By Ashley Bergner
Newton Kansan
One dollar may not seem like a lot of money, but it can make a big difference when it comes to an employee’s pay scale. Whether a position pays $10 or $11 an hour can determine how easy it is for a company to find — and retain — employees.
After reviewing the results of a compensation classification study, Harvey County will be making minor adjustments to employee pay ranges in order to bring its payroll more in line with the market.
“I think it was an excellent study,” said Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton. “I’m very happy they did it.”
The study, which was conducted by the Austin Peters Group, revealed some county employees were underpaid and some were overpaid.
According to Anthony Swartzendruber, assistant administrator and finance director for the county, work on the study began in mid-February. The Austin Peters Group interviewed county employees, reviewed job descriptions and observed employees on the job, and then they ranked positions based on decision-making powers, supervisory duties, education, working conditions and other factors.
After comparing Harvey County information to data from about 30 public and private organizations, the firm developed recommended pay ranges for the county.
The county’s total cost to bring its pay ranges in line with the market is about $270,000. The new pay ranges will place the county in the midpoint of the market, meaning half of all employers pay more and half of all employers pay less.
Swartzendruber said the study will help ensure there is internal pay equity between positions in the county and external equity with the overall market. Also part of the study was the rewriting of job descriptions to make sure they were consistent and accurate.
“It was a good evaluation process for all our positions,” he said.
Walton said he had suspected for some time employees in the sheriff’s department were underpaid, especially over at the detention center. He hopes the pay adjustments within the department (which include a recommended minimum pay of $15.66 for sheriff deputies, up from the current $14.18) will help reduce the high level of turnover.
“I hope that we can keep them longer than we had in the past,” he said.
The study also will enable employees to find out what pay increases they can expect in the future if they stay with the department.
Jim Meier, county Road and Bridge superintendent, also is glad the county decided to do the study. He believes the study will help employees to receive fairer pay and will make it easier to attract new employees.
“It’s just good to know that now we’re competitive,” he said.