Leverage your career to make more money with Trapper Yates, Head of Global Compensation, HP

Trapper Yates

listen to apple podcastslisten to spotify podcastslisten on amazon podcastslisten on google podcastsWatch on YouTube

Trapper started his career in finance and accounting, but soon found his interest in people, pulling him towards the world of HR. As a result, Trapper pursued his MBA with a strategic HR focus,and ultimately landed a job at HP where he had the great fortune of starting their rotational HR management program. Over the past 7 years, his focus has been on the compensation space, and he is currently the Head of GlobalBroad-Based Compensation at HP Inc.

Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four children and staying active in the outdoors of Boise,Idaho.  You can frequently find him coaching soccer, skiing, running, riding his bike. He has completed over a dozen endurance races including the Boston Marathon, the Speedgoat trail 50K, and most recently a 70.3half-ironman. 

We have a guest today whose sole focus is to teach you how to leverage your career to make more money! His name is Trapper Yates. Trapper will inspire you to take risks. He will give you the tools you need to move past your apprehension, and get out of the rut you find yourself in.  

{06:03} Taking the risk, stepping away from your day-to-day, and starting a new career path.

{07:49} The tools you need to move past the apprehension stage

{10:04} The importance of not being short-sighted.

{12:27} Advice for the person that's feeling stuck

{20:13} The importance of understanding your salary midpoint

Connect with Trapper on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trapperyates/

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomfinnleggup/

To join HP, Check out their job board: https://jobs.hp.com/

Welcometo the Talent Empowerment Podcast, My Friends, where we lift people as leadersso you can lift your organization. I am your host, Tom Finn, and today we havea guest whose entire focus is to teach you how to leverage your career to makemore money.

Hisname is Trapper Yates, Trapper, welcome to the show, my friend.

Thank you.

It's good to be here, Tom.

Well,look, if you don't know Trapper,  hestarted his career in finance and accounting, but soon found his interest inpeople, strategy, pulling him towards the world of HR. As a result, Trapperpursued his MBA with a strategic HR focus and ultimately landed a job at HP,where he had the great fortune of starting in their rotational HR managementprogram. What's great, though, is that over the last seven years, his focus hasbeen on compensation. He is currently serving as the head of global broad-basedcompensation at HP. My understanding is that there are about 60,000 employeesat HP today, Trapper?

Yeah, 53ish.

Thereare 53Ish. 1000 employees worldwide. Now, outside of work, he enjoys spendingtime with his wife. He's got four great kids. He stays active outdoors inBoise, ID. You can frequently find him coaching soccer, skiing, running, orriding his bike. He's completed over a dozen endurance races, including theBoston Marathon. The Speedgoat Trail 50K and, most recently, a 70.3 halfironman, before we get into business, what on Earth is a speedboat trail 50K?

Yeah, so the Speedgoat is a race created bya guy named Karl Meltzer, who has the nickname "The Speedgoat. He's a bigmountain runner, and this race is down at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah, which iswell known for its big mountains. You start at the base of the hill where yourun if you're a professional. You grit it out and kind of hike your way up tothe top, if you're like me, you run down the back and come back up. So, it'sabout 31 miles and 11,000 feet of vertical gain during that 11th out of those31 miles. So yeah, pretty intense. I've done it three times. It's been a fewyears since I last did it.

Well,fair enough. With four kids in tow, I can't imagine there's a ton of time totrain, but I think that's spectacular. And tell me about your half-Ironman aswell.

Yeah, half Ironman. So, I've had kind ofthe bucket list goal of doing a full Ironman and had a friend say, “hey, youshould sign up for this. I and another guy are doing it” This was last year.

And so around Christmas time, aroundDecember, I said, OK, let's sign up, and the race was May 1st. I went andbought a road bike. I mean, that's how prepared I was before this. I went andbought a road bike, started getting in the pool to swim a little bit, and yeah,it's 70.3 miles between the bikes or the swim bike and runs. This is a goodexperience. I hope to do a full Ironman one day, but like you said, with fourkids, I need to find some time to train. I want to feel good about it when I gointo it.

Yeah,fair. Fair enough. And you're not all about outdoor sports and being a familyman, although that probably comes first early on in your career, you did someother things around finance and accounting.

SoI'm going to go ahead and guess that you know your numbers. What got youinterested in moving from finance and accounting? into compensation, which issuch a specialized area of a business.

