Supporting a non-profit through compensation adjustments

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Name: Janet Reilly
Title: Director of People and Culture
Organization: Development Initiatives
Industry: Non-profit/Charity
Organization size: 50-100 Employees

Development Initiatives is an independent international development organization working to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development.

Director of People and Culture Janet Reilly needed better data to justify compensation adjustments to keep up with the market.

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The challenge

Finding rock-solid data to back needed compensation adjustments

As a non-profit organization, the consistency and scale of funding coming into the organization is not steady or guaranteed. With the work being particularly mission-driven, it’s important that HR articulates pay decisions clearly and transparently to all stakeholders, including the employees, the CEO and the board.

The data behind these decisions must instill confidence and be both robust and verifiable. More than this, the means of accessing and interpreting this data must be cost-effective and easy to use.

Janet Reilly, the director of People and Culture Development Initiatives (DI), found herself in the uniquely challenging position of having to create, articulate and back up fair payment schemes for UK employees that were firmly grounded in verifiable data analysis.

Working for a data-focused organization, she knew that the rationale behind her recommendations had to be rock-solid. “I like to keep on top of market trends, and it’s important to be ahead of the curve because if I just waited until once a year when I do the compensation review process, I might have missed something,” Janet says.

Aside from being comprehensive, she needed a tool for performing this analysis that was intuitive and easy to use. “It’s a small team. It’s now just myself and another person in the HR team, so it needs to be easy to use, it needs to be intuitive, and it needs to be cost-effective,” she adds.

The results

Compensation Planning empowered Janet to understand that their employees were in the lower quartile range relative to the market rate. This catalyzed a decision to present to the board a three-year plan to adjust their reward strategy and bring all employees within ± 5% of the market rate for their position’s salary.

More recently, it’s become important to mitigate against the headwinds that non-profits can face in tough economic times. It was particularly important to Janet that she hedged against employee dissatisfaction with a clear rationale around pay decisions, knowing that they could possibly leave for higher-paying jobs in the private sector.

“Although we’re based in the non-profit sector, I like to make sure I know what’s happening in the private sector because although we can’t compete with the private sector, it’s really important to see where they are. If we’re losing our talent, what industries are they going to? Where will they be paid more? How can we predict and plan for cost-of-living impacts on our organization?” she says.

Now, when employees come to Janet for conversations around compensation, she is able to say, “Let’s have a look at this and benchmark it,” and be able to back it up with the data from Compensation Planning.

Finally, regularly updated data in Compensation Planning enables Janet to consistently stay apprised of trends in the market. That way, she can inform the CEO and the board of what market indicators are saying about how pay for their organization’s roles will change, what this can mean for their workforce, and how it might impact their organization’s functioning.

Development Initiatives

Janet Reilly
Director of People and Culture

“With Compensation Planning, I can follow the market, inform our CEO and let the board know so that there are no horrible surprises relative to employee churn.”

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