Benefits and Perks


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Are you taking full advantage of your job’s benefits and perks? Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of PwC chief people officer Mike Fenlon. They talk through what to do when you’re deciding between freelancing and a staff position with benefits, you want your company to offer a new perk, or your job makes it hard to use your vacation days.

Apple in China, and Payday Lending


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Youngme, Felix, and Mihir discuss Apple’s position in the Chinese market; debate whether payday lending is good or bad for workers; and ask whether companies should be doing more to help employees manage cash shortfalls. They also offer their After Hours picks for the week.

The Motivating (and Demotivating) Effects of Learning Others’ Salaries


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Pay inequality is common in most workplaces. You get paid significantly more than your subordinates, your boss gets paid more than you, and your boss’s boss gets even more. In many large organizations, some employees can take home paychecks tens or hundreds of times more than others.

Whether you like it or not, your employees have wondered at some point about your salary — and their peers’. Should you be worried about that? Our recent research sheds light on this question, and our findings may surprise you.

We conducted an experiment with a sample of 2,060 employees from all rungs of a large commercial bank in Asia. The firm is quite representative of most companies around the world across some key dimensions, including its degree of pay inequality and non-disclosure policy around salary.

The first thing we looked at was manager salary. Through an online survey, employees

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Underpaid (Live)


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Do you deserve a higher salary? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions in a live taping with an audience of compensation experts. With the help of Susan Hollingshead, the chief people officer at Vendini, they talk through how to get more money when you haven’t been in your role long, the company isn’t giving out merit increases, or you’re at the bottom of your job’s salary range.

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Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Email your questions about your workplace dilemmas to Dan and Alison at dearhbr@hbr.org.

From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:

HBR: How to Ask for a Raise by Carolyn O’Hara — “Pitch your raise as not only recognition for past achievements, but also tacit acknowledgment that you are

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How Amazon’s Higher Wages Could Increase Productivity


This post is by Ray Fisman from HBR.org


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Amazon recently made headlines by announcing that it would voluntarily increase its minimum hourly wage to $15. With a federal minimum wage of only $7.25, this pledge might seem like a curious decision — especially for a company as laser-focused on cost containment as Amazon. But thinking only about the costs involved in raising wages misses a key issue: pay hikes can also boost workplace productivity.

Given Amazon’s well-deserved reputation as a data-driven (and long-term oriented) company, you can bet that Amazon’s management team has done the analysis and figured out that paying employees more is, from a business perspective, more benefit than cost. They’re not the first company to make a decision like this — most notably, Walmart set a minimum wage of $11 earlier in 2018 — and we hope others come to realize that paying workers more can be a matter of enlightened self-interest.

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7 Compensation Strategies for Cash-Strapped Startups


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As a startup founder, I’m constantly struggling to recruit top talent without breaking the bank. We can’t always match market salaries, but we need exceptional (read: expensive) talent in order to build from scratch. How do you recruit a developer making well into six figures, or an experienced salesperson with four kids in private school? At our company, Hatch Apps, we’ve learned to get creative.

Here are some of the strategies that we’ve used, which are hopefully helpful for your business whether it’s an early-stage startup with limited funding or a more mature organization that has a restricted budget. Many of the tips below aren’t free, but they’ll help you squeeze more value out of each dollar you spend on compensation and minimize the cash at risk if your hires don’t quite work out.

Pay for performance. When we’re hiring someone who has a hard-to-match base

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New Research Shows How Employees Feel When Their Requests for Raises Are Denied


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When an employee at your company asks for a raise, is that person treated fairly? Most organizations would like to say yes. But new data from PayScale, a compensation software and data company (disclosure: I work there), reveals that too often this is not the case. We surveyed more than 160,000 workers between November 2017 and April 2018 as part of our PayScale Raise Anatomy study, which resulted in two major findings. First, companies generally do a poor job of communicating why people don’t get raises. Second, there are significant racial gaps in whose raise requests are approved and whose are not.

