Welcome to our Blog

Morgan HR News

How to Have the Compensation Conversation? Handling the Compensation Curve Ball

Join us for our complimentary session, Compensation Best Practices Every Leader Should Know on November 11! Click Here To Register

Compensation Curveball

Handling the Compensation Curve Ball

How often as a leader do you get thrown one of these curveballs? Do these often come at the end of a check-in conversation with an employee?

  • Why did we just bring in a new team member higher in pay than I am?
  • What is the salary range for the job above me?
  •  What can I do to get an increase in my pay?
  • What is the salary range for my job, how can I make more?
  • I did my research, and my job is being posted in other companies for more money?

How many times have you had to “punt” your best guess answer because you felt you had to answer at the moment? Do you think your employee left the conversation excited and motivated?

As a leader, how many times have you had the same questions about your own pay?

Think back to your own conversations throughout your career.

  • Remember how uncertain you were about when and how to bring up the conversation?
  • Remember when you finally had the courage to ask?
  • What conversations went well?

Was there a conversation where you left your manager’s office and thought “what just happened?” Perhaps you walked away a bit deflated and thought “I am never asking about my pay again.”

“I am never asking about my pay again.”

Let’s face it, this is not easy for the employee or the manager. After 25 years in Human Resources, I have heard and coached both sides, I have seen how we punt and misinterpret questions and answers, as well as intentions.  Many times, both people leave conversations being more frustrated and not really understanding the root of the question. Most often, it is not about the actual money at all.

It really doesn’t have to be this way. It is no one’s fault. Each leader is busy trying to reach their KPIs OR their own goals…. however they are being measured in their business. Let’s face it, I am pretty sure there isn’t a year-end celebration for managers that have had the most impactful and engaging compensation and performance discussions! But maybe there should be.

According to the recent Gallup Study: It takes a pay increase of 20% to lure employees away from managers that engage them.

Bottom Line:

Great managers reduce turnover more effectively than any other role in your organization.

So, invest in your managers!

At MorganHR we have listened to clients and our SimplyMerit customers. The questions managers have about compensation are often the same. They range from understanding compensation in their organization to being equipped to have the best conversations with their employees. After we dig a bit deeper, the reasons behind the questions are also the same, people want to feel valued, engaged, have the transparency and feedback to make an impact. They want to feel fulfilled at work and in their personal lives.

How can we set our leaders up for success?

At MorganHR, our Auxin Group Development program has designed a series of sessions to help leaders have engaging compensation conversations. Our goal is to provide a safe place for leaders to learn, collaborate, and practice. We want leaders to not only be able to answer questions but, have the confidence to invite the conversations!

All of our workshops are 60 minutes while keeping the busy leader in mind!

Join us for our complimentary session, Compensation Best Practices Every Leader Should Know on November 11! Click Here To Register

Are You Engaged in Your Work? 

By Laura Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR 

Although it may not be easy to tell whether you are truly engaged in your career, there are many signs that you can look for. For those who are looking for a new job, it is important to know the difference between being unengaged and disengaged at work. Working towards goals and being passionate about your work can be difficult to do, but it is necessary if you want to have a fulfilling career. Here are some things to look out for that might indicate you should reevaluate your career. 

7 Signs That You Are Engaged In Your Work 

  1. You’re excited about the things you’re learning & doing 
  2. You’re exceeding expectations 
  3. You look forward to completing tasks 
  4. You adopt the vision, values, and purpose of your company 
  5. You’ve applied for new projects 
  6. You feel like your career is heading somewhere (in the right direction) 
  7. You feel confident that you are valued at work and that you belong 

The Difference Between Unengaged and Disengaged 

Unengaged employees are not willing to go the extra mile. They still complete tasks, but only to the bare minimum. They are ones that might be excessively late or often absent, and their work isn’t up to the standard expectation. Productivity plummets with unengaged employees, and everyone pays the price.  

Worse still are disengaged employees. They are not present at all and tend to drag their feet while completing tasks if they finish them at all. They do not represent the values of the company, and they are completely unmotivated. It is difficult to work with disengaged employees since they are missing any sort of motivator to get the job done.  

What To Do If You Aren’t Engaged 

Before talking to your supervisor, try to understand why you aren’t engaged. Ask yourself a few of these questions to get to the root of the problem:  

  • Am I lacking variety? 
  • Am I confident about the work I do? 
  • Do I feel that I have control in my job? Is that important to me? 
  • Have I achieved a goal of mine recently? 
  • Do I feel that my job has value? 
  • Do people notice my success? 
  • Do I feel that I belong on my team? 
  • Am I on the path to moving up the organizational hierarchy?  
  • Does my pay feel fair, relevant, and right? 

Engagement is key to success in your job. The best way to be engaged is to be aware of your motivators and make sure that you are always reaching for them.  

We recently conducted a survey on Career (re) Engagement
Here are the results of our survey:
  • The majority feel that they are not on track with their personal goals and life plans.
  • The majority feel like they are not on track with their workplace goals and life plans.
  • The majority do not have a development plan that focuses on professional and personal goals.
  • The results of our survey certainly match the current climate. The Turnover Tsunami, The Talent Tsunami, and The Great Resignation are mainstream, real, and profound.
  • The current effects of the pandemic have given the workforce a renewed energy, a new way to look at their career and life decisions.

Click here to see the full survey results

Can You Operate a Forklift?

By Laura Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR 

How difficult can it be? Most would think that it would be similar to driving a car, that they’re intuitive enough to figure it out on the first try. And they would be wrong. Operating a forklift is much more challenging than it might seem. It requires training and great care to do it well, otherwise, you’ll end up wreaking havoc on the warehouse. It’s a process that is far more complicated than you might think, so let’s leave it to the professionals.  

What else can you think of that is more complicated than you might have originally thought? How about HR? Luckily for you, we have a team of HR experts that are trained to simplify your compensation and organizational design processes. No longer will you have rampant job descriptions, cheap job titles, nor a lack of confidence surrounding your compensation cycles. MorganHR is here to unCOMPlicate things for you and your business.  

It’s no question that comp is complicated. There are all sorts of factors involved in calculating an employee’s pay, including their salaries, bonuses, and benefits. Manually trying to figure out how much an employee will earn can be a headache. Not only do you have to calculate their pay rate and any applicable taxes, but you also need to add up all the other pieces that might be applicable, like overtime wages, commissions, tips – and then find out what their wages will be in different currencies. Imagine how much time you’d save if you had a configurable system to simplify your compensation cycles. SimplyMerit is the cloud-based solution that empowers managers to make informed decisions regarding their employees’ merit, bonus, and equity allocations to ensure that everything feels fair, relevant, and right.  

Are your employees confident in their compensation? It’s the best way to keep them engaged in their career. If you take money off of their worry list, they can spend more time focused on their growth and development both in and out of the office. Compensation conversations can be challenging and complicated. That’s why MorganHR has a team of expert coaches that will help you as a manager fill your toolbox with the skills you need to navigate those conversations efficiently and effectively while keeping your employees happy.  

You might get the hang of driving a forklift, just like you might get the hang of compensation. But why settle for might? Take the guesswork out of the equation and let us unCOMPlicate things for you.   

How to Prevent Job Titles from Losing Their Value?

By Laura Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR

Job titles are not free, so why are companies passing them out like candy?

If you’re not careful, wrongly staging your employees’ careers could be like promoting a first grader to eighth grade. They will lose out on necessary skills that are taught along the path and will end up being in an artificially high position with more responsibilities (and expectations of their own) than you intended. How to Prevent Job Titles from Losing Their Value?

Title inflation is nothing new.

HR departments have been rebranding their employees with creative titles for a while now. But has this had a negative impact on our work culture? The proliferation of new job titles may be an attempt to make oneself look better than what they are, or it could simply be an attempt to distinguish between different levels of responsibility within a department. It could also be seen as an opportunity to create a more inclusive and empowered workforce. Whatever the reasoning behind it, there are some major issues that come along with title inflation, and it’s imperative that we prevent it from happening.

Let’s take a simple example to see what title inflation might look like.

Say you have an employee who is solely in charge of all of your marketing efforts. They aren’t an analyst, since that title implies the specialization of one avenue or process. They’re likely a director. But what is their actual title? If your instinct was to say Marketing Director, you’d be right! What happens when you assign them a Director of Marketing role? Suddenly someone who should, on average, be paid around $80k/year (according to Glassdoor in Chicago) searches their job title and finds that they should be making $128k/year. See the problem? Suddenly your Marketing Director is convinced they are underpaid, and they are likely going to come to you about it.