Yeah, absolutely. So, like many others, Ibegan my career not knowing what I wanted long-term or having a clear vision ofwhat I wanted. So, I started with a company that just put me into this greatprogram to develop financial and accounting individuals, and I was doingproject manager or project accounting work. Some of you know, financial typeswork like that. I did that for about 4 1/2 years. And as we came into the GreatRecession started, I think some companies were coming out of it, but because ofthe nature of the construction industry and engineering, we were still dealingwith it and I had a chance to think.

For me, it was like I looked ahead andthought, "If things go just as well as they possibly can over the next 10years, where do I see myself? Is that where I want to be? I felt like theanswer was no, and I didn't know why. I just didn't care about the accountingside of things and crunching numbers all day.

But what I had done at that company was,early on, I asked for the opportunity to help out recruit for this program andgo and recruit college students into it. And so, I did. That's a total of fourand 1/2 years that I was there And so I started to think, what about a careerin HR?

The talent acquisition side doesn't link toanything with numbers. But I knew I was probably going to do an MBA eventually,so I stopped working and went to do a full-time MBA and switched my focus fromfinance over to our great opportunity to meet a lot of great people at a lot ofgreat companies took a role at HP and, as you mentioned, this managementassociate program. which allowed me to experience not just talent acquisition,which I thought would be kind of my true passion, but also succession planning,which is what drew me to the world of HR. But I also did a comp role, and I dida business partner role. And as a result of that, I felt like my skill set waswell aligned to the compensation world and having a background in finance, andit was something that I enjoyed: tying the people of the numbers together;thinking about how to motivate and energize people around compensation andtotal rewards programs.

So, I have, as you mentioned, been on thatpath since and have enjoyed it.

Yousaid something really important there: you said that you took this risk to takeon different roles and get into a rotational program. Most people wouldn't dothat. They'd stay in finance and accounting and sort of put their heads down.We'll give you the confidence to be able to move within the organization andthen, ultimately, find what you are looking for.

Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest risk, ifI look at it for myself, was, like you said, stepping away from your day-to-dayand saying, "You know, I'd spent four and a half, five years in financeand accounting roles, and I saw a career path there, but it just didn't exciteme. 

As a result, I felt like I had a longcareer ahead of me. Is this really where I want to go? I don't know that itgave me full confidence, but I also felt like I already knew myself. I believethat if I am doing something I am passionate about and following something moreinteresting to me, I will perform better. And I think, ultimately, it's goingto lead to better outcomes. And there were a lot of people, frankly, because wewere coming out of the Great Recession.

Like 2010. So, as I said, a little bitpast, but you know, a lot of people said, "Why would you quit a good job?Why would you know that you survived these layoffs and different things? Whywould you? Why would you quit?”

So, there was a risk there, but I just didmy research, did my due diligence on what I thought the opportunities might be,and then took them. Same thing with HP; it was a structured rotational program,which was great. But trying to find that spot where I fit best was difficult.Honestly, when I first took a role in the comp, I didn't think, hey, this ismaybe my forever path. It's just something I wanted more experience in, and Ihave been open to other opportunities as they've come along. It has simply beenthe compensation space that has provided me with opportunities and has beenextremely beneficial. It's a good fit for my skill set, so that's where I'vespent my career.

So,what helped you move through the organization and get there? Because youmentioned it didn't sort of cover your whole amount of fear? You weren't ableto sort of absorb all of it. There's some sense of apprehension there. Whathelped you get through that apprehension and what helped you sort of movethrough the organization?

I think saying yes is huge. Somebody toldme that early on in my career, like, looking for opportunities to say yes andnot no when you say no to an opportunity or close a door. And certainly, I sortof did close the door on one, like a finance and accounting career, but I felt likethere was a better path in this open door.

But, you know, I never want to burn abridge, and if someone says, "Hey, would you mind spearheading thisproject or taking on this work?" I've always tried to say yes. I will tryit and I will, you know, I'll do my best. One other thing that I remember whenI was early in the comp world here at HP is that I was managing compensationfor different groups.

I managed global functions. I managed itfor one of our business lines. One of our business communications managers wastaking on a new role, and it was going to leave a vacancy covering one of ourbig businesses, so he asked. Can you tell me, hey, can you? Can I transfer thisto you, and can you handle it in the short term? But I don't know how longthat's going to be, and so once again I said yes, and then I remembered. I wastalking with him, and I was like, so how would you? If you approached this,would you just keep the ship afloat because, you know, this could be threemonths, six months, or a year? Or would you set up the, you know, set upmeetings with the business leaders, start to understand their concerns aroundcomp, dig in, kind of like what I do with my other groups and, he said Itdepends on what you want to get out of it. You know, if you look at everythingwith the mindset of "I'm just going to keep the ship afloat." I'monly doing it for the short term, so you're not going to come off as a verycommitted person. And so, I took that to heart too.

