In the latest installment of New Jersey Business Magazine’s Ask the Experts column, HR professionals working with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association respond to executives’ inquiries on three interesting workplace issues:
What is pay transparency, and how does it help employers?
Pay transparency refers to sharing information about pay with applicants and employees. While some states and localities require that employers include a pay range with job postings, many employers now choose to do this on their own to stay competitive. Employers that want to commit to the project will often share pay ranges for positions or job types with their entire organization.
While being pay transparent may feel uncomfortable, it does have advantages. First, it saves time during the recruitment process. By disclosing compensation up front, typically in the job posting, employers discourage people who wouldn’t accept the salary offer from ever applying. Second, pay transparency on job postings has been shown to increase the number of applicants significantly. Many job seekers are unwilling to apply for positions that don’t indicate a pay range, and others will value the transparency for what it says about the organization. Third, it encourages compliance with equal pay laws by essentially forcing employers to choose and stick with a logical pay range for a position, at least on a going-forward basis. Finally, internal pay transparency, like sharing position pay ranges with the entire company, enables employees to see what they can look forward to as they advance in their career.
Are we required to have an introductory period for new employees?
No. Some employers call the first few weeks or months of an employee’s time with the company an introductory period, but this designation has no bearing on the rights employers or employees have. An introductory period doesn’t reduce the risks of termination (you should still have a good business reason and documentation) or mean that an employee let go during that time won’t get unemployment insurance.
That said, the first few weeks and months are incredibly important for ensuring a long tenure. Studies show that a good number of new hires quit within the first 90 days because their experience wasn’t what they wanted or expected. Turnover is costly, so investing time and resources in onboarding, orientation, and training helps set new hires up for long-term success and saves you money.
Can we tell nonexempt employees not to check email and messages when they’re supposed to be off the clock?
Yes, you can tell nonexempt employees that they shouldn’t read or respond to messages when they’re not scheduled to be working. When communicating your expectations, it may be beneficial to investigate the ‘why.’
Employees feeling the need to catch up on work they didn’t have time to finish during their scheduled hours would likely have a different solution than employees deliberately clocking unapproved time to increase the size of their paychecks. If, after communicating your expectations, employees continue working unapproved time, you can remind or discipline them, as appropriate.
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