[foundation-board] Follow up from last OK board meeting, and compensation committee

Karin Christiansen k.christiansen at party.coop
Sun Mar 29 13:19:40 UTC 2015


Tim is up for the Compensation Committee - but was concerned his lack of background and the suggestion ended up that I could join the first one.  Does that work?

He wanted to know who else is on it also from the OK staff end.


From: Karin Christiansen
Sent: 28 March 2015 20:07
To: OKF Board Mailing List
Cc: Fiona Thompson; mtisne at omidyar.com; 'Penny Handscomb'
Subject: Follow up from last OK board meeting, and compensation committee

Dear All - couple of quick issues:

1.      Follow up on the last board meeting and leadership transition

Apologies for the delay in this. In addition to clearing the annual report we had an extensive discussion about where the organisation is at, pace of change, and there were a couple of key parts that we thought it was important to make sure the whole Board had sight of because they affect how we collectively make decision that support the transition as well as just making sure there was a clear understanding of where things are at amongst everyone on the board.

ACTION:  Follow up conversation between Penny (and Fiona if possible), and Helen and Jane would be vital to make sure we are all on the same level of information for making decisions about the leadership transition and the months ahead.  I will do a separate email to you all so you have each other's contacts. (Tim I will include you in that)

With the new ED negotiations well underway I have also have started conversations with Rufus and Fiona about roles and timelines - both for the organisation, and the 3 individuals.  Clearly finalising and timing of Pavel's appointment is key element but I wanted to just get the ball rolling (and they are going to be the best people to come up with a plan around this so I am not proposing anything!)

2.      Open Knowledge Staff Compensation Committee - is anyone up for joining this?

Fiona has requested that a member of the board sit on the annual staff compensation committee. They envisage this being a two hour meeting (virtual is likely) with approximately half an hour preparation. The compensation strategy is based on the principles set out below. Key to note is that the compensation review process is not driven by performance assessment, so familiarity with individuals performance is not necessary. In fact, they are specifically looking to increase objectivity on the committee with people who are not influenced by individual performance. This is what makes Board involvement valuable.

They are hoping to schedule a meeting in the 3rd week of April (week commencing 20th April). The plan is then to announce  decisions to individuals in the beginning of May. Pay changes would come into effect for June and would last a year.

ACTION: Would anyone be willing and available to support OK in this way?

Compensation strategy

1. Open Knowledge aims to pay at the 50th percentile of industry/market/peer rates
2. HR  generate role descriptions that cover the organisational roles and create salary bands (using information from market comparison)
3. These salary bands are adjusted for inflation as appropriate to ensure there we don't systematically drop from the 50th percentile target
4. Compensation is driven principally by the role. Real changes to compensation (ie not the nominal changes driven by inflation) occur through change of role (vertical promotion to a more senior role title or perhaps less commonly, a lateral move into a role with a different band.)
5. Compensation is not principally driven by performance review. Performance reviews are about an additional source of feedback designed to help individuals improve their performance and are done after pay reviews. Above average (compared to industry/market/external peers) performance and professional improvement is considered the standard and isn't a driver for increased compensation. Consistent under-performance will typically lead to conversations about fit with the organisation and not salary decreases.
6. Individuals will know the salary band for their role. Bands across the organisation are not published to respect the confidentiality of staff given the small size of the organisation. Line managers will know salary bands for those they manage and will be responsible for treating the information as sensitive and HR confidential out of respect for colleagues.
7. The compensation review for staff is a distinct process to the contractor pay review.
8. There are no regional pay determinations.

The compensation committee review process:

a) Are our salary bands still representative of the 50th percentile for those roles?
b) If yes, is there a case for an inflationary increase to both top and bottom of the band as well as individual placement within those bands (with there being a general presumption that there is a case, typically about 2%)
c) Are all our individuals paid within the band for their role? If under, they will be offered an increase to put them within the band. If above, they will be notified that they won't get an increase until the band has caught them up. We don't propose reducing compensation if people are overpaid for their roles.
d) If inflation changes the bands, ensure all staff members maintain their position relative to the bands.
e) Does the organisational surplus offer any scope for discretionary salary increases while maintaining financial sustainability? If so, line managers may be offered small pots of money which they can recommend salary increases to those they manage. The compensation committee have final determination on any salary changes. It is worth noting that these sums will be small and not make significant changes to salary. The intention is not to have discretionary increases drive compensation changes. All compensation will need to stay within bands, so a line manager recommendation cannot push a salary above the top of a band.

Karin Christiansen
General Secretary

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