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The Beginner’s Guide to Compensation Management

The payday keeps us all looking forward to it, but it can be intense and distressing for the people processing your salary. If there’s something even more complicated than that, it’s planning and administering the equivalent financial value (called compensation) you provide in exchange for your employees’ work. 

Growing and large businesses need to come up with a process to ensure they offer fair compensation to all employees. They also need to analyze market trends, come up with creative perks and policies. That’s where compensation management comes into the picture.

What is compensation management?

Compensation management is the HR discipline that ensures that the company’s compensation, both monetary and non-monetary, are competitive, fair, and appropriate. It includes designing, implementing, and managing the compensation components that play an important factor in a prospective employee’s decision to join an organization.

The different types of compensation include:

  • Salary 
  • Overtime pay
  • Commission
  • Bonuses
  • Long-term incentives, equity awards
  • Several allowances
  • Health and life insurance
  • Vacation time
  • Retirement savings

Simply put, it’s how a company strategically manages employee compensation and its components so as to attract and retain good talent while staying within the budget.

Why is it important?

According to a study, 38 percent of the employees surveyed say inadequate salary and benefits are the main reason for them to hand over their resignation letters. And 57 percent report benefits and perk are at the top of their consideration factors before accepting a job offer.

Good compensation management is important for any business as it keeps employees happy and the business thriving. It gives candidates a good reason to join the company and existing employees a reason to stay. The organization benefits in several ways by compensation management:

  • It keeps the employees motivated and incentivized to offer their best work
  • Recognition and rewards have a positive impact on employee productivity and help reduce turnover rates
  • A competitive compensation package taking market trends into consideration attracts and retains top talent
  • It helps in creating a realistic budget
  • It reduces conflicts and disputes and creates organizational harmony
  •  
  • The 4 main objectives of compensation management

The main objectives of compensation management are to ensure pay equity, reward productive employees, retain employees, and comply with legal requirements.

Equity 

A transparent, well-structured compensation management plan ensures pay equity and there are no wage gaps based on gender, ethnicity, or race.

Rewards and recognition

Employees need to be motivated and incentivized to take on challenges and perform better. They also need to feel valued and their contributions acknowledged to address their psychological and social needs.

Attraction and Retention

Employees are the most valuable resources for any company. Effective compensation, based on the performance, potential, and qualifications, should be administered so employees don’t feel compelled to leave the organization based on monetary factors alone. Also, it needs to be competitive enough to attract top talent.

Legality

A good compensation management system considers legal challenges and governmental regulations and ensures that proper compliance requirements are met.

Challenges in compensation management

Designing a fair compensation plan that accurately reflects an employee’s worth is a challenge by itself. Apart from that, HR professionals are faced with several other challenges:

Disparity with employee expectations

The biggest challenge in compensating employees is achieving fairness. Organizations seek to optimize their costs as they can. But, employees want the best compensation possible, either adequate or higher than some comparable standard. 

Fairness is a subjective term. What the organization deems appropriate and fair might not seem like equivalent remuneration to employees for their time and work. Because of this perceived imbalance, both parties will act to correct this disparity.

Keeping up with market trends

Another challenge of compensation management is keeping up with market trends and coming up with a competitive pay structure for the multitude of roles in the organization. You need to make informed decisions based on the salary market data, location, industry, and company size.

Growing employee needs 

It may be surprising to someone from a previous generation that the current workforce seldom gets any pension. 90 percent of millennial employees reported in a survey that they prefer additional benefits and perks over a pay raise.

The needs of employees have evolved over the years and HR professionals need to come up with creative policies and perks, sometimes offering tailor-made packages to meet employee needs. Some of the most common benefits these days are unlimited vacation days, child daycare, flexible work hours, and well-being benefits.

The components of a solid compensation management plan

Your strategy should serve as a guide toward fair and transparent compensation payments. A proper plan should Some of the elements used to decide how much compensation every employee receives are:

Pay structure 

HR professionals use specific approaches when coming up with compensation for a particular role. Sometimes it involves creating pay grades, based on complexity and scope of the job, qualifications and experiences required. It’s also a common practice to enforce step increments that act as markers for salary increments. They decide on the base salary, bonuses and commissions, if applicable, equity in the company stocks, and other non-monetary perks.

Salary statistics

Once the pay structure is complete, you need to gather data to see competitors in the same industry are paying their employees. You need to consider the average salary, cost of living in the location, inflation statistics, and more. This justifies to the management and the employees why they’re paying the compensation they get.

Job evaluation 

You’ve got the foundation of your compensation management plan ready now. You need to analyze the roles and responsibilities of the different job roles in your organization to narrow down suitable compensation for each role.

Job description

The job description not only shows the tasks that are expected of an employee, but also denotes the level of difficulty and the uniqueness of a specific role. This forms the why behind your employees getting a certain compensation for the work they do.

Best practices to manage an effective compensation strategy

Compensation management should follow a scientific, structured approach for it to achieve its objectives. It should be fair and transparent. 

Allocate proper budget

Your compensation budget needs to be in line with the organizational strategy and vision. The budget determines how much of the total compensation budget will be spent on salary and what percentage will be spent on benefits and other incentives.

Develop salary ranges

With the compensation plan in place, you need to come up with upper and lower limits for salaries to get a competitive edge.

Ensure legal compliance

Some countries have minimum wage laws and you need to make sure that your pay structure meets such governmental requirements.

Use the necessary tools

If your business is small and you have less than 10 employees, it doesn’t pose a huge challenge. You could use spreadsheets to track the different aspects of compensation. As your workforce grows, it becomes less efficient. You’ll have to use total compensation management software like Compport to help you with budgeting and compliance.

Document your compensation strategy

The strategy serves as a guide and should be outlined in a written document that clearly articulates the organization’s approach to managing employee compensation.

Review the plan regularly

A compensation plan is not set in stone. You need to go back to it once in a while to make sure it reflects the current market trends. The goal of the audit is to pay attention to market changes, how competitive some jobs are, and what external markets are demanding.

How can Compport help you?

The abstract concept of compensation management is not a challenging one; its successful implementation, on the other hand, is a different hurdle. 

Designing, managing, and monitoring compensation plans can be a complex and time-consuming HR activity. You need to analyze pay scale data, keep up with workforce trends, optimize your budget, understand the expectations of your workforce and come up with unique selling points for your organization. Managing each aspect manually is practically impossible. That’s why you need compensation management tools like Compport.It can help with automating salary review, bonus, sales incentive and long-term incentive processes aligned with your compensation policy and budget. The software is designed to give HR professionals a 360-degree view of employee data needed to make smarter and data-driven decisions. It can help you to reduce your overall time-to-process by 95 percent. Get your free demo today and see the difference it can bring to your organization.