Churches that have the resources to hire employees strive to have engaged employees by providing a great place to work. One of the key indicators of engaged employee is competitive compensation. To keep salaries competitive, you will need to determine the annual average cost of living raise.
The end of 2018 is quickly approaching and hopefully by now you have at least started talking about your 2019 church budget!
One fixed cost budget line item is the salary expense.
Budget For Pay Increases
Church leaders often ask how much to budget for salary increases. This can be a difficult decision if you are giving it your best guess.
However, a well thought out compensation strategy – coupled with good budgeting practices – allows for allocated dollars to reward employees for doing a good job.
The good news is a Barna study revealed that:
“Americans give to churches more than any nonprofit organization. More than half of Americans (54%) have given money to a church in the past year.” and “Unsurprisingly almost all practicing Christians (94%) have given to a church.”
Most employers understand the importance of providing a competitive employee compensation package – and salary expenses are the biggest piece of the pie.
The economy has continued to improve and organizations will again budget for 2019 pay increases.
Hopefully the following information can give you a conversation starting point as you begin this important decision making process.
These 2019 average salary pay increase projections will help you plan!
2019 Average Salary Pay Increase Projections
The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will be a 2.8 percent increase in 2019 – the highest its been in five years.
The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Many organizations use COLA as a measure to determine pay increases but there are other organizations predicting percentage pay increases for 2019.
According to these predictions, employees should be seeing an average of 3.2% salary increase – with better performing employees earning a slightly higher pay increase.
According to SHRM, employees can expect an average base salary increase of 3.2% in 2019 – up from 3.1% in 2018. It is also expected that a base salary increase – COLA, general increase or merit increase will be given to all employees in 2019.
Manage Worker Performance
Salary increases should be incorporated into a structured performance management system that is intended to reward and retain high performers.
The goal is to reward top performers with more of the raise dollar pool than poorer performing employees.
If employees are performing well they should be rewarded but if they are not, there should be little if any pay increase.
Budgeting for raises should be part of the annual budgeting process. This includes budgeting raise dollars and developing a system to award raise dollars based on the best performers.
But how do you do that?
Let’s look at an example.
You want to objectively award pay increases through a structured performance management process.
This will require conducting the annual performance appraisals and reviewing employee goal completion.
This information will help you identify and reward your best performers by allocating a higher percentage of the raise dollars to them and a less percentage for the lower performing employees.
OK, let’s assume we have done our performance appraisals and we have the scores, but how do you tie those scores to raises?
Let’s go through an example. Let’s say (for the sake of easy math) that you have:
- 11 employees each making $10/hour.
- Let’s also say: The church board approved a budgeted 3.5 percent this year for raises. That 3.5 percent equals a pool of raise dollars of $8,008.
- You get this dollar amount by taking the salaries of those 11 employees and multiplying it by 3.5 percent (.035x$228,800).
- The $228,800 comes from 11 (employees) x 2080 (hours) x 10 (dollars an hour) or 11 x 2080 x 10 = a salary budget for those employees of $228,800.
- Now let’s also say you determined that average performance appraisal scores (3.0) will receive a 3.5 percent increase and those scoring below average will receive less, those scoring above will receive more.
Now let’s look at what this might look like.
As you can see from the example below, there are 11 employees listed, a,b,c, etc.
The next column shows their average scores as well as an overall average score (3.4) for all employees.
Now in the next column, you can see the percent increase that was awarded to each employee based on the predetermined criteria.
Some employees received as low as 2% increase. The higher performers received as high as 4.5% increase which translates into a raise of $416 for the poor performers. But more than twice as much – $936 for the higher performing employees.
Now if you total what all of these increases add up to, you’ll see that these pay increases will cost the organization $8,008 which ends up being what was budgeted.
If you would like an editable copy of this scoring sheet as well as access to all of our 115+ forms, documents and job descriptions click here!
Keep in mind this is an oversimplified example to demonstrate how to do this. Obviously, when there are dozens or even hundreds of employees, this scenario would look much different.
This process should result positively for the good performers and serve as a wake-up call for the under performers.
Employees who receive a less than average raise need to have a clear understanding as to why they received the score they got – and how that impacted their raise percentage.
Have A Conversation
It’s not an enjoyable conversation, but the organization owes honesty to the employee.
It is also common to have a three-strike rule when it comes to performance appraisals.
If the employee consistently scores below average, they should either receive additional training, improve their performance or be transitioned out of the organization.
Poor performers waste valuable resources. And when you are talking about paying salaries with church tithes it becomes a stewardship issue. Think about an employee who makes $25,000 a year and you carry that under-performer for 10 years.
That employee is conservatively costing the church $250,000 for a ten year period. If you factor in a percentage increase each year, it is significantly more! You have to ask yourself, is that the best use of church resources?
Budgeting for raises should be an aspect of the annual church budgeting process and part of a strategy to achieve the mission of the organization.
Communicate Raise Decisions
Regardless of what is budgeted (or not budgeted) for raises, communicating with employees throughout the process is crucial to avoiding unexpected surprises.
Employees need to know if raises will be available; if they are meeting expectations; and how raise distribution is tied to performance results. If budget dollars are tight and raises aren’t available for next year, make employees aware of financial challenges. And get them involved in helping to find cost cutting solutions.
What percentage are you budgeting for 2019 raises?
If you would learn more about raise distribution, please check out our book:
This book provides the tools to make the performance evaluation process easier as well as insights that can help to create a positive appraisal experience. To access this book, click here.