And I tried to do the same thing with thatbusiness and met with the leaders to understand their comp concerns. I wasbeing proactive with the solutions that I was bringing to them instead of justbeing there to answer questions and kind of keep the ship afloat.

And so, I think That mentality is huge. Youknow, don't go into something with a short term. I'm just going to do this andget through it and keep the ship afloat. I want to do the best I can ineverything I do

So Ithink what I heard was, "Yeah. And then take a long-term strategicapproach to whatever the project or task at hand is. Don't be shortsighted.

And I think people recognize thatcommitment, right? And you're not doing yourself any favors if you just as Isaid, keep the ship afloat.

So,I can't go any further in this discussion without asking the $1,000,000question that everybody wants to know the answer to.And it's on the tip of my tongue. I knoweverybody listening is saying just ask him the question, and the question isvery simple. How do we all make more money in large organizations? You have thekeys. How do we make more money in a very large organization's compensationstructure?

Oh, the $1,000,000 question indeed. And Iwish I had an easy answer for you to that question. You know, I do feel like atHP, and I think most big companies, we've got very developed pay programs, butwe do want to be, certainly at HP, a pay-for-performance organization. So, we obviously tie a portion of somebody's pay to their salary, and then we tie aportion to variable programs like bonuses and like equity programs And so Ithink what some would say is the scapegoat answer is that if you performbetter, you'll make more money, right?

That is what internally within a companythat we would love to say 100% of the time that the answer is that the bestperformers do the best.? But, you know, you and I both know, and everybody listening probably knows, there are a thousand nuances. You know, oftentimes ifyou're doing the work that you love and that you're good at You're going toperform better, you're going to make more money, so I think there's a lotthere, certainly not a quick or easy answer.

Well,I think it's a good start, right? We've got to figure out what we like and howwe can perform at a high level, and I love to pay for performance organizations because it incents the right behaviors, and it aligns the vision and goals ofthe individual with the goals of the organization.

Andso to me, that's the most important first step is aligning. Those are thecomponents.

So,what do you say? to somebody who's feeling stuck. And it, you know, believesthat they should be making 20–30–40 thousand dollars more than they're makingtoday. And we could exchange that into euros or yen or Canadian dollars for ourfriends around the country or the world. But what do you say to someone who isstuck and just wants to take the next big jump?

There are a couple of ways to look at this.One is the internal view. You know, if you love your company and are contentwith your current situation, you have good growth prospects. My advice to thatperson is to be open with their manager. You know, one of the things that wedo, as we've tried to do manager training sessions and as we've done employeetraining sessions, shows people what the timelines are that we typically lookat compensations. So, most companies have an annual sort of focal reviewprocess, you know, and that's when you look at the performance you get in somecompanies or the performance rating you get, oftentimes your bonus time is tiedto that performance. So, if you get a salary adjustment at HP, it's usually amerit adjustment, but it's market-based. So that's the biggest opportunity whenyou know you're going to get your salary, or your compensation touched. Andthen at HP, we've got these checkpoints that happen just a couple of timesthroughout the year, and it touches a much smaller percentage of thepopulation.

But we tell employees, here's the timeline.So, if you go to your manager a week after this comp checkpoint and say,"I need to make more money, first of all, it's not a great approach, butsecond of all, the timeline just passed. I would say once again if you'reinternal, you like things about the company, you like your opportunities. Havethat conversation with your manager.

“I think, based on research I've done, Ithink my market rate should be closer to this. What can I do? How can I proveto you that I'm worth this? And what's the timeline on which we couldreasonably expect that to happen?”

I think some managers will be uncomfortablewith that, saying, "well, HR won't let me” or whatever the case may be.But the bottom line is that, at least at HP, and I believe at a lot ofcompanies, managers have a lot of power to influence that funding pool thatthey get or start, you know, sharing with leadership. This is a key employee.These are the things that I would like to do and it isn't a short term, I'mgoing to do this for you in a week, but it could be, you know, let's talk aboutthis and next year let's see if we can get you a larger increase, things likethat. So that's internal. Externally, if you don't like it if you're not in ahappy situation at your company if there's more to it than just the pay.

You know, I think there's a lot of researchthat shows that the premium, the leaving premium, is typically higher thanthose that stay, and that's not an ideal situation. Believe me, we look at thatinternally too and go, "How can we make it a more lucrative thing tostay”, but something we then focus more on? What's the culture? How do we getpeople to stay? You have to have a base level of good compensation, or elsepeople just aren't going to be happy.

