The Toledo Museum of Art seeks to become the employer of choice in the Museum field, and part of being an employer of choice is offering competitive compensation. Our commitment to competitive compensation is not only the right thing to do; it also demonstrates our care for our staff. We want our staff to grow, to feel they are being treated fairly, and to experience a sense of belonging.
Attractive compensation helps the Museum recruit and retain top talent, but it also has a profound impact on employee wellbeing. We believe strongly at TMA in supporting our staff holistically, and it is our belief that generous compensation provides both a measure of personal success and helps alleviate stress outside of the workplace. Greater compensation contributes to a greater sense of satisfaction.
Competitive compensation brings with it an expectation of competitive performance. When you work at the Toledo Museum of Art, you believe strongly and passionately in our mission—"to integrate art into the lives of people”—and in our strategic plan, which articulates how we will fulfill that mission. High performance matters because, without it, we will not achieve our goals and fully and truly integrate art into the lives of people. That TMA’s vision—to become the model art museum in the United States—was set in consultation with our staff is proof that our team is motivated to perform at the highest levels.
We believe that aiming for high performance is not about applying pressure that induces stress. High performance is a motivating force that brings out the best in us; it generates strong results, which in turn generates excitement. This virtuous feedback cycle creates a culture that values continual learning, growth, and impact. We are a non-profit committed to the public good, but we are also committed to high performance because generating results supports a sense of ongoing pride and wellbeing.
What We’re Trying to Accomplish
The Toledo Museum of Art previously sought the “median” salary (i.e., the 50th percentile, or “P50”) as its goal for each role across the Museum. Even so, in 2020 nearly 80% of positions at TMA were paid below the median salary for that role (see section below). In 2021, we brought everyone to P50, and those already at P50 were given a cost-of-living adjustment; additionally, every staff member received a bonus.
However, if TMA’s staff is above-average and our staff expects to deliver above-average results, then we must exceed the median pay. We seek to pay our staff at the 55th percentile in 2022 with growth thereafter as performance allows.
We want to incentivize behavior that aligns with our values—diversity, innovation, community, and trust. We want to incentivize performance that goes above and beyond. We believe that compensation is a tool that can contribute to the execution of our strategic plan.
For these reasons, we will give bonuses to those who support our strategy through their work, whether within departments or as part of agile teams, when financial performance permits. For department work, bonuses will be paid to individuals who regularly exceed expectations as determined by department managers and as measured through a revised performance management system, which will be introduced in 2022. For agile work, project teams, project leads, program leads, and objective leads will receive bonuses in relation to project completion and efficiency of completion. The precise formula for bonuses will vary year by year depending on overall Museum and individual team performance. That formula will be communicated annually but in no event shall exceed 10% of an employee’s base salary.
How We Benchmark Salaries
We understand that benchmark data is by definition historical, whereas salaries are dynamic. By committing to increasing the percentile at which we pay across the Board and providing a target range for compensation (up to 110% of the 55th percentile), we believe we can outpace market wage growth in the museum sector.
TMA benchmarks salaries by looking at each position for which there is data from up to three different types of markets:
- Data on salaries from the Midwest (with a preference for data from Toledo, where available)
- Data on salaries from non-profits
- Data on salaries from museums
TMA bases its salaries on data procured by a third-party expert, Findley (a national firm with a large Toledo office). Findley procured salary data for museums, non-profits, and Midwestern/Toledo business from four surveys undertaken by the organizations listed below:
- Bluewater Nonprofit Organizations Salary and Benefits Report
- Association of Art Museum Directors Salary Survey
- Quatt North American Museum and Cultural Institution Compensation Survey
- CompAnalyst Compensation Survey
Every applicable position was benchmarked against these surveys. Where a position is listed in multiple surveys, an average was taken.
 Pay percentiles are determined based on pay bands that were created by our Director of Human Resources in consultation with an independent third party, Findley (the same firm that did overall salary benchmarking—see below). These pay bands will be published alongside this strategy. Someone will be considered appropriately compensated if they are paid between 90% and 110% of the targeted percentile. For example, if the 55th percentile of someone’s pay band is $50,000, a compensation range between $45,000 and $55,000 will be considered appropriate; this variance allows for the Museum to align compensation with both experience and performance.