Equitable Compensation Practices, Trends & Misses

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Kodiak Cakes Case Study

Human Resources is most effective when dynamic and ever-evolving. Cura consultants start with proven tools and processes and build from there. We create custom solutions for each client by combining our collective years of experience with a forward-thinking approach. We continually test, benchmark and optimize our efforts to ensure we’re providing the greatest value and relevance to our clients.

Kodiak Vitals

  • Headquarters: Park City, Utah
  • Company Type: Food manufacturing
  • Category: Whole grain baking mixes
  • Team Members: 150+
  • Mission: To inspire healthier eating and active living with nourishment for today’s frontier.
  • Website: kodiakcakes.com

Compensation Strategies to Drive Business Growth

Kodiak is a growth oriented company with aggressive goals to scale. Its leadership identified compensation as a key area of focus in its broader strategic operating plan. To shore up this component of the business, Kodiak engaged Cura HR for their Total Rewards expertise. Cura was tasked with:
  • Designing a foundational compensation strategy in support of the company’s future advancement
  • Benchmarking pay and re-calibrating pay programs to account for rapid growth
  • Identifying pay opportunities to distinguish Kodiak as an employer
  • Assisting with implementation, training and roll-out of new tools

The Outcome

Over the course of 12 months, Cura conducted a comprehensive compensation assessment and analysis for Kodiak Cakes and turned the findings into strategic recommendations and actions. Cura seamlessly put the following in place to support Kodiak’s growth objectives.
  • New compensation structure
  • Incentive pay design & pay practices
  • Compensation education for all employee levels
  • Workforce dashboard & compensation metrics
“Cura HR was extremely responsive and helpful in getting an intense amount of compensation planning work done in a very short amount of time. We had tight deadlines that we were able to meet due to Cura’s support. We really appreciate their partnership!”

-Marcelle Miller, Head of People at Kodiak Cakes

“We elevated our compensation planning tools and communication to the organization. This enabled our leaders to have meaningful compensation conversations with their people, which is invaluable.”

-Marcelle Miller, Head of People at Kodiak Cakes

Discover how Cura can help you scale your business with smart compensation strategies.

About Kodiak Cakes

With a delicious portfolio of 100% whole-grain, protein-powered pancake and waffle mixes, frozen waffles and pancakes, oatmeal, baking mixes, and a variety of snacking products, Kodiak provides its loyal consumers with “Nourishment for Today’s Frontier.” Headquartered in Park City, Utah, Kodiak was built on a mission to enable healthier eating and active living. The brand began when eight year-old Joel Clark began selling his family’s hand-milled flapjack mix door-to-door from a little red wagon, and Kodiak is now proudly sold in 26,000 doors nationwide.

About Cura HR

Cura is your modern HR partner for strategic HR services. We provide virtual, high-value Human Resources leadership and support for businesses large and small across a wide range of dynamic industries.

Bringing More Heart into HR: The People-First Approach

How to Put People First in HR

As we get into the full swing of 2023, now is the ideal time for companies to re-evaluate the relationship they have with their employees, and to consider taking a people-first approach.

The people-first approach in business encourages organizations to prioritize their employees above profits and company goals.

In return, companies often see an increase in employee retention, improved productivity, and a healthier company culture overall.

With that in mind, here are a few ways HR can play a role in adopting or strengthening a company’s people-first approach.

Improve the Employee Experience with Clear Company Values

One of the biggest impacts HR can make is to emphasize the company’s values at every stage of the employee experience, particularly during hiring, onboarding and induction.

According to one study, 72% of employees who felt aligned with a company’s values reported a higher sense of accomplishment from their work.

Having a clear vision of what the company stands for and why fosters a sense of connection and meaning between employees and their workplace. This, in turn, helps employees feel more valued as active contributors to the company, rather than as another “cog in the machine”.

Clearly stated company values are also the foundation of the company’s identity and culture, and can improve:

  • The quality of customer service
  • Employee retention and engagement
  • Ability to hire top talent

Advocate for Greater Employee Autonomy

One of the conversations going on in the remote and hybrid business world right now is whether or not these work models should come with more or less employee autonomy.

Many companies choose to implement the use of productivity monitoring tools, which can help employees stay on track rather than getting distracted. However, these tools can also make an employee feel as if their privacy has been violated and their character called into question.

