Defining Commensurate: It’s not so easy…

Businessman counting his change
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According to Merriam-Webster: equal or similar to something in size, amount, or degree is how to define commensurate. You have most likely heard or read the words “compensation will be commensurate with experience and/or academic preparation”.  What does this mean? 

I am not exactly sure except that I know most people feel they are not making what they are worth or equal in value to what they contribute – there is no real understanding of commensurate.  Many may see those words in a job posting or job description and think this means they will receive a compensation package which is comparable to what everyone else in the world with a same or similar job title makes. Wrong.  Each hiring organization gets to determine what they will pay and how they will compensate their employees.

**Minimum wage is another story- with still an unclear ending which will always defy “happily ever after.”


How can we ensure that employees feel justly compensated? The above salary tools can assist in making the right decisions and supposedly “justly compensate” employees. Additionally, tax deductions and laws vary from country to country, state to state, county to county, and even city to city, in some cases.  Perhaps it seems like an unaswerable question: how can an employer justly compensate employees?

Total Compensation?

The secret lies in “compensation” – compensation is more than salary.  It includes all benefits received as a result of employment: salary, paid time off, vacation and sick days, insurance benefits, retirement, 401K plans, company stock/options… So much more… What about the intangibles?  The universally immeasurable benefits of working for any one organization… the one or more benefits which drives employee loyalty and the ultimate stake of retention?  Opportunity, Company Culture, Personal gratification… resultant from a job well-done which is valued and appreciated by all, the opportunity to be a part of something growing and dynamic, the chance to grow and learn, develop new skills and talents, move into a new industry or vertical, obtaining a new title… And plain ol’ being thanked and valued for service rendered.

“What part of you will you leave with people?  The good or the bad? How will they speak of you when you are gone? And I don’t mean dead – I mean when you walk out of the room.”  – from Polish Your Kindness: Learning to Say Thank You

Taking Chances – Presenting Opportunities

I have taken a position which paid $25K less than a commensurate position in order to be a part of something new and innovative and to attain a new, next level title.  I took another position $60K less than a commensurate position to my locale because of the opportunity it represented – the future it would pave for me…
The intangible benefits had nothing to do with money or insurance, retirement funds or days off.

Opportunity for more – groundwork won. Intangible.

When you can’t offer comparable money, what can you offer? How do you compensate or make up for the fact that you are paying/offering less than the average for any one position or job? Value. Gratitude. Graciousness. Culture. Respect. Opportunity. The Future.

Employee loyalty earned. Another notch in the retention case.

by Rayanne Thorn


Maintaining the Dash series…
Hire to Retire: Maintain the Dash
Polish Your Kindness: Learning to Say Thank You
Defining Commensurate: It’s not so easy…
HR’s Quest: Enhancing Performance Management
Nurturing Talent: Providing Opportunities for Growth
Leadership Development is a Strategic Business Priority

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