impactnews: Unlocking the Mystery of How Much To Pay Your Employees

Overall compensation (wages, salaries and benefits) for US private-sector workers grew 2.9% year-over-year in Q2 2018 – up from 1.5% annual compensation growth in the same period in 2009, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With compensation increasing after years remaining flat, this certainly impacts employers’ ability to recruit and retain quality “best fit” employees.

With this in mind, how does your company’s compensation program compare to those in your industry’s peer companies? How do you know if you’re paying your employees appropriately? Consider doing a compensation market study, which helps you know if your company’s compensation structure is in line with the marketplace.

A compensation study typically comprises three tracks:

  • Establish a compensation philosophy – which is a statement that helps you clarify where you want to be positioned in the marketplace; how you want to use compensation in your organization; and what specific behaviors you’re trying to reward
  • Ensure there is a clear understanding of the responsibilities of each job you want to compare to those in peer companies. This is done by evaluating each of your company’s job descriptions (typically short, precise summaries of a job’s duties). It’s key to focus on a job’s specific duties, responsibilities and requirements because job titles by themselves vary considerably across companies in related industries
  • Decide which published salary survey sources to use for the compensation study. It’s important to use salary survey sources that are reputable, valid and reliable to best represent the company’s specific industry, revenue size and peer organizations in the marketplace

With these three tracks in place, the compensation study reveals market composites for each of your company’s positions, accurately reflecting their standing relative to the marketplace.

To be sure, compensation is a sensitive subject in most organizations, often associated with high emotions for employees. This is often based on differing beliefs among employees about what their job skills are worth versus what related market data reveal in compensation studies.

When you review market trends in compensation, you’re ultimately able to offer fair compensation and drive better employee recruitment, retention and overall job satisfaction.

If you’d like to learn more about compensation market studies for your company, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

CEO Report Honors impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell at Philadelphia Gala

As we reported in last month’s impactnews, impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell recently was named a “2018 Mid-Atlantic Women’s Leadership Award” winner by CEO Report.

impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell

Kelly received her award at CEO Report’s annual gala held this month at the Down Town Club in Philadelphia.

CEO Report, a media and networking company that serves to connect business communities in several major US cities, established its Women’s Leadership Awards program to honor women executives who are moving their companies and communities forward together.

At this year’s event, CEO Report’s Erin Thomson said, “In 2018, it’s almost hard to believe that there was a time in our history when women were not a part of the workplace. Today, women make up nearly half of the country’s civilian workforce and according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, women made up 31 percent of new corporate board directors this year, the highest number in a decade.”

CEO Report’s Michelle Boyles added, “While we still have work to do to increase women’s representation in high-level positions, it’s important to recognize how far we have come, which is why we are here this evening. The women gathered in this room are truly trailblazers across a range of industries who are leading the way and opening doors for their colleagues and the next generation.” Read more.

US Department of Labor to Introduce New Overtime Rule in March 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced this month it will unveil a proposed rule for overtime regulation in March 2019.

After holding a series of public listening sessions in September in major cities across the country, DOL’s announcement says its notice of proposed rulemaking “will propose an updated salary level for exemption and seek the public’s view on the salary level and related issues.”

If you have questions about overtime and planning ahead for compliance, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Social Security To Increase Earnings Cap for Withholding in 2019

If your company has employees earning up to $132,900 annually, be prepared in January to make new withholding adjustments for Social Security.

The US Social Security Agency has announced the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $132,900 from $128,400 beginning January 1, 2019.

According to SHRM, roughly 177 million US workers will pay Social Security taxes next year. Out of this cohort, about 12 million workers who draw annual salary up to $132,900 will see an increased amount of their earnings taxed.


  • By January 1, 2019, employers will need to adjust their payroll to factor in the new higher taxable wage base for the Social Security payroll tax
  • Plus, employers should alert affected employees that their paychecks will be subject to increased payroll withholding

Learn more.

Howard County Police Dept. to Host Event on Workplace Violence, Nov. 8

For Howard County (MD) employers, the Howard County Police Department (HCPD) is hosting a special event, Thursday, Nov. 8 at Grace Community Church in Fulton, on the topic of violence in the workplace.

“In response to an increase in requests from local businesses following acts of violence like the Capital Gazette and Rite Aid shootings earlier this year, the Howard County Police Department has organized a free event discussing police and civilian response to violence in the workplace,” according to the department’s event invitation.

The event, free and open to the public, will cover how to identify potential workplace threats and hazards, plus will cover safety tips and best practices for management and employees.

When: Thursday, Nov. 8, 10:00am-12:00pm (registration opens at 9:30am)

Where: Grace Community Church, 8200 Old Columbia Road, Fulton, MD (free parking on-site)

RSVP: Space is limited. Contact HCPD’s Community Outreach Division at 410-313-2207 or to reserve a seat.

If you can’t attend this event, it will be live-streamed on HCPD’s Facebook page.