Once you've hit that, it's other factors,but so people that are not happy with their situation, want more money, startlooking around. If you're good, you've got a good resume. Even as things kindof slow down, I think there's always going to be opportunities for people likethat.

Yeah,there are always opportunities for great people, and I love the way you set it.You've got an internal view, you've got an external view, and you've got tolook at compensation as a part of the whole. It is not the whole thing.

Andhow many times have we heard people leave the organization, jump across thestreet for 20-30, forty, or $1000 more, which sounds fantastic, but then regretthat decision only to be on to their next company a year or two later, orlooking to return to their original company where the culture was a better fit?The management and the leadership were just a better fit for them personally.

Yeah, we see this with great resignation,and now the research is coming out about how many people regret that decision.I think it's like, you know? well over 20% of people. I think it was 20% don'tregret it like there's a high percentage … I have to look up the numbers thatsay, "Yeah, I'm not sure I made the right decision," right? So, I'veseen it, you know. Since graduating from my MBA program, a lot of mycolleagues, many of them you know over the course of the last 10 years, havebeen in their 3rd, 4th, or 5th companies, and sometimes that can work. But ifyou're in a situation where you have good growth opportunities, you like yourmanagement, you like staying at one company, having that stability is not a badthing at all.

Itis not a bad thing at all. But where do you go and what do you do if you feellike we can't have that conversation with your manager? Or maybe saiddifferently, your manager doesn't understand this component, this compensationstructure.

Maybethey don't articulate the timelines well. What do you do with that managerpiece?

I think that's a really tough question toanswer. Once again, going back to a good manager, if you've got a good manager,I think you're going to be very happy. You're going to have a very good day.And if you, first of all, don't feel like you can approach your manager aboutthis, I think that's a red flag to me. If you don't because everybody knows whywe come to work, you know, sure, we want to contribute and give back, but atthe end of the day, we all need to make money too, so it should not be taboo. Iwill bring it up with your manager. How can I do that?

Do this Your second point is certainly welltaken because I think a lot of times managers just don't have the context orthe full understanding. And we, we know, like I've heard within ourorganization, deep within the organization, we'll hear things like, "Well,I can't hire above this midpoint, or I can't do this. 

And it's like, "Wait, who told youthat? We have a range. Within that range, you're free to hire within yourbusiness's affordability. These are legacy mindsets that have kind of come upas maybe there were times that were leaning, and people were reducing andmaking hires lower in the range.

So, I think there are a lot of managersthat maybe don't understand it as well. My advice to somebody dealing with thatis to still have the initial conversation with your manager and then pokearound the organization. I mean, it's hard to say at a company with, you know,over 50,000 employees, that it's not always a direct line to someone in HR orsomeone in compensation that's going to be able to help you with that.

But I will say we've got a very open-doorpolicy and I've had employees ping me on Zoom that I do not know at all and askme a question, and you know, I just try to try to be patient and we've got alot of training resources as well on our internal intranet sites.

And so, I typically try to direct people tothose, but it's tough to say that not all companies have that level of FAQs andeducation for their employees to understand it. So, I would have theconversation with your manager either way and then if they don't quiteunderstand it, keep digging.

Yeah,and there's a point. There's a nuance, a very important nuance, that wrappermentioned that I hope you all picked up on. If you didn't, I'm going to sort ofdraw it out a little bit for you. He used the word "midpoint”. And he saidif you understand where the midpoint is or you're hiring at the midpoint, whatdo you need to know about? Every corporation has a range of salaries for aparticular job title and job position. There are job codes, but without goingtoo far, there's a low, a high, and a midpoint, and there is some legacythinking that you can only hire external candidates. At a midpoint, right?

Or below.

Orbelow, right?

Yeah, at the high being the midpoint andduring compensation reviews, the word midpoint comes up a lot behind closeddoors. And so, help us understand how you ask that question within anorganization without appearing to come off the wrong way or with the wrongintention.

Yeah, as an employee, you mean asking tohave an employee.

Yeah,and you're trying to figure out where the midpoint is? Where's my salary? Howdo I do this elegantly without, you know, sounding like a jerk?

