Editor's Note: Margaret O'Hanlon's post highlighting one organization's astonishing feat of raising pay satisfaction (% of employees reporting that they are satisfied with their pay) from under 20% to over 80% is a true Classic; there are lessons here - particularly lessons about transparency - that we all can and indeed should "try at home!"
Imagine this. Increasing pay satisfaction without increasing pay. And just for fun, try it with one of the toughest crowds -- hospital workers.
Can't be done, you say? It has been done, in one of the most august American healthcare institutions.
Attention must be paid. We have a lot to learn.
The Mayo Clinic conducted their biennial engagement survey in 1999 to find that 17% or so of their employees reported being satisfied with their pay. Slim pickins, even for a measure that is typically no higher than 30% or so in most organizations.
2011 results for the pay satisfaction item at the Mayo Clinic? 82%
How did they do it? As World at Work puts it, "Mayo Clinic’s success had little to do with changes to the compensation program itself but a stronger focus on communication, collaboration, transparency, market competitiveness, and predictability."
I'd suggest that their stronger focus on communication is what made the collaboration, etc. possible. As Karmen Reid, the Director of Compensation at Mayo Clinic who worked this magic, points out, "We always pay the same way . . ." The difference? A new philosophy of openness about all things pay.
Those of you who regularly read the Compensation Cafe know that we find "transparency" to have mixed results unless it is coupled with clarity. The Mayo Clinic's work seems to acknowledge that. What Karmen seems to mean by transparency is more of an intentional collaboration with supervisors and employees. They hide nothing from managers but they don't stop there. Data is paired with insight. Intentions are explained and discussed.
I think she and her colleagues came up with especially elegant solutions. Instead of deciding, they listen. Instead of explaining the "way we do things around here," they collaborate. Instead of "training" supervisors, they give them a briefing and let them brainstorm how they would handle topics with their employees . . . then offer coaching if it is needed.
How do you make everyone responsible for engagement? Hand over the reins, demonstrate your trust, then act as navigator. The deep sighs of relief from supervisors come from increased job satisfaction -- and lead to higher engagement research scores.
Want to hear the entire story from the Mayo Clinic? Check out the WorldatWork Workspan TV interview with Karmen Reid embedded below, that covers a lot more details.
Then try this one at home!
Everything you do in compensation is communication, so why not do everything better? The popular ebook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication @ https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication belongs on your summer reading list. Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to create this DIY guide to compensation leadership. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, communications and leadership to topics like the CEO Pay Ratio and performance management discussions at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, Margaret was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson.