By Stephanie Harder, Client Services Specialist


Laurie Dever, Vice President, Human Resources, UMFS


The key to any successful enterprise is people. But employers don’t want just anyone working at and representing their organization. The trick is finding employees that balance the right skills with the right level of competence and for an attractive (yet affordable) total rewards package. One way that organizations can begin to build their ideal workforce is to ensure that they are compensating their employees fairly and competitively. Earlier this year, the nonprofit agency United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) began doing just that. UMFS is a national leader in helping children by providing programs for high-risk children and parents across Virginia that help them overcome challenging circumstances and succeed. As a new employee at UMFS, Laurie Dever, Vice President, Human Resources, saw the need to conduct a compensation study to get a baseline for how competitive UMFS salaries were. Best practice suggests that an organization conduct a compensation study every 2-3 years to remain competitive in the marketplace, and since it had been longer than that for UMFS, this was a priority for Laurie. As with any company, UMFS had several positions that they knew they wanted to improve employee retention and recruitment before the study began. Laurie and her team combined those positions with their most common jobs and identified benchmark positions to be analyzed in the study. With offices in several locations throughout Virginia, it was also important to UMFS that they receive salary data that was geographically relevant as well. The study looked at data not only for the Richmond market, where the largest UMFS campus is located, but also for the nine other locations throughout Virginia. After receiving the information for the study and completing interviews with a group of UMFS leaders, the Gallagher team worked to develop a pay philosophy to identify those markets that are talent competitors for UMFS. Using that philosophy, Gallagher established the market value of the UMFS jobs using information found in seven third party pay surveys. After comparing UMFS salaries to the market data, Gallagher developed a new salary structure that provided more competitive salary ranges. Now that the study is complete, Laurie and her team are working to incorporate the changes. With several initiatives already in progress at UMFS, the leadership team is reviewing how to fold the salary changes into their existing long-term plans. “One helpful part of our report was that Lee [Weisiger] provided us with two options for how we could bring our jobs up to a competitive salary structure. It was very helpful for us to see the two suggestions laid out and how much each would cost so that we could begin to develop an action plan,” explained Laurie. The team at UMFS predicts that these salary changes will positively impact their employees through higher retention rates, higher engagement scores, increased employee morale and improved recruitment. When speaking about implementing the changes, Laurie said, “We have really great employees at UMFS and we want them to know that we are listening to them and are trying to come up with changes that address their needs. We are anticipating positive changes all around from this study.”