Yeah, absolutely. So, what we've done is wecreated this comp 101 training for managers and then we also kind of shared itwith employees. And one of my favorite diagrams within that, that we've kind ofbuilt out to illustrate this point, is a salary structure, and it's just likeminimum to maximum. As you said, with the midpoint, we have our separated intodifferent segments, so we've got 5 segments there. And we tell employees thatnot every employee should be at the midpoint. That's what we want is a bellcurve that kind of says you've got employees paid above, you've got employeespaid below, but the majority are in that strong range. We say segment one isfor people who are coming up to speed in the role. Maybe they're new in therole; they're not at full operating capacity.

Segment 2 is as you're starting to get moreconfident and comfortable and contribute at a higher level within the segment.3.0, which encompasses that midpoint, is for people who are fully up to speedand competent in the role.

And segments four and five, that abovemidpoint sort of range, are employees that are above expectations in that role,performing at a high level and perhaps ready for a promotional opportunity whenthat comes along. Now, I would love to say that that's the exact way everybodyis slotted within the organization, but it's tough. You've got, depending onwhere somebody was hired, maybe they came in higher or lower, and that doesn'tactually necessarily refer to whether I liked it or not, but as an employee,you probably understand that, and I think most companies don't.

Employees aren't going to have access totheir range and say, "Here's where I'm at," but I've told employeesas well. Have a conversation with your manager and ask them. Hey, I'm justcurious. How do you see my performance and how am I paid relative to myperformance in my pay structure? I know I'm asking a lot of managers there, butwe want managers, certainly within HP. If they get questions like that, that'sgreat because those are the questions, we want to help them answer and havethose really good conversations with their employees.

I don't think, once again, that it comesoff as unless you're coming to your manager saying I need to make, you know,20% more and I heard that all these people are making more, and I need to make more.That's not a productive conversation.

It's a productive conversation if you leadwith performance; hey, this is how these are the things I've seen that I'vedone, you know? Can you help me figure out what my options are? Can you help meunderstand where I'm paid relative to my range and what my opportunities mightbe over the next X period?

Yeah,I think that's the beauty of a real adult conversation, which is that I havethe performance laid out. I've done the things you asked me to do. I've goneabove and beyond.

AndI want to do this thoughtfully, within the right amount of time, and within thestructure of the organization. Can you help me get through this? This is mypoint, and this is where I want to go. By the way, here's where I'd like to goin my career, right? Because this is just a step on a path, and I would love tobe at the company for a long, long period. and not look externally, right? Youuse some of that language as you just laid out, and your manager is going tosay, my goodness, any good manager, by the way, would say, let me do what I canto figure this out with you collectively, we'll work together and provide somelevel of transparency and support. Along the way,

Yeah, the thing I love about what you saidis that, as an employee, you're indicating I intend to grow a career here, notjust, you know, I got an offer for 10% more, pay me more.

The only thing is, it's really, I do wantto spend my career. I like XY and Z about it. This would help me feel evenbetter. So how can we get to that point so absolutely?

Yeah,I think it's really important and we all have to make those personal decisionson the city we live in and, you know, our transportation choices and where ourhome or apartment is, and all of those things take money to pay for, so it'scritically important. But I've always thought that the most important thingabout compensation is the way that you approach the conversation.

It'snot what, it's the way and the style in which you approach your manager.

Agreed. Yeah, 100%. And this is, it's funnybecause, you know, I've got 4 kids, and one of the things about kids is thatsometimes they'll ask you, you know, hey Dad, how much money do you make?

You know if I throw out a number, you know,what does that mean? Why are they asking that question? I should understand Whydo you ask that? You know, and I think as a manager, it's the same thing as anemployee.

If you're coming up with that conversation,you know, or the employee asking the manager, where am I paid relative to mymidpoint, you know, you may not say, "Why do you ask that?" but youmay say, "Yeah, I can, I can certainly look into that for you. But help meunderstand, you know, where you're at, how you're feeling. Do you feel like youknow, you're looking for something different? Are you concerned about yourcompensation?

I think having productive conversationsaround compensation is better than just providing one-word answers andcertainly doing this over email. And it's just like, "No, you need aconversation.” 

These are important topics, and they can besensitive topics, so understanding the nuances through a conversationface-to-face over Zoom is important. I think these are best practices for sure.

Yeah,that's a great one. Don't do this in the written word. Please don't do this inthe written word. There is no way for you to explain it that way. For those ofyou who are introverted or believe this is too large a topic, uh, trust me.I've been there. Many people have been there. Write it down. It's OK to writeit down. You just don't hit send. Put it in a document, take your notes, haveyour bullet points, and then get on Zoom.

Ifyou can do it in person, that's even better, but it's OK to have a game plan.It's not OK to take that game plan and fire it off in six different paragraphsin an email because, trust me, it's going to get shut down pretty quickly.

