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So, I Benchmarked My Cat

Mykkahs cat
Mykkah Herner, MA, CCP, Compensation Consultant at PayScale.com

Benchmarking is Serious Business

The job of benchmarking positions is very serious business. I always want to make sure I get the best and most relevant information about every position in a client’s organization so I can make sure I’m making an apples-to-apples comparison with positions in the market. Such is my dedication to benchmarking that I found myself dreaming about benchmarking one job in particular… my cat’s position. Yes, in my now-recurring dream, my cat is in my face, meowing fervently as she expects (demands actually) accurate compensation, right away, for her position. 

I decided that, in order to end the cycle, I actually had to match her job to the market.

How do I match a job for a cat?

I started benchmarking my cat’s job by identifying the appropriate title. In order to match her title, I need to know a couple of things:

  • What are the top 3-5 tasks for which she is responsible?
  • What level of the organization is she? Generally speaking, depending on the organization, VPs operate on the strategic level, without really getting into the implementation of that strategy. Directors think strategically, and then begin to translate that strategy into implementation. The manager implements strategy that has been decided on by a higher level. Supervisors oversee direct workers. And Workers get the job done. Obviously the titles don’t always align exactly with the type of work being performed, but it’s helpful to be able to differentiate the level.

My cat is definitely at the Director level. She is in charge of the household, but also isn’t afraid of getting her paws dirty.

Being a Cat 

Next, I needed to focus in on the specific skills and experience required of my cat.

  • How much experience would the typical cat need to have in order to be as good as my cat at waking me up in the middle of the night? My cat has 13 years of experience, but is that what the average cat would need? I suspect that the average cat could actually gain full proficiency in cat-like running of the house within about 4-5 years, so my cat is ahead of the curve. As such, I would expect her compensation to be higher than is typical; she’d be at the top of the range.
  • What are my cat’s top 5-7 skills – or rather, what are the typical cat’s top 5-7 skills, required to be a good, well-performing cat? It may be that my cat excels at kneading with all four paws at once, however is that particular skill required in her role?
  • Is there any formal training required in order to perform the cat role? I suppose it’s true that some cats do require training, but I think the typical cat is able to be a cat without formal training.

Examining the results

Determined to compensate my cat appropriately, I decided to use the PayScale Insight software to calculate the appropriate compensation for my cat.  

I plugged in all the appropriate details:

Report
The market shows that, benchmarked as such, my cat should be earning in the neighborhood of $25K annually! I added up all the monetary rewards my cat earns, and it turns out that I am seriously undercompensating my cat. I do give her plenty of non-cash rewards – attention, love, affection – however as a comp expert, I know that unless she feels that she is compensated fairly relative to the market, she will continue to feel undervalued. I plan to go home tonight with a brand new scratcher for her, and maybe a can of wet food, so that she knows I value her contributions to our household organization. Now maybe I can get a solid night’s sleep!

 

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