On the other hand, employees who are given more control over their work lives are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their job, according to the Harvard Business Review.

HR can advocate for greater employee autonomy by playing a role in strengthening the sense of trust between employer and employee by prioritizing items such as cascading communications, professional development and training opportunities.

Communicate the Reasons Behind Company-Wide Changes

Closely related to advocating for greater employee autonomy is placing a priority on open communication from the top-down within an organization.

Respecting employees enough to inform them of major changes goes a long way towards building and maintaining trust.

Communicating major policy changes is a good start, but explaining why the changes are being made and what the company hopes to gain from them will help your employees feel included.

If you want to take it a step further, ask for employee feedback before, during, and after implementing a major change so you can gauge the impact on your workforce. A minor increase to your bottom line may not be worth it if it makes the lives of your employees more difficult.

Give Back

Finally, HR can lead by example and encourage a greater involvement in the community.

According to one statistic, 71% of employees put great value on a company culture that supports and encourages charity and volunteering.

There are numerous ways that a business can increase community engagement, including:

  • Providing opportunities for underserved communities, such as internships, paid-training programs, or student loan repayment assistance for qualified employees
  • Matching employee donations to charities
  • Hosting company-wide service days and events
  • Sponsoring charities that match the company’s values

Companies can even offer paid time off for employees to volunteer with a charity or special interest of their choosing.

Learn More About the People-First Approach With CuraHR

At Cura HR, we wholeheartedly believe in putting people first. Taking steps to let your employees know that they are valued and cared for can have massive company-wide impacts, and can noticeably improve everything from customer service and revenue generation to talent acquisition and employee retention.

Get in touch with us today and let us know how we can help you put your people first.

The Importance of Pay Equity

The History of Pay Equity

After the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) was introduced, employers were required from then on to not discriminate against employees by paying them less than equally qualified counterparts based on their sex. Title VII, ADEA, and the ADA also prohibit pay and workplace discrimination based on an individual’s “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability,” per the official website.

These regulations only apply to businesses with 15 or more employees, however. Some smaller businesses are exempt from Title VII, ADA, and GNA. Similarly, ADEA only applies to businesses with 20 or more employees.

What is Pay Equity?

Pay equity refers to compensating employees of similar roles with similarly equivalent pay regardless of:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Or any other aspect of their identity

Pay equity considers other aspects, such as experience, education, and job performance rather than an employee’s identity to determine how much they should be compensated. Because of the multifaceted nature of pay equity, it is crucial to understand what it is, and how to properly implement it throughout your company to avoid legal trouble or employee dissatisfaction.

Why is Pay Equity Important?

Ensuring compliance with pay equity and anti-discrimination laws is crucial because your company can be sued and/or fined for not following the law.

Pay equity is also important because it:

  • Reduces employee turnover
  • Promotes a diverse workforce
  • Offers your company a competitive recruiting and retention advantage

A study performed by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that despite the Equal Pay Act, women still make 83 cents to every dollar earned by men, with women of color earning even less. Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is important for every business, and paying women less than men is illegal and hurts your bottom line. Employees will find work elsewhere if they are not compensated fairly, so knowing exactly why your employees are provided their current salary and benefits package is important for keeping your business running.

Perform a Pay Audit

Each year, more employee protection laws are passed to ensure compliance with pay equity. Annually performing a pay audit of all of your employees is a good way to ensure employees in equivalent roles don’t have a significant gap for no discernible reason. Additionally, consider why gaps between different employees’ pay exist. If it’s for legitimate reasons such as differences in experience or educational levels, then a pay gap is most likely valid. If there are no discernible factors for a pay gap, it may be discriminatory and should be adjusted accordingly.

Once your HR specialist has collected salary data for all employees, compare the salaries of those in similar roles, such as everyone with the title “Customer Service Representative” and “Customer Care Representative.” While comparing, be aware of any patterns in pay gaps: Are women in the same position as men paid less for no apparent reason? Ask this same question for an employee’s race, sexuality, age, etc. Document the reason each person’s salary is where it is— time with your company, skill level, education, job performance, and more. Take your time with this process, as the timeline for completion may vary by company.

Implementing Changes

If you’ve noticed a discriminatory pattern during your audit, it’s time to take steps to correct it through direct action and implementing a company policy.