Yeah, absolutely.

And I think the right way to frame it is totell your manager you want to have a conversation about your opportunities inyour career and, as part of that, better understand your compensation.

Once again, I think any good manager isgoing to see that as a sign of, OK, this person is ambitious. They'reinterested in compensation. which I can understand, and they want to have aconversation. I guarantee you; managers would appreciate that. I got an offerfrom a company, you know, across the 3 for X percent more, and I'm going toleave. Or can you count it? Do you know what I mean? It's like that is a lateconversation, and I think managers prefer to have the conversation early andknow how you're feeling.

Yeah,I think you're 100% right, and it sort of leads us down this path of the wordtransparency and pays transparency. And understanding different layers withinan organization, where do you stand on the transparency of pay for employees?

Yep, that's the one. That's a tough one aswell. So, as I think about pay transparency, I think you've got 3 levels of paytransparency. You've got the total black box, which I think about companiesstarting up or companies that just don't have pay structures built yet. They'rekind of going to need to hire a head of product or we need to hire this personand we don't know what to pay, but I know this person and we'll have to pay him10% more than whatever it is. You know, that's the black box. They don't evenhave a structure. They don't know what they should be paying you. They're notdoing a good benchmark.

Or it's companies that maybe do have all ofthat, but they still don't want to share anything. They're just very quietabout it. OK, I think that's the lowest level. Level 2 is where I think youstart to get a lot of big companies in this mode where you've got goodstructures developed, you've got a midpoint, you've got a progression throughthat range.

You share with the managers. You've gotgood processes for addressing pay, like an annual review. And that's a goodpoint to be in some like maybe a two-point Some of these companies don'tnecessarily share ranges with managers or they share the ranges of theemployees that work for them.

Maybe a 2.5 would be that they share allmanagers' access to all pay ranges, right? And that's kind of where HP is inthat mode of, we're pretty transparent with managers. Here are the ranges,here's how we do our comp because we want to enable them to, uh, have thoseconversations with their employees and be able to manage comp to manageperformance, you know, performance-based pay.

I would say Level 3 is where you've gotcomplete transparency so employees can act well. Let's say this Level 3 mightbe all employees' access to all pay ranges. You know that way they can look andsee where I'm at today in my range. Here's where I might be if I get thatpromotion, and here's the range at that point, and they understand all of that.

And then maybe the next level on top ofthat is that everybody can see, everybody pays. I don't think Level 3 and 3 1/2are necessarily a good thing because I think some downsides come with that.Government entities are a great example of how you can contact most governmententities, maybe all in the US. You can go out and look with the chief of policein your town. It makes you pretty easy. You can see their pay for the last Xnumber of years, and we typically look at government entities as being thepinnacle of performance. Pay is typically very tenure-based and you growthrough it, so once again, I think those are the levels of pay transparency.

I think there are arguments for moving intothat third one where employees all have access to at least the ranges, but alot of companies are at that level two of us have ranges. We try to empowermanagers, either by sharing all ranges or communicating with them. And I thinkthat's where we see most companies or most big companies these days.

So,what's the risk? Of sharing all company ranges with the general employeepopulation or maybe individual contributors that don't have direct reports.

Mygoodness, I can see my boss's title and I know that my boss is a seniordirector. Now I know what my boss makes. Is that the problem?

Well, I think the issue with sharing rangesis two-fold. It might be that, you know, there might be some of that, well,they can see that. That could also be seen as a motivator, you know, like, ooh,if I can get to that level, look at this range, and look at what possibilitiesopen up to me financially, right? So, I believe you have a chance. That's agood thing, right? I think the challenge and one of the risks are that I thinkI feel some of this and I've talked to many peers that feel the same. This, aswell, is: Your pay structures will frequently reflect the market, and you willoften employ market-based compensation. You know, some companies benchmark to ahigher percentage of the market. Other companies are going to benchmark at alower percentile or right in the middle. And depending on what peer group youuse; you might use a group that's lower paid. So, markets, although it soundslike a scientific term, it's an easy number to understand. There's a lot thatgoes into that, but you build your structures on the market, and we do that,and when we see the market move, we move our structure.

But business affordability comes into play,and so you've got really good years and you might be out of a really strongbonus. You might even have really good salary adjustments, but no overtime yoursalaries, and like I said, that midpoint curve, right, you know that curve ofsalaries right around the midpoint may not be the way that all companies are,and the worry is that you've got an employee that is a high-performing employeeand they're paid below that midpoint.

