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Ah..... what good points. I am drawn to Ann's post Friday


and the part of it that says there is "overreliance on formal education, research and what the "experts" teach us -- and underreliance on what we learn through tinkering, tailoring, practice and apprenticeship."

I think that definitions of where in the salary range a person should fall are antiquated at best ---- and in my humble opinion --- not in step with business in the real world. Let's face it. Isn't this just one more way that HR and compensation put up barriers in the organization? Isn't this just another of our profession's ignoring what is needed in the real world?

My father had a saying: "Them that can, does ---- them that can't, teaches".

Again, my humble opinion. Theory is fine but let's put it in it's rightly place. As a foundation ---- something to build off of --- not to be adhered to no matter what.

Gee, Jacque, I think I disagree with you, but not sure. I'm not sure if your thoughts were addressing the concept of a salary range, per se, or the description of how one moves through the salary range and what the criteria might be for that.

But here's where I am coming from in the overall. My own experience is that this model has been used in my real world consistently and with a great deal of satisfaction. Small companies to Fortune 100s. It even works when people are hired into the range higher than they should be, because it defines the level of expectation for the outcomes of their work.

I think people who believe that their compensation plan somehow influences their ability or commitment to learn on the job (or that it puts obstacles in their way) are really mixing apples and oranges.

There is so much to learn in business right now that learning is just part of the definition of work. So learning isn't optional, it's the job.

Experts might teach us, research might teach us (or not) but 40 or more years of study on Adult Learning indicates that adults learn best from experience. (We learn by doing.)

In fact, the salary range model in my blog article has meaning because it is based on a learning by doing model. It assumes the employee is given guidance to begin with, moving on to independent expertise and then the ability to act as a guide for others including newbies. So learning = the job.

In a practical application of the model, employees who are being paid above market rate are expected to be continuing to learn on the job -- and to influence what others learn. That's why they are getting the big bucks.

Alternately, those paid high in the range have come to a point where their work doesn't qualify them for their salary, and HR eventually red circles them (or something more drastic).

I am all for learning in the real world. And I'm all for learning by doing. But some/much of what we learn in compensation theory is just that --- theory. Of much more value is what works --what we learn on the job/in the real world of business, experimentation, etc.

We can't prove that salary ranges actually reflect market. Maybe, but the pace is too rapid these days for ranges to be relevant from month to month. If true, then range position is even less accurate. Therefore, I would be embarrassed to try to explain range position to an employee and how it affects him/her. It sounds so "textbook".

If someone is paid high in the range or above the salary max and is doing a "stellar" job but is not qualified to be promoted ---- then to freeze salary is a big mistake I think. He/she will likely leave the company.

What does that accomplish? In my opinion that is just a case of staying true to a compensation principle at the expense of losing a great performer/contributor.

I think we have enough to learn in the real world in business. And that is where I think we ought to concentrate our attention.

Maybe I'm all wet but that's what learning by doing has done for me.

Really haven't seen much rapid change in overall American pay trends over the last years, but it is that very sluggish normative change that has created pressure on the conventional systems that assume conditions that no longer exist. Slow growth also has made the outlier cases extremely difficult to handle.

Folks do not proceed through the normal pay program the way they "should." Hope my old article on that topic appears soon.

Since increases compound when applied to base salary, most rational remuneration schemes establish a limit on pay growth in the same job. The salary growth of people who fail to qualify for promotion will eventually be constrained, one way or another. For example, you don't see too many janitors making $150,000. Although people may have infinite values, jobs don't.

The above-referenced revised version of my "old article" appeared here on 1/24/13. Hopefully, it offers a solution to the classic issue that Margaret's timely article identified.

And no..., we didn't conspire or compare notes in advance. Great minds just run in the the same channels! (Don't I wish!)

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