Sunday, May 17, 2009

Increase Your HR Salary by Thinking Outside the Box

Workplace NoteImage by Mike Licht, via Flickr

HR Manager Pay

Do you work in HR and feel underpaid?

Has your employer announced a wage freeze for this year?

Probably so!

Even if they haven't, if you are like most people, you are making less this year than you were in 2000.

From on Human Resources Salaries:

Annual salary rates for human resources workers vary according to occupation, level of
experience, training, location, and size of the firm, and whether they
are union members. Median annual earnings of human resources managers
were $59,000 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned between $43,600 and
$80,390.The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,360, and the
highest 10 percent earned more than $104,020.

Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of human resources managers in 2000 were:

Computer and data processing services$75,140
Telephone communication71,340
Local government61,730
Management and public relations57,240

As an HR professional, how can you go about making up the losses you have probably sustained over the last 24 months ? Remember we aren't just talking base salary here. You have to factor in lost bonus payments, your missing company 401k match. And that doesn't take your vastly diminished investment for retirement into account.

Here's a blueprint on how to use your HR skills to get those lost funds back, and maybe make even more.


1. Research - surf the net at work and start your plan by identifying some roles models. I suggest you consider Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski and Ken Lay as a good beginning.
2. Rationalize your actions - since you are going to have to sacrifice personal ethics to accomplish your objective.
3. Recognize the risks that you will be taking - but don't overlook the potential rewards


Working in Human Resources really provides a tremendous amount of opportunity for personal enrichment - once you get past inconvenient issues like company policy and concern for employees.

Don't let yourself be constrained by these kinds of things - it will limit your income opportunity! Now is the time for you to be totally selfish and focused on your own needs!

Getting started - Here are some suggestions to get you started on the path to getting back the money that you are owed!

Ways to Earn/Save $ Without Being Fired
  1. Be diligent about attending to personal needs at the office - if you poop at work, you immediately gain in several ways. I get paid about $650 a year for taking care of business at the office. Use this productivity tool to calculate your own workpoop rate. And this doesn't even count the flushed water and unused toilet paper savings!
  2. Enhance Employee Communication - announce twice a week town hall meetings with Human Resources and provide lunches - Cha-ching! - An instant $15 a week savings! ($750 annual savings)
  3. Meet with temporary staffing firms to assess their ability to service future hiring needs - if you live in a major metropolitan area, this should be good for 4-8 lunch meetings a month. Cha-ching! Another $720 a year
  4. Volunteer for community projects at work as often as possible. These things always have free lunches! It should be a literal piece of cake to attend five more free lunches a month. Cha-ching! 60 lunches = $450 annual savings.
  5. Organize monthly Blood Donation drives at work. They will give you free orange juice, free candy bars, and quite often throw in swag for the volunteers that include free restaurant coupons. This can easily be worth $10 a month or more. cha-ching! $120 annual savings.
These five steps should provide an annual "return" of $2,690. Throw in a cup of free coffee every day and some free pens taken home, and you just realized $3,000 a year in savings! That is a 5% return if you make $59,000 a year.

There are plenty of other opportunities to exploit if you are willing to be a human resources risk taker.

  • Recycling at work can provide some earning opportunity if you are willing to schlep the cans out of the building and to the recycling center.
  • Employee Discount Benefit Plans offer some interesting opportunities for those who are innovative about pricing. (and who accept only cash!)
  • Jobs for Sale - can generate huge earnings opportunities. Just ask Rod Blagojevich who said “I've got a f*cking gold mine here, and I'm not gonna let it go for f*cking nothing” — Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Of course, if you don't like these ideas, have a weak stomach or are maybe nervous about the legality - there are other things you can do:

  • Build your skills
  • Keep your nose to the proverbial grind stone
  • Build your network
  • Learn how to use social media!
  • Look for new opportunities - they are out there.
  • If you think you deserve a raise - ask for it! The worst they can do is tell you "No"
What are you doing to improve your earning potential this year? We'd really like to know! Tell us in the comments

Disclaimer: Most of the advice in this post is facetious and should not be taken seriously. You may find a little value in some of the links built into the story.

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  1. Imagine if you combined the cha-ching approach with the more mainstream ethical sound advice you offered. That could really skew the statistics!

  2. Karla - it is more difficult the immediate impact of making sound career investments in the short term. There is probably nothing more important over the long term.

  3. This was funny Michael! Good job!

    Looking forward,

  4. Thanks Michael. Sometimes looking at things with irreverence helps make a better point. It is sad we even have to think about such things, rather than being paid for performance though!

    -- Michael

  5. These are all good ideas. If you have a job that includes travel and you overlap a weekend trip because the airfare is cheaper, you get a day or two of vacation. That's a free trip to see a different city. How much does that save you? (Plenty.)

  6. @Laurie - I have done that vacation layover during travel thing many times. It is actually how Kyle and I dated for a year. I'd buy a 3 leg ticket to Tampa from wherever I was going and get a cheaper fare with the Saturday night layover in Florida than the round trip fare. The airlines have done away with that option now, but it was legal then, just like your suggestion is now!

    You are so smart!


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