Compensating Employees with Multiple Skill Sets

A GLGA Member wants to know:
I am looking for information on how companies compensate production employees who
have multiple skill sets and/or who are flexible with helping in other departments.
Currently this is taken into consideration at the annual review period. However, I was
wondering if other employers have a way to compensate these employees as the skill set
is gained and not waiting until the end of the year.

We find that some employees are very open to trying a new job in a new department while
others are very resistant or even refuse.

Currently employees do not receive additional compensation for working in other departments.

Since we are union, unless there is a specific job opening the can only work in their department

Our pay provider allows for two rates to be set up for an individual. It requires good
communication between the supv/mgr and payroll to be sure the employee is paid under the right

Our philosophy is that we pay employees for what they can do, i.e. if they can run a perfect binder
as well as other machines, we pay them the wage for a perfect binder operator, even if today they
are feeding pockets. We pay them for what they can do, not for what they are doing today.
Everyone in our plant multi-tasks. It makes us a much stronger company and our work force
much more flexible

We address those situations with our union contract renewal date.

In this new economic climate, every employee should be open to cross-training and/or to assist
where they are capable of helping. The departmental walls must come down. If you are
attempting to train employees in “completely different” departments, then it might be as simple as
having a 2 or 3-tier compensation incentive(s) for those who accomplish your tier
accountabilities/job descriptions. These incentives could be as simple as 50¢ increases or similar,
and can be administered at any time, upon completion/passing of company expectations.
Therefore, for those who are capable of helping but resist or refuse, aren’t’ helping the team and
wouldn’t be helping themselves.

This is the Million Dollar questions: with the industry challenges over the past 6 years, staff
reductions with new faster technologies, our staff has needed to adapt to expanding their talents
to fit multitasking with no additional income rewards.

We have a union and rates are set based on the job title. If a person is skilled to work in a
different job, they would receive pay for that job when they work it.

We do a wage differential, adding an additional $2 per hour for production employees who serve
as production managers on the weekends. This gives them a good feel for the job and gives us a
good indication whether or not they are able to promote into that position eventually. They are
reviewed based on their performance in both positions.

We pay all of our production employees based on their value to the organization. The more
responsibilities a person is willing to accept the more they make.

We simply recognize it in merit.

We have had employees share time between two different positions in the past. If they are
moving into a higher job grade, we compensate them at a higher rate for hours worked in that
We do this electronically through our time clock, so they are tracking the time themselves.
Management approves the time sheet at the end of the pay period.
We have also done the reverse and had PT employees help in a lower job grade position and
they are paid a lower rate for those hours, but they are additional hours that the employees are
willing to pick up.

Our employees’ compensation is partly based on their skill sets and “flexibility”.

We review wages for hourly employees each quarter. This allows us the flexibility to give more
frequent increases when people are on a learning curve, or adding new responsibilities. The does
NOT mean that everyone gets raises every quarter, but wages are looked at and raises are given
as appropriate.