The Paducah chapter of the national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently hosted a Professional Development Day.

I took great pleasure in seeing so many non-HR managers in the room, talking and learning about the people side of their respective organizations.

I've written about this local group before, but let me repeat myself just a bit. I recommend without any hesitation that every organization which has more than two employees should have someone as a member of the Four Rivers SHRM.

By meeting with colleagues who deal with the employee issues of local businesses, you stay connected with what's happening in the community.

While some of the members are HR managers of mid-sized organizations, many are business managers who wear an HR hat only when necessary.

I urge someone in your organization to join the Four Rivers SHRM chapter. Check out their webpage at www.fourriversshrm.com.

Changing the subject, I have had several clients ask me about pay increases for 2020. This is the time of year when budgets are being developed and senior management is trying to predict personnel costs for the new year.

According to the Sept. 6 issue of The Kiplinger Letter, which publishes management forecasts for executives, inflation should increase slightly from today's value of 1.8 percent to 2.3 percent for 2020. Unemployment should stay under 4 percent, and interest rates should stay low until at least the end of the trade war.

All of this puts pressure on wages.

I continue to hear about organizations which protect their key people with bonuses: either directly tied to performance parameters stipulated in advance or discretionary in the amount and timing based on the owner's cash availability. Effective use of bonuses is a good and proper strategy.

But even if you only have a 2 percent pool of money for merit increases, you probably still want to give the better performers a larger increase than the lessor performers.

Randy Fox, SHRM, SCP, SPHR, is founder and senior partner of Capstone HR Services, Inc.

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