So, your Marketing Director is given a “Director of Marketing” title. Beyond the salary inconsistency, the employee now has Director of Marketing on their resume. There are certain skills that are learned while on the path from Director Right to Director Left, and making that leap inhibits that learning, much like my first to eighth-grade example earlier (unless you have a robust training plan that will get them up to speed before the first performance review). What if the seven-year-old were to transfer schools? Can they fulfill the role of an eighth-grader in this new environment? Most likely not, so why would you set your employees up for the same failure?

Having a fair and accurate organizational design is crucial for the confidence and success of your employees.

I encourage you to look into your own organization – are your job titles accurate to the work your employees are doing? If not, I am more than happy to help.

How to Prevent Job Titles from Losing Their Value?


Title inflation is nothing new. HR departments have been rebranding their employees with creative titles for a while now.

By Laura Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR

Job titles are not free, so why are companies passing them out like candy?

If you’re not careful, wrongly staging your employees’ careers could be like promoting a first grader to eighth grade. They will lose out on necessary skills that are taught along the path and will end up being in an artificially high position with more responsibilities (and expectations of their own) than you intended. How to Prevent Job Titles from Losing Their Value?

Title inflation is nothing new.

HR departments have been rebranding their employees with creative titles for a while now. But has this had a negative impact on our work culture? The proliferation of new job titles may be an attempt to make oneself look better than what they are, or it could simply be an attempt to distinguish between different levels of responsibility within a department. It could also be seen as an opportunity to create a more inclusive and empowered workforce. Whatever the reasoning behind it, there are some major issues that come along with title inflation, and it’s imperative that we prevent it from happening.

Let’s take a simple example to see what title inflation might look like.

Say you have an employee who is solely in charge of all of your marketing efforts. They aren’t an analyst, since that title implies the specialization of one avenue or process. They’re likely a director. But what is their actual title? If your instinct was to say Marketing Director, you’d be right! What happens when you assign them a Director of Marketing role? Suddenly someone who should, on average, be paid around $80k/year (according to Glassdoor in Chicago) searches their job title and finds that they should be making $128k/year. See the problem? Suddenly your Marketing Director is convinced they are underpaid, and they are likely going to come to you about it.

So, your Marketing Director is given a “Director of Marketing” title. Beyond the salary inconsistency, the employee now has Director of Marketing on their resume. There are certain skills that are learned while on the path from Director Right to Director Left, and making that leap inhibits that learning, much like my first to eighth-grade example earlier (unless you have a robust training plan that will get them up to speed before the first performance review). What if the seven-year-old were to transfer schools? Can they fulfill the role of an eighth-grader in this new environment? Most likely not, so why would you set your employees up for the same failure?

Having a fair and accurate organizational design is crucial for the confidence and success of your employees.

I encourage you to look into your own organization – are your job titles accurate to the work your employees are doing? If not, I am more than happy to help.

Repurposing Plastic and Other ESG Goals

By Amanda Morgan, Consulting Associate at MorganHR

LEGO, Patagonia, Nestlé, Procter and Gamble, Apple, and Unilever– what do these companies have in common? They’re working towards a transition from a linear to a circular plastics economy as a part of their ESG and DEI goals.

LEGO is changing the game by developing the prototype for 100% recycled PET plastic bricks. Patagonia has been changing the clothing game since ’93 by transforming discarded bottles into recycled polyester, and now they are incorporating production waste and old garments in their reach for reuse over-extraction. Nestlé is decreasing their use of virgin plastics by one-third, as well as reaching for 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. Procter and Gamble are stretching for 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2030, but they’re starting with halving their petroleum-based plastic use by the end of this year. Apple is working to reduce the quantity of plastic packaging while also exploring the use of recycled and fiber-based alternatives for their petroleum and virgin plastics. Unilever is planning to decrease virgin plastic use by 50% within the next four years, and they are committed to designing reusable, recyclable, or compostable products while collecting and processing more plastic than is sold.

