Skill-Based Pay Plans for Equipment Operators

Many cities, counties and other municipalities have experienced difficulty retaining skilled employees to operate heavy equipment.

It is widely known that untrained and unskilled operators increase contractors' overall costs due to improper use of equipment leading to equipment damage, downtime and safety hazards.

Research has indicated that employees respond to skill-based pay systems. An equipment operator Skill-based Pay Plan (SBPP) must be designed to increase the number of employees serving as skilled operators by motivating junior employees to seek higher-level positions and senior employees to remain in their positions. The plan must also seek to cross train employees.

Promotions can be based on more objective criteria than current practice. Written tests will help to confirm knowledge. Hands-on tests can confirm ability. The practical, hands-on testing can consist of the employee completing actual job tasks in his/her classification.

Click here to view a white paper that provides an overview of the elements of a skill-based pay plan.

Contact us for additional information

For more information about how to set up and maintain a skill-based pay plan, please contact us at 800-942-2886 or 262-514-2886, or send an e-mail message to

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VISTA skill based pay plans

Typical Results

A more structured approach to setting performance measures, assessing operator skills and pay levels can result in:

  • Decreased turnover of skilled operators
  • Increased productivity
  • Decreased absenteeism
  • Junior employees more motivated to seek higher-level positions