Rockstar, or One-Hit Wonder?

Evan Rodd, PayScale

Many of us have dreamed of rock stardom—climbing on stage in front of an audience, and watching thousands of people sing along with us as we aggressively strum our guitar like Angus Young. There’s nothing like that level of recognition to get your adrenaline pumping, especially from a stadium full of people who are able to come together under the common bond of your awesome abilities.

This is the dream of many, but sadly only the reality for some. How many times have you heard a familiar song and thought, “what ever happened to so-and-so?” How many talented musicians lost sight of their true vision when fame came into the picture? They became so focused on the superfluous aspects of their profession that they lost focus and forgot what truly matters: the music! They hooked us with one great song, but it appears that was all they were capable of. They quickly decline, forever doomed to the confines of a VH1 special about one-hit wonders. Fame is a fickle thing, and if you don’t know your audience, they will leave you as quickly as they came.

Many of us think the rock star lifestyle is better left to Mick Jagger, but the same rules apply in most professional roles. If you are a leader in your company, you are a rockstar in your office. Admired by some, feared by others, and hopefully respected by all. Company meetings are essentially your concerts, and your employees want to be entertained and inspired. If you’re the lead singer of the band, your HR department is like the drummer—often overlooked, but an integral aspect of your day-to-day operations. Every song needs a great rhythm to hook listeners, just like every company needs a groovy compensation structure to secure valuable employees. 

Designing your compensation plan is similar to writing a hit record. Of course talent and vision are important, but you also need to know what your audience is listening to. If you secured a loyal fan base with catchy rock-pop, do you think they’ll stick around for your jazz-fusion phase? Probably not; they will move on to something better, just like key talent will move on if your compensation strategy can’t compete with the market.

Technology has allowed the modern musician to create and record like never before, and the same applies to compensation management. PayScale’s cloud compensation software is able to provide you with accurate, and fresh data to assure that you remain a rockstar in compensation. Products like PayScale Insight offer you a series of new reports to assure your pay structures are competitive with the market while satisfying the needs of key talent. In the midst of a quickly evolving economy, you can’t afford an out-of-date compensation plan. Music fans rely on new cloud-based technology to lead them to the next big thing, and you can rely on similar innovations to assure continued success for your company.

Maybe you’re already a rockstar, or maybe you’re still paying your dues in dive bars, hoping for your big break. No matter what, staying familiar with the market will only contribute to greater success. Rock on! 


More than 2,300 organizations use PayScale's subscription software to:

  • Allocate raises. PayScale Insight allows you to allocate raises based on employee performance and labor budget.
  • Attract talent. Price jobs based on your local market and competition.
  • Retain employees. Get pay right and show them how you did it. Your employees will be more satisfied to stay.
  • Drive performance. Get their salary right so they can focus on doing a good job.
  • Be confident. With know-how to talk about comp with anyone.

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