And it's not because you don't want to paymore, it's just that you've been limited in budgets, you've had otherpriorities you need to take care of, and so all of a sudden there's adissatisfaction that comes with that.

I'll share with you an example. TheSacramento Bee has posted all the salaries. There's a website that posts allthe salaries of California State employees, and they did this study at UCBerkeley back in 2011. They gave people the link to this; you know, not thatthey didn't have access before, but they gave people the link. This sharedindividual salaries, right? And they found that the number of people thataccessed it increased a lot when they shared that link with them. And about 80%of the people that were accessing it were, you know, looking at their peers andtrying to figure out where they stood relative to their peers. You could saythe same thing for ranges. Where do I fare relative to my midpoint?

And the outcome of it? They surveyed peoplethat had accessed the data, and what they found was that the people who werepaid below kind of the average of their peers. We're much more dissatisfied, sothere are increased levels of job dissatisfaction and an increased likelihoodof intent to leave. But you think, well, it's probably balanced out because,you know, you've got people that are paid well, and they're probably evenhappier because they know how well they're paid. That's not the way it playedout, though. The people that were paid above are median or above their peers.

showed very similar levels of jobsatisfaction and no change in intent or likelihood to leave. So that, I think,is the fear and I think it's founded in some ways because you've but you'reeither going to have people upset because they're paid below midpoint or neutralbecause they're paid well and they think, well, I probably deserve that. Andso, I think those are some of the challenges: maybe not being able to matchinternal salaries to the market because of historical or affordability issues,and secondly, the fact is, what good does it bring you? You're going to haveunhappy employees and neutral employees. So, I think those are some of thechallenges.

Yeah,it's a bit of a mixed bag when we look at it in terms of human behavior andwhat's going to happen as a result. There is too much transparency inparticular markets, and it makes me think of what's happened in the last coupleof years around the globe. And this question is for all of my friends that donot live in big cities and do not live in high-earning states. New York,California, you can think. of Chicago and, you know, some parts of Illinois.The Big Cities: Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, right? For the folks that arenot in those cities, I had a friend of mine in HR. We were talking about thisthe other day. They had a great teammate in Minnesota who was working from homeanyway because of the last couple of years. and was earning a Minnesota wage atthe market and working for a California company out of the Bay Area. He cameand said, "Hey, it's a new world. Uh, we don't mind if you work from homein Minnesota. You don't have to move to California. But oh, by the way, there'sa 15% pay discrepancy between California and Minnesota, so let's just startthere. You get a 15% increase, and oh, by the way, you're actually below yourmidpoint for your job.

Andwe'd love to have you join the company. So, we're going to add another 10% toget you just above the midpoint. And you don't have to move a muscle. You canstay right at that home office that you love so much, but we'll just pay you25% more to come work for a big market company.

Howdo you defend against that?

That has been a huge topic of conversationamongst comp nerds like me recently. I'll tell you that this geographicdifference since the pandemic has continued to swirl around us. Do you just goaway with it? I mean, because the talent in the middle of a cornfield in Iowacould be just as good, just as talented as a software engineer in, you know,Silicon Valley, as an example.

Also, we've seen a lot of different thingshappen. Airbnb announced a few, oh, probably four months ago that they werehaving geographic pay differentials like most companies do or have. And theysaid, "You know what, we're doing away with those. You can work from anywhere,and we're going to bring everybody up to the highest level. In the US, whichwas, which was all formulas. And they brought everybody up to that level, atthat rate, which is kind of crazy.

So, getting back, how do you defend it?Well, one thing I'll say is that we are not seeing mass movement in the marketto adopt similar approaches and get away from geographic pay differentials. Westill see most companies doing that, and we've stuck with that ourselves. Andthen, secondly, I think it comes back to helping employees understand whycompensation is what it is, what the ranges are, and then. Once employees feellike they're paid at least fairly, it's a lot more about everything else aroundyour experience at a company than just the dollars and cents.

And I think we're seeing that you know, noteveryone is just looking for the best deal. I mean, that would be kind ofcrazy, although it felt like that a little bit. With the Great Recession overthe last year, it's a tough question and something I think companies areworking through right now. Do we move to know geographic differentials? Do wesimplify it, or do we do what some other companies have done?

Google got a lot of headlines for doingthat. Here's your calculator. Move where you want, but you'll see your associatedpay reduction that comes with that or increase depending on where you move.

Yeah,I think it's an interesting topic. And for those thinking about leaving bigcities, does it affect your comp in any way if you move from Dallas to asmaller market or from Chicago to somewhere that is perhaps a little bit moreaffordable? Do you end up losing compensation as a result?

