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Article | Beyond Data

3 ways the right compensation platform supports your strategic pay decisions

By Sambhav Rakyan and Jasbir Singh | June 6, 2023

Organizations that continue to manage their pay data on spreadsheets will find themselves challenged to make defensible rewards decisions.
Compensation Strategy & Design
Beyond Data

Competition for top talent continues to intensify around the world. Every organization wants to be an employer of choice while ensuring a return on talent investment and reducing spend. Given current global economic uncertainty, salary budgets are the No. 1 challenge in delivering effective pay for performance.

Also, "pay" is no longer about base salary alone. Most employers have at least a dozen factors to consider around pay decisions, including balancing volatile economic conditions against salary budgets, how to effectively compete for hot- and high-demand skills, and emerging regulatory requirements (i.e., pay transparency, disclosure, equity).

In addition, while organizations traditionally have taken an industry-focused approach to compensation benchmarking, a dramatically changed world requires a different approach to sourcing talent. Industry silos are falling, and compensation professionals must incorporate benchmark pay data across industries as well as consider broader, non-traditional market competitors.

Combined with an evolving business landscape, compensation professionals are under constant pressure to assemble pay data and identify trends faster than ever. This pressure can be eased, though, with a forward-thinking, technology-based approach.

Specifically, a single integrated compensation platform equips compensation professionals to be more efficient, consistent and proactive – which ultimately adds business value and ensures competitive, defensible pay decisions.


Compensation professionals regularly spend significant time assembling data and submitting it to relevant surveys. Keeping track of market data, benchmarking analyses and salary structures is an ongoing challenge in addition to a host of other compensation-related tasks.

Additionally, today's compensation and HR leaders are being called upon to provide deeper rewards insights to support critical talent acquisition strategies. Manual tasks and outdated technology actively work against a more strategic approach to compensation – and potentially leave organizations at a disadvantage in their effort to attract, retain and engage key business talent.

A well thought and developed compensation platform can help solve for these issues, from data gathering and submission through to deeper analyses and insights. The right solution:

  • Streamlines survey participation by increasing efficiency in data preparation
  • Increases automation of repetitive tasks
  • Supports multi-vendor/multi data-source market pricing
  • Facilitates exploration of market data to determine optimal match and scope choices
  • Leverages advanced technologies, such as machine learning, to increase accuracy of benchmarking
  • Stores historical survey data and benchmarking to enable comparative analytics and trending
  • Supports any selected approach to job leveling so it may underpin compensation program design
  • Models new and/or update existing salary structures using the latest market data
  • Models the cost impact of key compensation actions through bring-to-target and merit matrix analytics
  • Enables internal and external equity assessments
  • Enables automated data exchange with HRIS or other systems

And when compensation and HR professionals have the right solution to handle those aspects of the job, their time is free to focus on:

  • Closely reviewing pay data and workforce analytics
  • Staying current on wider market, industry and job trends
  • Determining pay differentiation for hot skills
  • Designing innovative, game-changing approaches to pay and rewards
  • Identifying compensation gaps and making fair pay decisions
  • Crafting effective pay transparency policies and communication frameworks
  • Delivering better snapshots, stories and insights to the business

Quality and accountability

Pay is highly personal and sensitive. Around the world, data privacy acts are further tightening security of this highly confidential information.

With half of organizations worldwide still managing their pay programs on spreadsheets, there is a vast opportunity for human error. Compensation managers typically mitigate these risks by using a standard versioning system and Excel macros. However, these processes typically are only known by – and therefore depend on – a small group of individuals, the members of which can change over time. In most cases, there isn't an effective process or useful documentation to help compensation professionals keep their workflow and tools consistent.

Errors and rework aren't just disruptive to the day-to-day productivity of compensation management, they also pose a major risk. Significant lapses in pay data management can lead to legal issues that can cost a business a lot of money as well as reputational damage. The simplest, most efficient way to increase accountability and efficiency in how pay data is handled is for compensation and HR managers need to move their data from outdated spreadsheets into a secure, cloud-based platform.

From a single interface, compensation professionals can control data access and track changes that specific users have made, no matter where they are in the world. This ensures consistency in the data being used and how it is used, thus preventing confusion, overwrites and errors. Furthermore, automating data management ensures internal quality control and business continuity.

Data security

Compensation data has the power to shape global job markets and business models. It holds the key to valuable insights into employee engagement and potential. In a competitive and volatile economy, employers need to be extra vigilant in protecting this confidential data. This starts by developing and supporting a cybersecurity-focused culture.

Most companies secure their pay data in password-protected spreadsheets. Traditionally, this has been effective … but, realistically, pay data isn’t always behind company firewalls. For example, during salary review cycles or when uploading to third-party interfaces, a lapse in data security practices could easily and quickly compromise data integrity and confidentiality. And with the increase in the number of people working remotely, many compensation managers do a lot of their work in spreadsheets at home or in other locations.

Security should be a priority for the entire leadership team, and a cybersecurity-focused culture should be supported with a holistic strategy that motivates employees to be part of the solution. Investing in an integrated compensation platform makes it easy for compensation and HR professionals to apply cyber hygiene habits when storing and protecting pay data.

Aside from not risking sensitive employee data and the company's reputation, there are additional benefits to a cloud-based solution:

  • Data can be accessed through a secure platform, with significant cost savings for data storage infrastructure and long-term maintenance
  • The platform's cybersecurity technology can be managed holistically and consistently
  • Compensation and HR managers can control who has access to the data, which parts of the data they can access and even when they can access the data

In addition to improving productivity, data quality and cybersecurity, the right compensation platform can give you access to high-quality data in a solution designed by experienced and trusted experts.


Global Business Leader, Rewards Data Intelligence

Managing Director, Rewards Data Intelligence

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