How Much Information Do You Want or Need?
You want to determine the appropriate compensation for a specific position or evaluate whether your company-wide compensation plan is competitive. Determining the best way to obtain this information really depends on how thorough you want or need to be.
EW provides two core options to meet this need of our clients, in addition to providing the California Labor Statistics information. First, we have a relationship with PayScale, to provide quick, position specific data. However, where more refined data is needed, or to evaluate company-wide total compensation (and board of directors), we provide much deeper compensation analysis services.
What’s the difference? A good way to describe this is to distinguish between technical knowledge and practical knowledge. As a prominent columnist recently noted, technical knowledge is the sort of information that can be put in a recipe in a cookbook. Practical knowledge is the rest of what the master chef actually knows: the habits, skills, intuitions and traditions of the craft. Practical knowledge exists only in use; it can be imparted but not taught.
Services like PayScale rely on information provided by individuals who input their position and compensation details, with no independent validation – the technical knowledge described above. The accuracy of the report will depend on the depth of individuals who have participated, and the geographic range the software reaches to obtain responsive data. For some areas, that can mean higher compensation regions are included in the report, skewing the data received. However, these services are extremely cost effective so can be a reasonable approach for some companies who want more general feedback.
A more thorough method is provided by EW through our Compensation Services, where our decades of practical knowledge are utilized. There are substantial differences in the scope of these services, including:
- We take a more holistic view, analyzing groups of positions (e.g. the executive team) or the whole company together so the client has a cohesive picture of their entire situation.
- We use relevant published compensation survey data that is carefully scrubbed by the organization performing the survey to ensure appropriate job matches; some surveys also indicate whether the match is less than, equal to or greater than the survey job so that more analysis can be performed.
- For executive compensation studies in the financial services industry and other industries with published data, we supplement survey data with proxy data based on a peer group of companies using company size and scope, as well as geographic parameters. Data can be collected for the CEO and CFO positions and, depending on the available information, for other executives as well. This data provides not only compensation data but also details on executive compensation plans and benefit plans (e.g. SERPS, Change in Control, Severance, etc.) if our client is interested in that analysis.
- We incorporate our decades of human resource/compensation experience to analyze the data we obtain to ensure that it makes sense, and then provide the client with a detailed comparison of base salary, incentives, and total cash compensation, in addition to other information for executives, such as equity and perquisites/executive benefits.
- The data is used to not only inform the client of where their compensation stands in relation to the market, but we also provide recommendations for salary actions/planning based on factors that are relevant to the client.
- For company-wide compensation studies, we utilize the market data to build salary structures, identify vulnerabilities within the company, develop compensation guidelines and assist in communicating the pay program.
- We also analyze positions as to their FLSA status (exempt/non-exempt).
- Board of Directors can also be evaluated for compensation, board responsibilities, and practices.
For more information about EW’s compensation services, either through PayScale or customized solutions, please contact us.