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How Employee Compensation Generates Organizational Impact

How Employee Compensation Generates Organizational Impact

After 16 years of surveying 1,000 organizations, we’re well aware of the four words that can make Christian leaders squirm: employee compensation and benefits.

 Giselle Jenkins, Best Christian Workplaces Institute


What if, instead of having to continually dance around this topic, you could actually make your compensation and benefits plan a means to attract, reward and retain the top talent and increase your impact as a church, ministry organization, or Christian-led business.

It’s not a concept, it’s a plan that really works. I want to give you the same logical, proven, four-step outline now being used across the U.S., Canada, Australia and beyond. The approach comes from 25-plus years of practice, study and refinement from Giselle Jenkins, BCWI Director of Consulting Services, who says,

“Compensation may not the reason an employee stays with your organization, but it could be a reason they choose to leave.”

To attract, retain and reward the kind of top talent needed to fulfill the mission of your organization (let alone improve your level of employee engagement):

1. Define your compensation philosophy

This is the "why” behind your strategy that says who you are as an organization and what you value as an organization. Your compensation philosophy:

  • guides the compensation strategies and programs to ensure equitable treatment for everyone,
  • spells out how base pay is determined (Will your compensation decisions be driven by the market (e.g. non-profit, for-profit, mission, church)? By performance? Or, perhaps some combination of the two? and
  • points you toward a holistic view of compensation, including base pay, incentives, benefits, etc., defining why particular benefits are included.

2. Identify your compensation strategy

This is how you work out your compensation philosophy. To what degree have you identified things like performance incentives, medical and dental benefits, paid time off, vacation, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave and, of course, federal, state and city requirements?

3. Benchmark salaries for each job

Some helpful "first steps” include matching the salary range to:

  • the geography, size, and industry of the job position
  • at least 30 percent of your organization’s positions, aka “anchor jobs.”

Giselle emphasizes, “Every employee wants to know, ‘Is our leadership demonstrating integrity in ‘walking the talk’ of the organization’s values?’ and ‘Is there equity in our compensation and benefits plan that transcends job titles and roles, from top to bottom?'

[shareable cite="Giselle Jenkins"]Compensation may not be the reason an employee stays, but it could be a reason they leave."[/shareable]

4. Training managers to effectively communicate compensation realities

"Can your managers live up to the philosophy and strategy of your plan in ways that create buy-in and trust among your employees? Here is a key!  It takes focused effort to communicate and train front level managers to make your compensation plan work.  It’s the front-line manager employees trust to communicate the compensation plan.  Training them so you never experience this trust-busting comment from a front-line manager to an employee… ‘I wanted to give you more money, but they (HR/Leadership, etc) wouldn’t let me!’

And here’s the key that unlocks it all. . . .

“If you really want your compensation and rewards plan to work, survey your employees. Ask your people which areas—from base pay to paid time off and everything in between--would be most meaningful to them.  It could be an enhanced retirement plan, a flexible work schedule, or a higher merit pay plan. Unless you ask your people, you won’t really know.”

It's Your Turn

If you could speak to Giselle right now, what would you say?

A. I tend to agree with most of what you’ve said.
B. Our organization is already doing some of these things.
C. It sounds good, but I’m not one of the decision-makers.
D. Our organization could use some help in these areas.

Coming Up Next on our Continuing Series

“Four Wise Ways to Compensate Your Employees”
Scott Wiggins, Director of Staff
Pinelake Church
Oxford, Mississippi