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Calculating the ROI on Compensation Software

No matter the size of your company, whether it is a 1000-person strong workforce or a company that is just starting out, compensation management is crucial for success. To ensure your employees’ needs and expectations are met, they must be rewarded fairly for their contributions to the business objectives. Compensation is an essential element in attracting and retaining top talent, and in achieving the strategic goals of a company. 

The need for tech in compensation management

When companies are small, say less than 50 employees, organizations tend to handle compensation manually using spreadsheets with reasonable accuracy and ease. According to Ventana, 35-40 percent of organizations use spreadsheets to manage their compensation. And with good reason. Spreadsheets are versatile tools and are effective for tracking, calculating, and charting the numbers. But, they lack the critical functionalities you need to effectively administer compensation.

As the workforce increase in size, compensation management becomes a strategic element for you to achieve your business objectives, and manually managing compensation may lead to disastrous results:

  • Expensive data entry errors 
  • Compliance issues
  • A lack of transparency
  • Workflows become inefficient
  • Difficulty in scaling operations
  • Not sufficiently empowering managers in compensation decisions

The risks of using spreadsheets for managing compensation planning are enough to inspire a search for something more efficient. Savvy HR leaders know that there are a lot of moving parts like commissions, bonuses, long-term incentives and organizations must go from a manual, tedious, and error-prone approach to more sophisticated ways and reap the many benefits compensation management tools offer.

A comprehensive compensation management system like Compport is built specifically to manage the entire process–from planning to budgeting to execution and communication–can save you significant time while increasing the accuracy and efficiency.  It helps HR leaders and compensation professionals manage ‘total rewards’ as a strategic enabler in their organizations. Further, Compport can:

  • Handle any compensation related complexity with ease and serve diverse needs in your organization
  • Link market data to compensation and rewards decisions to ensure pay equity across your organization.
  • Run multiple simulations, compare the budget impact, and chose the best-fit one
  • Ensure strong compensation governance
  • Access to real-time, multi-dimensional, and intuitive compensation, reward and benefit analytics, and reports
  • Empower managers to make informed rewards decisions
  • Make your compensation communication more efficient and effective and increase the perception of fairness

But, given HR is a non-revenue producing department, how do you justify the use of compensation software?

Calculating the ROI of compensation software

Return on investment (ROI) is a critical metric in the selection of any tool and compensation management is no different. We conducted a study with our existing customers to examine the value organizations realize by deploying Compport and to better understand the benefits and risks associated with using compensation management software in general. We aggregated the evidence and feedback from organizations of varying sizes, to create a financial model that justifies the benefits derived from such an investment.

We estimated an average of 

  • 40 times return on investment,
  • 90 percent resource efficiency, and 
  • 10 percent impact on turnover. 

Please note the numbers mentioned here were derived, as unbiasedly as possible, from Compport’s customers and might not accurately reflect the ROI your organization will realize. Use your own framework to estimate the ROI of an investment in either Compport or other compensation management software. 

You can calculate the estimated ROI for your organization by taking into account the costs and the benefits reaped. Add all your costs toward the software like set up fees, implementation charges, support, and maintenance fees. If there’s a steep learning curve, add labor hours to the cost as well. It’s important to calculate the entire value of the investment to truly reflect the ROI.

For calculating the return, consider the following factors:

Reduced turnover costs

When employees have more clarity and control around their compensation, using self-service portals it can increase job satisfaction and thus has an impact on the attrition. At least 40 percent of employees quit because they feel they are not paid fairly. With a tool like Compport, you can gain insights into pay gaps and inequities and take measures to fix them before they cause irreparable damage. And, reduced turnover means reduced hiring needs.

Employees who are satisfied in their current roles are likely to stick around and thus your retention rate will be high and you can save on hiring new employees as well as the cost of training them. A good way to go about this is to compare data from other companies in your industry.

Estimate the costs associated with interviews, onboarding, and training new hires.

Speed and agility in rewards processes

Manual work costs real dollars. Track the actual hours your team spends on reviewing compensation, calculating pay, delivering up to date job descriptions, updating employee information, onboarding, and convert that into its monetary equivalent.  You also need to consider peak months when audits are frequent and the benefits of using software tools are at their peak.

It can be daunting to keep track of the hours worked and can raise some eyebrows but explain the reasons behind this clearly so the people doing these manual work understand how much time they could save by automating the drudgery.

Compensation teams becoming less administrative and more strategic 

Try to figure out the efficiency in the workforce when you automate all the administrative tasks in managing compensation. Depending on the complexity of the compensation processes, automation may lead to optimization in the headcount in the HR Team and/or it can help you better utilize the intellectual resources that you have since you will be shifting from being administrative to strategic.    

Accountability and ownership 

If the compensation processes are not sufficiently automated, organizations tend to cascade compensation decisions to a certain level only, not whole levels of managers in the organization. This limits the empowerment of managers and the accountability & ownership around the rewards decisions. If an organization can not create ownership at all managers, there is only little chance to create full-understanding and trust among the employees with regards to their compensations. Automation can help you to give better experience to your managers and employees in any compensation processes, which would yield engagement/ productivity and performance benefits.

Whether it is sales incentive simulation or clarity on bonus calculation for non-sales, automation will enable it all with ease across the board. If a scheme is not working well, no one needs to wait for the end of the period – automation will make it quick and easy to change schemes on the fly.

Also, if your compensation technology is enabling you to effectively and efficiently communicate compensation and rewards decisions with your employees, this would surely contribute to the ‘fairness’ perception and increase the trust to compensation related decisions. If you can achieve this with the power of automation, this would bring more engagement, productivity and thus higher performance.

Closing thoughts

Add up all monetary and non-monetary values and divide that by the total costs incurred for implementing the software and you arrive at your estimated ROI. Extrapolate these numbers to future years to see how you can continuously derive benefit from using a compensation management tool. 

Given the business impacts at stake, organizations have a compelling business case for investing in a compensation management solution. With the right solution in place, HR teams can shift from a tactical approach to more strategic efforts, including improving the quality of manager decisions about compensation and refining and communicating compensation strategy.