Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Enhanced data import for MY ORGANIZATION data

Based on feedback from you, our subscribers, we’re enhancing the data import tool for importing internal pay range, job and employee information. The new process is easier to use and provides more control over how the data is imported. The new tool will be released the week of May 29th. You will receive an e-mail announcement describing the changes.

The new tool includes a new data import template with many new fields including:

Unprotected sheets to make editing easier
Smaller file size for quicker downloading
New fields added for My Jobs:
- New Job flag
- Job Family / Group 2
- Job Family / Group 3
- Skill level
- Cost center
- Incentive Plan Name / Code
- Short-term Incentive Minimum % Payout
- Short-term Incentive Target % Payout
- Short-term Incentive Maximum % Payout
- Long-term Incentive Minimum % Payout
- Long-term Incentive Target % Payout
- Long-term Incentive Maximum % Payout
- Total Direct Compensation Minimum % Payout
- Total Direct Compensation Target % Payout
- Total Direct Compensation Maximum % Payout

We are also making a small change in the survey import template to clarified field labels in the Long Term Incentive Percentages section.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Major upgrade to MY MATCHES table

NEXTCOMP.NET is pleased to announce a major upgrade to one of our primary market pricing tools. The MY MATCHES table has undergone a complete overhaul to completely enhance the functionality of this important tool. Here are four of the key changes:

  • Ability to edit match information directly in the table

  • Ability to configure the table with the fields that you want

  • Ability to export the matches directly to Excel

  • Ability to instantly see the survey job summary when hovering over the survey job title

  • There are more cool features as well. Take a look at the new Flash demo on our website at NEXTCOMP.NET - Demos to see the new table in action.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006


    Interesting NPR Radio story

    As a compensation person I tend to pick up on news stories related to, well, compensation. Here's one from NPR this morning that discusses why having a college degree doesn't necessarily guarantee a high paying job. But the reporting does make clear that having a college degree, at least 75% of the time, does mean being paid more than not having a degree.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006


    8th Baseball Game

    We’re doing great at baseball. We’ve switched to playing with the “Babe’s” rules: 3 strikes and your out, 3 outs in an inning. We had a few glitches. Like yours truly not realizing that there was a six run mercy limit in an inning. I think we ran through our entire line-up twice. Oops. Well the next game we had it figured out. The kids actually seem to like the change. It’s a faster paced game, except that there are six innings, so the games last for two hours. Oh man, we’re beat by the end of the game. We had our eighth game yesterday. Here’s my son Caelan. He looks good in the gear!

    The upcoming week is an exciting one at NextComp. We’re releasing the new “My Matches” table, complete with an online Flash tutorial. There are a lot of new features so look for an upcoming post this week plus an e-mail announcement.

    Friday, May 19, 2006


    Changes in compensation at Microsoft

    Microsoft announced several significant changes to their compensation and work life packages. Microsoft is facing the same issues that are affecting business everywhere. Here's a link to an article in the Seattle Times about the changes. I find it interesting that most of the changes are related to performance evaluations and work life balance. Living so close to Microsoft I know quite a few people in my neighborhood that work at Microsoft. Their biggest complaints have always been mostly about work life balance. I guess it's no coincidence that many of the topics at this year's WorldatWork conference and GPN Leadership conference were about work life. The workplace continues to evolve as the baby boomers near retirement, a new generation enters the workforce, and the labor market continues to tighten. It should be interesting to see how all this plays out over the next few years. What is your organization doing to enhance work life balance?

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006


    Winner of $100 Starbucks gift card

    Congratulations to Tallal Elboushi, Director, Total Rewards at Triad Financial Corporation. Tallal is the winner of the drawing for the $100 Starbucks gift card that we held at our WorldatWork Exposition booth last week. We'll be mailing the gift this week. Thank you to everyone that stopped by our booth!

    See you next year in Orlando, we're booth number 438. Yes, we already have our spot picked out. It's good to plan ahead.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006


    Meet me in Second Life

    I’m back in beautiful green Seattle. I enjoyed LA, but there’s no place like home.

    I caught up on some reading on the plane home. One article in particular really sparked my imagination. The cover story from the May 1st edition of Businessweek is about virtual worlds and online communities. No, that's not me in the picture. It's the author of the article in Businessweek. Now, this isn’t like the virtual worlds promised in the mid 90’s where you would be totally immersed in a computer generated 3D environment. Nor is it like the Matrix movies. The article focuses on the “game” Second Life, although it’s more of a virtual world than a game. Here’s a quote from the article,

    “After all my travels around Second Life, it's becoming apparent that virtual worlds, most of all this one, tap into something very powerful: the talent and hard work of everyone inside. Residents spend a quarter of the time they're logged in, a total of nearly 23,000 hours a day, creating things that become part of the world, available to everyone else. It would take a paid 4,100-person software team to do all that, says Linden Lab. Assuming those programmers make about $100,000 a year, that would be $410 million worth of free work over a year…

    Whether or not their more fantastic possibilities pan out, it seems abundantly clear that virtual worlds offer a way of testing new ideas like this more freely than ever.”

