At least once per week, a client asks me the going rate for salaries in their market. Uncertainty about current salary levels within the waste and recycling industry is understandable. Due to the recession, we did not arrive at today’s salaries through conventional means, i.e. typical 4% per annum salary raises. Instead, the industry experienced five to six years of frozen salaries followed by three years of double-digit increases. The ongoing talent shortage throughout the market is also a contributing factor to today’s significant salary hikes.
It should be noted that salary is only one aspect of compensation. Even if your company’s salary levels are on par with your competitors, there are other factors that every waste and recycling company needs to have in place in today’s market.
A Waste/Recycling Compensation Quiz for 2017
Using the following quiz, you can determine if your waste and recycling company is still competitive in terms of total compensation. Answer yes or no to the following questions:
- Do you currently fund your employees’ 401(k) at a minimum dollar-for-dollar match, up to 3% of their base salary?
- Are the total costs of health insurance for family coverage less than $400 per month?
- Do you provide maternity and/or paternity leave?
- Do you provide leave for special situations (such as caring for ailing parents or sick children) for a minimum of two weeks per year, on an as-needed basis? (Very few companies are doing this, but more should be talking about it.)
- Do you offer flex hours to allow employees to work outside of the office at least one day a week? (Many workers report viewing freedom and flexibility as the most valuable benefits a company could offer.)
- Do you provide life insurance at a rate of at least two times one’s base salary?
- Do you pay bonuses based upon achievable metrics?
- Is it easy to understand how bonuses are calculated?
- Do you provide employees the opportunity to grow in their careers in waste and recycling?
- Do you provide at least two reviews per year (once every six months), one for salaries and one for bonuses?
- Are you investing in training in the latest technology?
- Do you either provide an in-house gym or reimburse for gym memberships?
- Do you have an emergency (rainy day) fund contributed to by employees, on a voluntary basis, that is matched by employer contributions?
- Do you recognize children and spouses of employees for birthdays and other special events?
- Do you recognize spouses at office functions and through prize drawings at annual parties?
If your company did not answer yes to a majority of these questions, you are vulnerable to seeing some of your most valuable talent taken by one of your competitors.
Now is the Time to Invest In Your People
Verbal appreciation and acknowledgement of strong work is important, but actions demonstrate how a company views its people. Your willingness to share in the wealth says more about your company culture than you might think. Your employees are your company’s most valuable resource - do you treat them that way? The proof is in the retention numbers.
We are in the midst of a thriving market. Now is the time to invest in your people. If you do not, be assured that your competitors are willing to make that investment.