one that I’d like particularly more than another.

Patty Adams:

Going to leave it to us to choose for you. [crosstalk 00:39:11]. Watch out.

Dale Moyer:

I think any of his stuff you pick will be great.

Patty Adams:

Okay. Great. And then the final question, what is your favorite interview question when you’re speaking with candidates?

Dale Moyer:

Okay. Well, say my least favorite is, tell me about yourself.

Patty Adams:

Oh, yeah.

Dale Moyer:

Always puts us in a terrible spot, But here’s one I think is helpful is to ask the question, if we could transport ourselves two years in the future and look back over the two years from now to that point, what would we want to say that we accomplished?

Patty Adams:

Interesting.

Dale Moyer:

So it is kind of a way of doing a look forward or look back.. And I’m always interested to hear what people say

Patty Adams:

And do they have a plan?

Dale Moyer:

And do they have a plan?

Patty Adams:

Do they have a vision?

Dale Moyer:

Yes.

Patty Adams:

Great.

Dale Moyer:

Exactly.

Patty Adams:

Great. Well, thank you for playing in the sandbox with those questions, Dale-

Dale Moyer:

No. Absolutely.

Patty Adams:

And thanks again for participating in today’s discussion on compensation. It’s not just business, it is personal. And thanks everyone for listening to The Mix Tape. We’ll see you next time.

Natalie Taylor:

Thank you too Patty and Dale for sharing this insightful discussion with all of us. As we had mentioned before, this conversation is so relevant given today’s climate. I think it’s really interesting to experience what Patty called lifting the veil and giving that inside scoop to the tough decision that go into what determines compensation.

Valerie McCandlish:

Yeah. Exactly. Patty had mentioned in her discussion, the trend that wages are going to increase by just under 4% in 2022. And I can say that I’ve actually seen this in action myself this year already. One of the clients that I’ve been supporting completed a salary assessment and gave all of their employees a 5% raise to kick off January. And then they also increased the starting salaries for new hires by 5% at the rep level. And I just think that this awareness of wanting to make change is so awesome.

Valerie McCandlish:

I think even just the effort to make the change happen for the team sometimes is appreciated more than the amount itself, because it’s like, they’re saying we care about you. We don’t want to lose you. Everyone’s been working hard. So here’s a 5% increase for all. This doesn’t have anything to do with your merit increase or your year to year change. But here’s just a 5% because you’ve all been doing a great job.

Natalie Taylor:

And that’s a significant change really. And it’s great to hear that we’re seeing some of these efforts already in our industry. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of it too, over the course of the year. And as the landscape of our industry continues to grow and morph and truly to stay competitive, I think is really important, especially thinking about our clients. And on another note, a musical note, we are excited to welcome a new song to our playlist with Dale’s edition of a song from Robert Cray. So as a reminder, you can find the mix tape playlist on Spotify, so give us a follow.

Valerie McCandlish:

Yeah. And I hope that you’ve been enjoying it all so far this season. And this time we encourage you to maybe share this episode with somebody that you know. Share it with a friend, a colleague, maybe you have someone who is currently struggling with compensation themselves, and they could use some insights or suggestions. And this is a great way to give them some help.

Natalie Taylor:

Yeah. That’s a great point, Val. So with that, thank you for being in the mix and we’ll see you next week.

 

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