Staying ahead of compensation trends

As we round out 2014, compensation and benefit specialists should pay special attention to pay trends.

For example, according to a recent study by WorldatWork, base salaries will rise by 3.0% in 2015. Knowing the average will put you in a better position to determine whether your pay increases will meet, exceed, or lag behind the market.

There are other reasons to stay ahead of compensation trends. In a competitive hiring environment, the challenges of attracting strong candidates can be overwhelming. The ability to offer robust compensation benefits can make or break an offer to a candidate you’ve been wooing for weeks.

So what’s the best way for HR professionals to keep current with compensation and benefit trends?

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Research and more research!
The key principle behind staying ahead of any trend is research. It’s not enough to brush up on trends and information at the end of the year. Constant research and always knowing what’s happening in your industry is what’s required. I’ve seen many different trends come and go in just a 12-month period, and some have been good enough to stick around for much longer. Being the first on a trend will give your company an inside edge on attracting the best talent.

Use data to predict behaviors at your company
Understanding your own workforce and compensation trends will give you better insights into the employees who are being forgotten or left behind in pay raises, etc. Keeping on top of your own data will also help you to develop best compensation practices for your organization.

Stay active in compensation-related organizations
Another way to stay ahead of the trends in compensation is being directly involved in organizations that focus on compensation and benefits. Communities like WorldatWork promote compensation and benefits information and are filled with professionals just like you with whom you can grow. Professional groups can also provide mentors and a place to get good advice from other experts in the know.

Staying ahead of compensation trends is not for the faint of heart. Taking the time to stay ahead of the trends can be a challenge for HR professionals who may already be overworked or understaffed.

For best results, set a goal—whether it be once a week or twice a month—to read, network, and learn a little more about your industry. It’s hard work, but in the end it’ll help boost your career and your professional aspirations.

Stay on top of today’s compensation trends by following The Quarterly PayScale Index.

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