Business

CEOs feel pressure to keep wages competitive

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This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: Economists say many companies are now feeling the pressure to raise wages. Is that something your company has faced, and how has it handled it?

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I believe many companies are feeling the pressure to raise wages for their employees, so that they can retain their workforce and reward them for their hard work and dedication to the company. Unfortunately, it has been a challenge for the center this year to increase our payroll expenditures because of the unexpected expenses from Hurricane Irma, which were not covered by our insurance.

Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center

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Carrfour’s success tackling homelessness is built on a diverse team of professionals who help our residents have the best opportunities for stability at the foundation of their lives. Individually and collectively, helping others is based on stability in our own lives. That means doing our best to operate cost-effectively, adopt best practices, and embrace technologies so we can provide competitive compensation, benefits and work/life balance to attract and retain dedicated, competent professionals. Wage pressures are strongly connected to local housing costs. CEO’s and policy-makers have an obligation to continuously plan, allocate and invest to make sure Miami is a place where people who work hard and do good are able to pay their bills and even save for the future.

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing

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At For Eyes by GrandVision, we believe in promoting people based on performance and merit. We recently rolled out our new corporate culture and at the core of who we are is the concept of variable compensation. Everyone in our company has the opportunity to make more money if they perform well. For example, we are rolling out bonus eligibility to everyone in the field, our manufacturing lab and at the support center.

Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes

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Employee compensation is something we have always had an active dialogue around. Every year we review our compensation planning with the goal of providing our employees with competitive salaries that allow them to enjoy a healthy work-life balance.

Jeff Gouveia, president, general manager, SE region, Suffolk

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Yes. Wages need to rise for a healthier economy and society overall. Holding expenses is a fundamental objective of any business management team. However, we have to have a broader view of society’s needs to ensure a healthy economy that is broad-based for companies to continue to flourish.

Jerome Hutchinson Jr., managing partner, JHJ Marketing Group

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In the nonprofit sector, the pressure to raise salaries, which tend to be below the private sector, is always there. Because of it, organizations are always at risk of losing good talent. It affect our ability to recruit and retain talent essential to our growth. We train them, promote them when we can and provide non-wages benefits in an attempt to recognize their value with the hope that they will stay longer.

Willie Logan, founder, CEO and president, Opa-locka Community Development Corp.

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4IT is a technology engineering company in a very competitive space, so there is always wage pressure and the specter of employee turnover. We have built a strong culture that promotes taking care of our customers and each other, not only with wages, but with benefits like paid short- and long-term disability, including 12 weeks of maternity leave for the mother, 80 percent company paid health insurance, a 3 percent match IRA, and generous PTO. We take care of our colleagues because we want them to take care of each other and our clients. It has to start at the top.

Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.

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Our firm has opted to provide a substantial benefit program to our employees to retain talent, in addition to providing market-competitive compensation. It’s important to look at the full program offered employees and not just focus on cash compensation. Additionally, we offer incentives for enhanced professional credentials, which enables staff to improve skills and career designations. These tactics provide greater firm loyalty when hiring pressures enter the markets.

Julie Neitzel, partner, WE Family Offices

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We are always looking at opportunities where our employees can grow with us and so we will support and reward our employees fairly and through a number of programs we provide so that they can be successful in their lives at work and at home.

Gene Prescott, president and CEO, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

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A large portion of our business runs on commission, and so our situation is a little bit different. The commission structure lets our employees earn beyond their base wages and helps develop a sense of ownership and intrinsic motivation. Of course, we also strive to keep wages competitive for those employees who are not on the commission structure.

Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division

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My family company, Sportailor, is proud to be celebrating our 55th year in business. We have a large number of employees who have celebrated 30-plus years, and there are some celebrating 50-plus years. That says a lot about our company. We do not feel the pressures to raise wages. We have a very strong family business with a stronger working environment and values.

Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.

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At the Miami Heat organization, our talent is one of our strongest assets, so we recognize the importance of remaining competitive while rewarding strong performance. Each year, we evaluate wages and salaries to ensure our compensation framework is commensurate with experience, performance, cost of living and other market demand drivers.

Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena

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We increase wages every year consistent with the national average. We review our wages in comparison to the marketplace to ensure we remain competitive. Although we have not felt pressure to raise wages yet, we are finding it more difficult to identify experienced staff for specific departments. We may find wage pressure in the near future.

Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank

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We have been raising wages and benefits consistently and using bonuses more since the turn-around after the recession.

Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects

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THE MIAMI HERALD CEO ROUNDTABLE IS A WEEKLY FEATURE THAT APPEARS IN BUSINESS MONDAY OF THE MIAMI HERALD. RECENT QUESTIONS HAVE INCLUDED:

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