A few things to consider:

  • Have leaders commit to creating a company culture that prioritizes pay equity
  • Regularly review all of your employees; compensation packages
  • Keep track of average compensation in the market and at your company
  • Assign starting salaries with this baseline number in mind
  • Be aware of implicit biases in your hiring teams that may lead to unequal pay

Correct the wage gaps that have been identified as unjust as needed. Do this by increasing the wages of those who are underpaid instead of lowering other wages to bridge any gaps. Continue to document and perform wage audits quarterly to ensure that everyone working for your company is paid fairly. Most importantly, be consistent and aware of any patterns that may come up. It’s a human resources expert’s job to be vigilant about issues like these through the implementation of HR analytics.

Cura HR Can Help You Navigate Pay Equity

Pay equity can be a complicated topic to navigate, and understandably so. That’s why Team Cura is happy to help businesses by providing benchmarking and sharing our knowledge about employment laws to keep your work environment safe and equal.

Compliance is ready-baked into everything we do. We consider it a given rather than a benefit of working with Cura HR. We’ll even take your business far beyond compliance and into new and creative ways of leveraging HR to make your business soar. We’d love to hear about your business and how we can ensure your company stays competitive and ethical by complying with equal pay laws.

Hybrid Workplace Essentials: How to Take Care of Your Business and Your Team

Most of us are aware of the debate going on in the business world between those who favor a return to full-time office work, and those who argue for the benefits and flexibility of full-time remote work.

While there are companies that will need to choose one over the other, most will find that there’s a lot of middle ground to work with.

That’s where the hybrid workplace model comes in.

The relative novelty of the hybrid workplace model means that there are no hard-and-fast rules for how it should be structured.

While that may seem intimidating at first, it also offers the opportunity to customize a work model with flexibility in mind to ensure that both your company and your employees are getting what they need.

Where to Start

The hybrid workplace model is defined as one that combines in-person office work and remote work with an emphasis on flexibility.

There have been several attempts to pin down the different “forms” of a hybrid model, but it mostly comes down to two things:

  1. How flexible you can afford to be with your scheduling
  2. How much autonomy you can reasonably grant your employees

Your employees might be most productive with a fully flexible schedule and one required in-office day per week.

Or, collaboration and other factors might make it necessary to offer only one or two days of remote work every week.

By the same token, you might be able to give your employees assignments and turn them loose to execute, or a strict deadline and multi-step project might require regular check-ins and updates.

Either way, the best place to start is by identifying the needs of your company and the desires of your employees. Then, find a way to strike a balance between scheduling and autonomy that will work for most everyone.

Flexible Office Layout

An unexpected factor to consider in a hybrid workplace is the physical layout of the office itself, including office size, lighting, and furnishings.

In a hybrid workplace, you might have meetings where some team members are able to attend in person while others will need to attend virtually. For this reason, it’s beneficial to have modular furniture that is easy to rearrange as needed.

In addition, removing the more formal aspects of office design in favor of one that blends the feel of a traditional workplace with a home office may help employees adjust better when it comes to switching back and forth.

It’s also worth considering whether your business even requires a full-time office, or whether renting a flex space or experimenting with desk hoteling might make more sense for your needs.

Automation and Centralization

When selecting the software and systems that you’ll use to support your hybrid work team, here are a few criteria to keep in mind:

  • Efficiency
  • Ease of use
  • Simplicity

As much as possible, try to keep everything on a single platform with centralized information and employee access.

This not only increases efficiency and productivity, but it prevents your employees from becoming frustrated (or worse, burnt out) due to “platform hopping” in order to find the information they need.

It’s also helpful to automate whatever processes you can, such as onboarding, communications, and project updates and reminders to keep things running smoothly and to free up your employees for more important tasks.

Maintain a Strong Company Culture

At the core of most business owners’ concerns when it comes to hybrid or remote work is the integrity of the company culture.

This merits an entire blog post of its own, but in general, you want to make sure that you’re giving equal attention to your in-office and remote employees.

Encourage communication and engagement through virtual social hours and team-building exercises.

It’s also vital to be aware of your decisions when it comes to workplace recognition and promotions. Favoring one group over another in these areas is a sure way to undermine both the company culture and the relationships your employees have with one another.