According to our analysis, 33% of employees who were denied a raise were provided no rationale. Of those who did receive some rationale (whether budgetary constraints, performance, or some other reason), just over 25% actually believed it. And of those who didn’t believe the

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These 3 Personality Traits Affect What You Earn — but Only After Age 40


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We often hear about the power of personality, and how some traits are beneficial for our careers while others are more harmful. For example, we know that being more conscientious (hard-working, driven, reliable, and organized) is associated with better job performance, and that being nice (more agreeable) does not pay off in wages. But it is less clear when these personality traits matter most for our careers — are they more important earlier on, or in the middle? — and who benefits most from them.

In a recent paper, I investigate these questions by looking at the connection between personality traits and lifetime earnings among men at different ages. I find that men’s earnings are not affected by personality at all in the beginning of their careers, but that men who are more conscientious and extroverted, as well as less agreeable, reap large benefits between their

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Pay Injustices


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Are you getting paid unfairly? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of Shirli Kopelman, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the author of Negotiating Genuinely: Being Yourself in Business. They talk through what to do when a poor performer gets paid more than you, when the company salary structure is making people quit, and how to ask for more money when your boss leaves and you do their job.

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Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Send in your questions about workplace dilemmas by emailing Dan and Alison at dearhbr@hbr.org.

From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:

HBR: When You Find Out a Coworker Makes More Money than You Do by Rebecca Knight — “Your

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Companies That Do Right by Their Workers Start by Elevating Their Definition of Success


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There’s been a ripple of excitement of late as some big companies have unveiled (fairly modest) raises and bonuses for workers. Walmart announced that it would pay out up to $1,000 per employee, depending on seniority, and that it would begin a process of boosting its minimum wage to $11 per hour. American Airlines said it would pay $1,000 to all 127,600 of its people, and Wells Fargo raised its base wage from $13.50 to $15 per hour. A sound economy, a booming stock market, and huge business tax cuts, the story goes, have convinced CEOs of companies flush with cash to distribute some of it to frontline employees.

That story is fine as far as it goes — but does it go nearly far enough? With unemployment at record lows, yet inequality at record highs, this feels like a time for CEOs to think

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Hiring the Best People


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Patty McCord, Netflix’s former Chief Talent Officer, sees hiring as constant matchmaking. Building a team of people that gets amazing work done, she says, requires managers to really know what they need, and for HR to actually understand the workings of the business. She says money should not be the reason someone leaves and that we should stop using words like “poaching” and “firing.” McCord is the author of “How to Hire,” in the January–February 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.

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Gay Men Used to Earn Less than Straight Men; Now They Earn More


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Acceptance of LGBTQ people in all spheres of society – work, family, and community – has grown at a remarkable pace in the United States. A recent Pew Research Foundation study reported that 92% of all LGBTQ adults felt that society is more accepting of them than a decade ago, and 87% of adults report personally knowing someone who is gay or lesbian (up from 61% in 1993).  Same-sex couples throughout the country can now get legally married after the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. LGBTQ people are highly visible in the media, on television, in the movies, and in the C-suites of major companies like Apple, Google, and IBM. For LGBTQ people, it has certainly seemed as if, in the language of columnist Dan Savage’s 2010 campaign to combat the epidemic of LGBT youth suicide, “It Gets Better.”

Whether these massive

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Why You Should Charge Clients More Than You Think You’re Worth


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One of the most challenging decisions freelancers, solopreneurs, and independent consultants face is how much to charge for their time and expertise. What if people complain that you’re overpriced — or, even worse, walk away from a deal with you entirely? But the answer isn’t swinging to the other extreme and asking a fee so modest you’ll ultimately resent it.

As I discuss in my book Entrepreneurial You, you can’t do good work for others if you can’t keep yourself in business. Charging a fair price is what allows you to create long-term value. Here are four things to keep in mind to become more comfortable charging what you’re worth.

Underpricing sends a bad signal. We all know the danger of overpricing: You lose the deal. But underpricing can be just as perilous. Author Kevin Kruse learned a lesson about understanding one’s value a number of years ago from an

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