Thereare some companies, there's a third view here, some companies say, "Look,if you're moving from a bigger market to a smaller one, we won't give you areduction in the comp, but you're welcome to move. And take your family andtake the lift in lifestyle but we're not going to reduce your comp. So, Ibelieve three or four different approaches are being considered.

Butthis is a hot topic over the next couple of years because it's not going toslow down, and we've got to get this figured out so that people stay, andthey're retained at organizations and there's not a brain drain from reallygood companies like HP and others.

Yep, absolutely.

So,we’ve covered most of it today.

Andwe've got to say yes to opportunities and organizations. I heard that loud andclear today. And we've got to enable managers to have the tools. These are thethings that I heard you say. I was working at HP Today, but if I was working atHP Today, Trapper and I gave you a call and I said, "Look, I'm struggling.I, you know, I've got some things in my life, and I could use a little bit of apay raise. What would be the first thing you'd say, Tom?

Godo it. Take this one step and then come back to What would be that one thingyou'd ask me to do?

I would say to go talk to your managerfirst. So, it's especially, and we've talked about this quite a bit today, butespecially, a company like HP, or any company that's probably got structuresand a compensation function. I'm not doling out raises, you know, to peopleleft and right. You know, I'm building structures, we're training, we'reensuring that we're market competitive, and we're sort of driving that approach.

One of the core pillars of our compphilosophy is manager empowerment. So we do want managers to be on thatfrontline. We want them, and we've acquired companies where managers go. You'reexpecting me to have conversations, right? You're not giving me the formula;you're giving this employee 4.2%.

No, we're going to give you this market forthis employee this year and this is your budget within affordability, and its Xpercent. You can go up or down from there, but you'll have to explain to youremployee why they got 5%, why they got a bonus that was 10% above or 10% belowtarget, you know?

So that's one thing that I know companiesdo more formulaically, and I know we won't go into this today. But when, youknow, we don't have performance ratings at HP, and there are a lot of companiesthat went away with those in the last decade, where one of them, it limits yourability to formulaically decide how valuable an employee is or how theirperformance has been, so we put that on the managers.

And we give them the tools to have theright conversations and to pay their people based on their performance. Soyeah, if you came to me, I would say, look, talk to your manager, let's, youknow, here are some resources you can research first. And if it was a friendnot within HP or someone else that was talking to me, I would say there areresources. We live in the digital age. Check out Glassdoor, check out Blind.Look at some of what you're seeing out there. Take it with a grain of salt,because you're only seeing one piece of the puzzle. You might say this person hasfour years of experience and they're making 20% more than me. Well, what arethe other factors? You know, the same degree type is at the same location asyou know.

So, there's a lot that goes into it, butI'm all about information and I think people should. Make the most of theinformation available to them, both online and in person, before returning totheir manager and having that conversation.

So,if you want to get a raise, my friends, do your research, have an open conversation with your manager, and then be patient in terms of making sure you're in the right spot. You've got the right career trajectory; you're in the right place on the right team. All of those things are critically important and equal, if not more important than just pure compensation.

At the end of the day, Trevor, thank you so much for being on the show today.

I am the global head of compensation for HP, which is just a terrific role, and I appreciate all of the good work that you do if somebody wants to. They will find you, track you down, and not ask you too many questions. How would they go about doing that?

Yeah, LinkedIn is a great place. Onceagain, I am a huge fan of LinkedIn in this digital age. I try to be responsive as much as possible, so that's probably the easiest way to get in touch.

Yeah,so you can find Trapper Yates on LinkedIn. We will put that in the show notes for you, so you don't have to look too far. You'll just be able to click on alink there and connect with Trapper as well.

So,Trapper, thank you very much. I am grateful for having you and your time and for the brain and thoughtfulness that you brought. So, to our conversation today and so very, very well received by the audience, I'm sure.

Thank you for being here.

I appreciate the invitation to be here and to spend some time with you today, Tom.

OK,my friend, and for all of you out there, thank you for joining the TalentEmpowerment podcast. I hope this conversation lifted you so you can lift your teams, your organizations, and perhaps your income. Let's get back to people and culture together.

See you next time.

 

 

Featured Episodes

Engagement & Experience

How to be a "Great Place To Work"

Michael Bush, CEO, Great Place To Work

Listen Now
Engagement & Experience

Using Mission, Vision & Values for Everything

with Bamboo's Director of HR, Cassie Whitlock

Listen Now