    Robert D. Hof
    Business Week, May 1, 2006

    What strikes me most of all about this story is the possibility of extending our conventional ideas of collaboration. We think of phone calls, e-mails, instant messaging, and face-to-face meetings all as methods of collaboration. Most recently we have blogs, podcasts and MySpace as methods of connecting with other people around the planet. These latest methods of communication are only now beginning to be seen as legitimate tools for business. Blogs are springing up so fast that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 million of them now, with millions more coming online every month.

    But Second Life is something different. It is a place. Sure it’s a virtual place, but it is still a place where people can meet and collaborate. They can play, build, share, buy and sell. What about training? What about meetings online, instead of webex? Everyone’s avatar (online virtual self) meets in Second Life rather than on the phone and browser.

    Maybe that’s a stretch right now, but I think this is where we’re headed. What do you think?

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006


    Great Booth Traffic and Dinner in Downtown Disney

    Yesterday was a great day in the exhibit hall. We've collected over 100 business cards from interested organizations. If we can generate a dozen good leads from the show then it was a worthwhile trip. Of course, the other great thing about the WorldatWork show is seeing all our friends from around the country. We met some new people from a company called PayScale. They have a new approach to collecting compensation data. I visited for a bit with Leigh Culpepper, President and CEO of Culpepper and Associates. We had a great discussion on the future of salary surveys. In talking with other organizations on the show floor the trend seems to be moving toward more seamless integration of the survey data with other systems, like NextComp, using XML web services. This would come as a welcome new method of distributing survey data. France Lampron, CEO of Nuvosoft and Jill Vaslow, Manager of Compensation at Nintendo of America presented a very well recieved session on real-time compensation management. The other hot topic this year is global compensation. This is the first year in the history of the conference that a representative from China presented. I think this trend will only continue as the economy in China continues to evolve. After the conference closed, Bob and I wanted to go ride the roller coaster in California Adventure, but the park was closed at 7:00 PM! Bummer, so we headed over to Downtown Disney for dinner at the Jazz Kitchen instead.The decor of the restaurant made me feel like I was back in the New Orleans French Quarter, only it was cleaner and brighter in Downtown Disney.
    The food was excellent and there was a jazz pianist to complete the scene. After dinner we went to ESPN Zone, which gave both Dad and me a sensory overload. It was wild, especially since it was 9:00 PM and there were little kids there playing video games (I mean like 3 and 4 year olds). But it's Disneyland after all. You've got to get your money's worth in entertainment. We ended the evening visiting with our friends from WorldatWork. We ran into several people involved with the WorldatWork Group Partnership Network. We had a fun and lively discussion. They were impressed that Bob was hanging out and going on this trip. Thanks Dad! It's great to have you here in Anaheim. One more thing I found out yesterday, Ryan Johnson with WorldatWork has a blog. You have to be a WorldatWork member to view the blog, but it's an entertaining log of Ryan's travels and work. Check it out. More to come tomorrow once I return home from the conference.

    Oh yeah, here is a picture of what has to be the world's largest Lego Batman!

    Here are some more pictures from the Jazz Kitchen.

    Monday, May 08, 2006


    WorldatWork Booth Setup and Fireworks at Disneyland

    We arrived safe and sound in Anaheim for the WorldatWork conference and exposition. We had just enough time to setup the booth before the doors opened to the exhibit hall. Our booth looks great, although it takes a couple hours for all the wrinkles to relax. We use the booth once or twice a year so it stays rolled up for most of the rest of the year.
    We had a nice reunion with our friends from Nuvosoft. We met their new VP, Sales, Joe Gormley. He is a great guy and a great addition to the Nuvosoft team. And we are all signed up for next year's booth in Orlando, FL. That will be a fun trip. My wife and I will have to figure out how to take the kids on that one.
    After the expo hall closed, I joined some friends and work collegues from Seattle for dinner at the House Of Blues in Disney Town. After dinner we had a chance to see the nightly fireworks. No, Disneyland is not on fire as it looks like in my picture. I decided against bringning the nice digital camera, so I'm using my cell camera. The show was great.

    Off to another day in the expo hall meeting new people and catching up with existing friends.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006


    5th Baseball Game

    The Purple Dragons played their 5th game on Saturday. The kids really are having a fun time with Mickey's Little League play. Although, we are switching to Babe's rules next game. The Mickey's don't have strikeouts and they get 7 machine pitches then they get to hit off the tee. Babes have three strikes and you're out with no tee. I'm not sure how I feel about that for 6 and 7 year old players. The kids sometimes have hurt feelings when they get out at base, so I'm sure they will have hurt feelings with three strikes and you're out. But I guess that is part of learning the game.

    Saturday, May 06, 2006


    New FLASH demo available

    In preparation for the WorldatWork show next week, we've created a short 3 1/2 minute FLASH demo.

    The demo shows the work flow for pricing a new job in NEXTCOMP.NET.

    Visit the NEXTCOMP.NET Demos page to view the Flash demo

    We're off to Anaheim for the WorldatWork Expo. We're taking the digital camera so we can post updates throughout the exposition.