Finally, don’t neglect wellness and inclusion and diversity. Supply your team members with the resources they need to take care of their jobs and their mental health.

Seek Out Actionable Feedback

Our final piece of advice for implementing a hybrid work model is to consistently seek out feedback and make adjustments based on your findings. Obtaining feedback from both employees and managers as well as reviewing KPIs, efficiency and time management metrics and other productivity-related data is helpful in guiding decision-making.

You can collect this information with regular surveys

and also by holding town halls and fostering a workplace environment that encourages regular communication across all levels of your organization.

Use Cura HR to Help You Explore the Possibilities of a Hybrid Workplace

Like any business model, the success of a hybrid workplace will depend on your ability to identify areas for improvement and to adapt quickly.

Cura HR can help with everything from HR project support to troubleshooting your workflows and processes and more. We’d love to help you take your business to the next level.

4 Surprising Ways You Can Support Employee Mental Health

For many business owners and managers, employee mental health and wellness has risen to the top of their priority list, and for good reason.

According to CDC statistics, poor mental health is shown to interfere with both physical and cognitive capabilities, and can even have a negative impact on your company culture.

Beyond that, happy employees tend to stick around longer, seek out promotions, exhibit better resilience when faced with setbacks, and lead more fulfilling and balanced lives outside of work. All of which feed into a healthier and more robust workforce.

Here are a few (often overlooked) tips to help you get started.

Ask Your Employees

Think about it. No one knows the daily ins-and-outs of your employees’ jobs better than your employees. This means that no one else will have more ideas on how to mitigate the pressures they face.

Encourage Open Communication

Closely related to asking for input is actively supporting open communication across all levels of your organization.

Encouraging bottom-up communication lets your team members know they can speak up when they need to. Equally important, however, is improving communication from the top-down. Employee wellness improves drastically when your team members feel included in major decisions and in overall company direction and goals.

For that reason, when it comes to finding ways of improving employee mental health and wellness, the best approach is often just to ask. 

Of course, no company can implement all the feedback. But asking for input can give you valuable insight into problem areas, common trends, or places where a change (big or small) might be in order.

A great place to start is by asking about individual work styles and ideal work environments.

Do your employees thrive in a group? Or are they at their best when they have some alone time before reuniting with the team to present their ideas?

Or maybe you have some employees who do better with frequent communication and check-ins, and others who really shine when given a little more autonomy and breathing room.

Knowing how to bring out the best in your employees, and making adjustments where possible, will help your employees feel seen and cared for.

Communication helps people feel connected and creates a sense of community. Your employees will feel much better knowing they are a valued member of your team rather than another cog in a machine.

Make Self-Care Convenient

This one might sound simple, but the truth is, it’s hard for some of us to take a break.

We hit our stride and the next thing we know, we’ve been working for four solid hours without even stopping for a trip to the bathroom.

One way to address this as an employer is to make self-care as convenient as possible.

Simple things like encouraging your team members to set water break reminders, facilitating quick group walks, and reinforcing the importance of taking PTO can support employees in feeling rejuvenated.

The most essential thing to keep in mind, however, is to make sure you’re providing inclusive resources that everyone feels comfortable using. Asking for feedback on this can be invaluable, and including remote options for those who work from home shouldn’t be overlooked.

Provide Education

Finally, you can help your employees help themselves by providing education on mental wellness in the workplace. Our awareness of mental health as a society has improved drastically over the last few years, but many of us could still use some guidance on how to actually take care of ourselves.

For instance, you could host mental wellness meetings that focus on topics such as:

  • How to identify and respect personal boundaries in the workplace
  • Respecting weekends and after-work hours (yours and your co-workers)
  • How to manage and/or avoid stress and burnout
  • How to handle workplace disagreements and clashes in personality

If you have the inclination and the budget, you can even bring in coaches to host seminars and provide your team with actionable advice tailored to your workforce.

The most important thing, however, is to openly acknowledge the importance of your employees’ mental health and your commitment to support as much as possible.

Use Cura HR to Improve Employee Wellness

Employee wellness and mental health is a complex and ever-evolving subject that requires a willingness to respond to new feedback and data.

Cura HR can help you build an employee wellness strategy that is customized for your organization, with a focus on improving your business through a people-first approach.

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