It’s no question that companies are placing a heavier focus on being environmentally friendly. Especially since climate change is such a hot topic. In fact, companies are starting to clearly communicate their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. We took a look at the history of ESG and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in the workplace after we held a discussion about how to read between the lines of a company’s proxy statement. We’re finding, as I’m sure you are, that more companies are adding their ESG and DEI goals to their proxy statements and other public communications. Why?

What is the purpose behind a company’s ESG/DEI statements and goals?

To answer that question in brief, I’d say values. Think about it: there is more than money behind decisions, right? Money is absolutely a motivator, but a company is built, designed, and led based on the culture and values that it stands behind. Not to mention that investors and other stakeholders are going to be more inclined to support a company whose values align with their own. ESG/DEI goals are another way for a company to display its values, and they are becoming ever more popular. So, let me ask you, what are your company’s ESG goals? How were they decided?

Some readers may have an immediate answer, as they either designed the goals themselves or have great internal communication. Others may have an idea of what they want their ESG goals to be but are not sure where to start, or even how to communicate that with the rest of the company. At MorganHR, we are always ready for what’s coming around the corner, so if you’re caught up in making informed and up-to-date decisions regarding setting ESG goals, let us help you.

Learn Something Essential

By Neil Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR and Creator of SimplyMerit

Many old-world skills are on the endangered list. When was the last time that you went foraging for mushrooms in the forest? My mother did as a child. Within one generation, the ability to identify edibles has seemingly disappeared… or has it?

We live in an age where you can learn virtually anything sitting on your couch. Yet, with all of this instantly at our fingertips, many of us would rather rely on the trappings of our modern society… drive to the grocery store to pick up mushrooms or throw lighter fluid (and TONS of it) on a stack of firewood to start a bonfire.

Over the past several years, I’ve become increasingly interested in some basic skills that fall under the category of “bushcraft.” With YouTube and other streaming services, I’ve honed my knife sharpening skills, lit my passion for starting bonfires with nothing more than a Ferro rod, and secured my skills around tying a dozen useful knots.

Bonfires are an essential part of our backyard and RV fun. Having the fire building skills to source the materials from nature (bark from birch trees for the tinder source, twigs for the kindling, and larger branches for the fuel), to stage the materials to allow the fire to build gradually, and then to ignite a roaring fire from nothing more than a spark from a Ferro rod is immensely gratifying. But passing these skills onto the kids is by far the most rewarding.

Since getting into bushcraft, I’ve added a small pocket knife as an EDC (Everyday Carry). I keep this knife, a larger fixed blade knife, and a hatchet sharpened and honed using both a whetstone and a strop. Having a super sharp knife is an amazing experience whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or working wood for the bonfire.

Now, you’d be surprised how often you need to tie knots outside of tying your shoes. And while there are probably hundreds of knot variations, there are a handful of knots that will get you through life just fine. By far, my favorite is Corporals Corner improvised trucker’s hitch. It’s a quick way to secure loads or to string up a rope between trees on which to hang gear or tents.

Learning should never stop. There is so much information available literally at our fingertips that I challenge you to find something new and potentially master a skill.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Recruitment and Retention in a Post-Pandemic Environment

By Stacy Fenner, Auxin Group Program Director at MorganHR

52% of North American employees plan to look for a new job this year according to Achievers Workforce Institute. 47% of employees will look for a new job if their employer doesn’t offer hybrid work. Companies face a significant risk of losing talent if they are not looking at ways to engage and shift recruitment and retention strategies.

What strategies will work?  First, put up your own mirror.  When have you been the most motivated to get up and turn on that laptop/drive into work early? It is most likely when you feel your contribution is valued, you have clarity in your goals, you are part of a team, and you have the freedom and flexibility to make an impact. Plus, you most likely enjoy the people you work with and can have a little fun during the workday.

What has changed in the past year and a half? The pandemic put a roadblock in front of employee engagement, but companies quickly adapted to keeping their employees engaged in a remote work environment. From prioritizing employee WELLNESS to virtual talent shows, there are many ways to retain your current team and even recruit new employees.

