GLGA Member-Ask-a-Member Questions – February 2015

The Great Lakes Graphics Association’s most widely used and insanely popular service is its Member-Ask-a-Member listserv service. Completely anonymous, members are able to ask and answer questions to better understand complex issues, benchmark their business and implement best practices.

I am trying to get an idea of what percentage increase or flat dollar amount are most employers in our industry giving their production employees (regular warehouse worker, machine operator, etc.). How often are increases issued to employees and based on what criteria? I would love to know if companies are giving out COLA increases or just based on performance, etc…

[expand title=”Answer”]The answers are:

  • Summary: 27 responses. There was no one clear favored method. Among the responses:
    Companies tend to reward performance over automatic COLA.
  • Of companies that give raises based on percentage, 3 percent was mentioned the
  • The two companies that mentioned union contracts both give 1 percent.
  • A couple of companies did not give any raises, although one company educates
    its employees on the financial value of the company absorbing insurance
  • A couple of companies favor end-of-year bonuses over salary/wage raises.
  • A couple of companies mentioned making adjustments based on market analysis,
    such as using the Wage & Benefit Survey.

We did not give raises in 2015 except for some market adjustments to some unique roles. We
hope to reinstate in 2016, but no budget established, but will be performance based.
We give performance increases. This year it is between 1-2%.

Our increases are based on COLA that is set by our Corporate office. I then have the flexibility to
go up a bit from this on a select few based on performance. We rank our employees during our
budget process into 4 categories – Needs Improvement (0 raise), Meets Expectations (COLA
increase for that year), Good Potential & High Performance (A little more than COLA), High
Potential & High Performance (Even more than COLA). All raises are given on the employee’s
work anniversary.

In order for this to work, 80% of employees have to be ranked in Meets Expectations, 15% in
Good Potential and 5% in High Potential. We also have Wage Grades that also help our
organization stay within the wage structure for the particular task. When the employee maxes out
their grade level, they have two choices. Take on more responsibility or apply for job openings
above their grade.

We conduct wage and performance reviews annually and have recently implemented mid-year
status reports – no surprises. Cost of living adjustments are weighed into the budgeting process
and considered when setting or adjusting the wage scales. Merit is emphasized and encourage in
the development of individual career paths and is what gets financially rewarded.
Parting thought: I believe it is wise to share that an employees mortgage or car payment increase
are not good reasons for a raise and adding marketable skills and/or increasing throughput are
good reasons for a wage increase. You’ll be surprised how many people increasingly do not
understand this.

Once a year. Typically around 3%, although lately its been less and last year it was 0%. I would
say on average its 3%.

We did not give across the board increases at all in 2015; we did do a market analysis and
adjusted some positions pay accordingly.

If we do give increases it is one time a year and most get a percentage unless they are at top of
their scale they then get a flat dollar and all are based on performance.

From 2008 to current, we have only given one rate increase to production employees in 2012
(this was a cola increase) due to business conditions. We have however, communicated to
employees that we have absorbed the bulk of the increases on medical and dental plans for them
this same time period. That seems to be understood and well received as they realize how
expensive the benefits offerings are in the market. We felt it was most beneficial to the employee
instead of giving them a raise and then increasing the payroll premiums. The same has applied to
all of our salaried employees also.

We gave out increases averaging 4% this year. Reviews are typically done on an annual basis.
For this year we are using 3%.

Our increases are tied to company profit, but are generally 1%-4% depending on the score on
their latest performance review. We have given COL increases in the past, but for years where
money available for normal increases was lean. Increases are one time per year, effective 1/1,
after a December performance review. The employee also has a non-increase performance
review mid-year.

We do reviews once a year.

We use the GLGA Wage & Hourly Survey report to determine if our employees are being paid
appropriately for the work that they do. If they are not, then we attempt to get them more in line
with where they should be. If they are paid appropriately or above, then there most likely is not a
wage increase. We explain to the employees in their review that we use the survey to determine
where they are at compared to others in the industry. If an employee has done an exceptional
job, but they are being paid appropriately or above, then we may give them a one-time bonus
instead of a pay increase.

This process works well for us.

Flat $ amount – I work out a total $ amount we can afford and simply divide the way I see it is

Raises once a year.

We do not have a set plan for annual raises. Most pay increases are due to merit, or a move up
in responsibility. We do provide an overall increase based on the performance of a business.
This is not done on a schedule, but depends on business conditions, and the past history is not
more often that every 2-3 years.

Each manager has a pool of 3% to work with and distribute based on performance
We are doing pay increases based on performance. Most increases are $1.00 per hour.
Increases are done periodically, again based on position and performance (a new employee who
started at the lowest end of the pay scale may receive more than one increase the first year or
two as they progress in skills and knowledge).

We do annual wage reviews and ours are based first on company profitability (if the company
isn’t making money then we most likely do not give out increase) and then are based on
performance. We do not do COLA increases.

We do annual performance reviews on all employees. At that time pay changes are discussed. It
is based on performance only. Raises are between 1% – 6% depending on performance. Not
every employee receives pay raises.

Our wage increases for all hourly employees follow our union contract, which will be 1% on Sept.
1, 2016. The only reason an employee would not receive the 1% is if there is a performance or
attendance problem that came up & is not resolved prior to 9/1/16.

We generally look at ours once a year in July. We do end of year bonuses, so it’s a nice way to
break up the ‘feel good’ into a twice a year event. For the past several years, as there hasn’t
really officially been much inflation, we’ve just been doing performance based increases with the
occasional bump here and there for employees who have gone more than a year or two without
any increase at all. We do a flat dollar amount as opposed to a percentage.

We are budgeted to give 3% increases in 2016 but it is dependent on your performance over the
year. An outstanding performer that isn’t at the top of a pay scale could get a higher percentage
as well as someone who isn’t performing might not get an increase at all. A managers over all
team budget needs to come in at 3%. We do not give COLA increases.

Our raises are based on performance. We anticipate some type of raise in April but do not know
how much.

We have not yet determined our increases for 2016. We do a performance-based raise at the
time of annual reviews.

Employee raises are based on individual performance noted on their annual personal goal card
around education, training needs, career goals, developmental opportunities, customer service,
teamwork, stretch assignments and also achieving Department annual Wall Map Goals around
revenue, productivity, waste reduction, turnaround time metrics, employee satisfaction surveys
results, financial stewardship cost containment and customer satisfaction surveys results.
General increase is 3% until top quartile pay rate is reached.

1% annual increases to base, in addition to a 1.5% lump sum bonus payment are in our contract
which expires this year. We’re proposing the same for future.

Our raises are given annually based on performance and are effective on the employee’s
anniversary date. The increases typically range from $0.50-$1.00 per hour.

We do not have a formal compensation structure with pay grades and ranges. However, we do
benchmark our jobs to those reported in the GLGA wage survey to make sure we are

All increases are based on performance.

We give increases every six months until someone hits the top of the scale if they are performing
well. It may take several years to get to the top. If we give a percentage increase, we do it for the
entire company, not just


2021 GEA Sponsors

GEA Best of Show Sponsor

GEA First Runner-Up Sponsor

GEA Second Runner-Up Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Silver Sponsor

GEA Silver Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

2020 GLGA Wage & Benefit Survey