Compensation Group

March 1, 2021

Compensation Group

The Beginning of Compensation Journey

Hello all you amazing humans! We wanted to live into our value of transparency and start documenting our compensation journey and sharing it with all of you.  So here you have it, blog #1 and I will preface by saying I’m REALLY new to blog writing so welcome any feedback on my style, or lack thereof…

Taking inspiration from Simon Sinek I’d like to start by highlighting why we feel this is so important. Simply put, the Compass ELC family deserves a value driven, total person compensation plan that includes professional wages and benefits for the important work that everyone does.
For some background information, we signed into a pay equity agreement in 1993 with a commitment to pay 1% of our previous year’s salaries in increases the following year.  The goal was to increase our wages in the hopes of eventually being more competitive with schoolboards, municipally run child care centres, etc.  The challenge is that in many years inflation has outpaced this modest 1% target and the salary grids of those other benchmarks kept rising.  This is why the past couple years we’ve been trying to double this and increase wages by an average of 2%, however we want to make a plan to reach our goals of matching the wages that schoolboards and municipally run centres pay and go beyond just salaries by considering a total person compensation plan that offers a variety of amazing benefits.

We’d also like to share the work that has happened, acknowledge the people that have been part of it, and share where we’re thinking of going next in terms of research and a work plan.

A compensation committee was struck in 2019 to begin a total person compensation review. A big thanks to Judy Topolniski, Jill Wickins, Sam Monteith-Damario, Hanah McFarlane, Tina Thompson, Val McGee, Tammy Phelan and Sheila Olan-MacLean who contributed to the research and work done that will drive this initiative forward. A smaller group has come together made up of Jenny and myself (co-leads as a shared HR/Finance initiative), Ryan as a member of the HR team and Amy as our Payroll and Benefits Coordinator in order to drive this forward in 2021. We have met to collate all of the information of the larger compensation network, developed a work plan and are now considering next steps in order to engage all of you wonderful humans in the process and harness the power of collective intelligence to determine the next iteration of our total person compensation plan.

Here is a summary of what we know for sure, the successes we want to celebrate, and the things we want to research more about and consider how they may fit into a total person compensation plan for Compass.
What we know:

  • We want the process and structure to align with our values
  • This will be an evolutionary process, it’s a journey

Celebrating Successes:

  • Living wage employer
  • Increase in childcare discount for staff
  • Health benefits (including an EAP which was made available to everyone)
  • Flexibility with sick/personal, our vacation and purchased time and compassionate leave
  • PD (time up to 12 hours and opportunities such as Reggio, work human, etc.)
  • Support through the apprenticeship program
  • Wage enhancement (extending it to those positions that didn’t “qualify” such as DNFRP and nutritionists recognizing everyone as integral to the program and deserving of it)
  • More permanent positions and split shift premiums for schoolage staff
  • CULTURE! (i.e. distributed leadership, connection, teal organization, etc.)

Things we want to research more and learn more about to consider in our compensation plan review:

  • Pension
  • Wage goals and a plan to get there
  • Hours (reducing 40 hour work weeks)
  • Short term leave supports
  • Process for wage increases
  • Nurturing a culture of feedback
  • Recognition (what do we want to pay attention to)
  • Using start date vs perm date for vacation
  • $150 HSA (how many are using it, how is it being used, is it enough?)
  • Holiday Break
  • Processes and protocols that align with our values

Thoughts, curiosities or ideas? We’d love to hear them! Please reach out to Jenny Cullen or me (Ashley Collins)
Stay tuned for blog #2 in the April newsletter.