Unfortunately, the Turnover Tsunami is real, but there are many ways to keep your employees happy and engaged right where they are. Here are some actionable steps to take:

  1. Give Positive Feedback
  2. Encourage creativity and innovation
  3. Respect and Value Employees
  4. Provide Opportunities to Grow (Personally and professionally)
  5. Earn trust
  6. Provide Challenges
  7. Create a Healthy work-life balance
  8. Include employees and provides connection
  9. Ensure salary is competitive
  10. Provide a safe and comfortable environment both in the office and home

These are just a few suggestions, as there are hundreds of more ways to keep your employees happy. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but the common denominator is that employees want to feel that they belong where they are now. If you’re not sure where to start making improvements on your retention/recruitment strategies, don’t worry. MorganHR offers just-in-time coaching to help with the compensation conversations and strategies for managers and HR professionals. Plus, Auxin Group promotes employee balance and development by offering bite-sized WELLNESS® and development opportunities at their fingertips with our app.

To retain and win talent during this unique time, leaders across the organization have to take part in retention and recruitment strategy development, and with MorganHR, we can come up with the best plans together.


Remember Everyone’s Invisible Backpack

I have one. You have one. Your family members and friends have one. The cashiers at the grocery store have their own. Your children’s teachers, your co-workers, your doctor… literally everyone is walking around with an invisible backpack loaded with stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

These emotions are hitting all of us because we are living with so much uncertainty. Is my job secure? What’s going to happen with my kids’ camp this summer? What about the fall? This is unchartered territory. There are no rituals or rules or lanes to guide us. When we are adrift and overwhelmed with endless worries, the filters disappear, and our words don’t always come out quite right. We unintentionally ignite a fire with another human being. In these intense moments, when someone else’s comments hit you hard, be forgiving. Remember the backpack, theirs and yours. Their backpack affects what they say, and your backpack affects what you hear.

Instead, I urge you to acknowledge the backpack. Talk about the worries. It’s ok to ask others about them… and go beyond the surface.  Check out this article that suggests 20 questions to ask instead of “How are you doing?” It will lead to a more open and honest conversation, a deeper connection, and you both may come out of it with a little less in your backpack.

What is Self-Development? Is it an oxymoron?

By Laura Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR 

Managers are eager to discuss development plans with their employees. The list of ideas is generated to help the employee select the growth-oriented exposure to a key project or the certification courses that would augment their understanding. The employee is also encouraged to read, be mentored, and participate in leadership development programs with special experiences and coaching. Is that enough? I think development happens when someone’s mind is exposed to new ideas AND when they have a way to discuss, gain opinions, and receive feedback on their interpretation of it all. 

What is the definition of development? 

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, development is defined as the process of growing or changing into a more advanced, larger, or stronger form. It’s a relative process: people experience their own development in different ways, which is a function of their personalities, background, learning style, and preferences. What you might think of as good training, for example, might not be relevant for an employee who comes from a different background. The disconnect might be due to a lack of experience, lack of financial resources, or a multitude of other reasons. So while development can mean a variety of things to different people, it can be easily described, for our sake, as bringing the employee up to speed in terms of their applicable knowledge and skills.  

What is missing with self-development? 

In many organizations, employees think of self-development as a career enhancer or a simple learning opportunity. Let’s just go back to that oxymoron “self-development”. How can you truly grow into a more “advanced form” by yourself? What is missing when you read development articles or attend lectures? Discussions & debates are key in digging deeper into your own development. The best way to strengthen a muscle is to add resistance, so why don’t we automatically do the same with our professional development?  

The best ways to improve development 

Often, managers are invested to create these exposures and identify development opportunities to help their employees. That is true for those managers with budgets and open access to these amazing tools and systems. When you don’t have the budget or team of trainers available, where do you turn? At MorganHR, we foster conversations, debates, and feedback-oriented discussions that stretch and shape each other’s development. We all have experience with speed bumps and roadblocks in our paths, and when we can learn from others’ expertise, we begin to foster our own growth and development.  

When working on your own development, you become focused on improving. You may even get stuck in a tunnel vision mindset that prevents you from seeing the forest from the trees. If you really want to strengthen and develop your skills, take your new ideas and learnings and share them with others. Get into discussions and challenge each other’s interpretations. You need to be exposed to more than your own thoughts and to be able to shift, shape, and strain (in some cases). Otherwise, it is to self-vacuum, not develop.