Be a Unicorn. What Your Compensation Package Says About Your Business

It can be impossible for Human Resource pros to see things from an objective standpoint when we are so connected to the people and processes of our organizations. However, it’s critical to take a step back once in a while to view things from the perspective of employees and future hires. Compensation plays a major role here. The 2015 PayScale Compensation Best Practices Report revealed that a quarter of employers, “reported the inability to offer a competitive wage as a barrier to finding good people, which might explain why a whopping 78 percent claim to be only “somewhat” or “not at all” satisfied with their compensation structures.”

Today’s job seekers are a smart bunch. They are more apt to do a great deal of research on a company before taking the time to apply. Data on potential salary ranges and organization culture are readily available with just a few quick web inquiries. Things like corporate culture, compensation plans, and work life balance weigh heavily on their decision to pursue a career opportunity with a particular company—or move on to something better. PayScale’s 2015 CBPR uncovered that, “40 percent of employers either already have a transparent wage policy or ‘are working on’ one”, which signals that this is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Right now, if you were applying for a job at your company, what would you think about the compensation package offered? If you are not thrilled, then you can bet candidates aren’t impressed either.

What does it take to stand out as an employer of choice?

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An effective compensation structure takes into account a number of factors, including the region, the difficulty of the type of work, and the demand for skills and knowledge possessed by candidates. But a strong compensation plan is one that also considers what it means to stand out as a leading employer, where candidates can earn the maximum and enjoy perks that others dream about. Much like the elusive unicorn, an employer of choice stands alone, but has a powerful attraction that few can resist.

Developing a compensation structure that will attract the best candidates and retain your current workforce well into the future takes some effort. Here are some general guidelines for “being a unicorn”:

The One Thing—Consider how your business is unique or different in the industry. What one thing can you provide in your compensation package that no one else can touch? Think about the companies that are offering generous paid time off policies for new parents, or those that are actively helping their employees manage their finances by paying down student loans.

Be Competitive—If you want to be known for offering the best compensation package to employees, then position yourself as being the best. Do your homework and keep up with the latest in real-time salary data. Communicate, across all mediums, the value that employees have in the company and the efforts being made to give them something more.

Keep it Fair—Above all, use a consistent and fair compensation policy that applies to all groups of employees, job types and tasks. Link salary increases to performance metrics that are attainable. Employees can and will zero-in on anything unfair, like favoritism and poor management of performance, so keep a watchful eye on internal compensation activities. Don’t let grumbling get started.

Remember, a compensation package and the way it’s managed speaks volumes about your company. Use the above tips to improve the view of the organization from the inside out, and then leverage a stronger comp plan to recruit and retain the best workforce.


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