Anyone who has navigated from manual compensation planning to specialist technology knows that it involves some change management, leadership support and a little finesse—but the outcomes are well worth the effort.
So, how do you make the move from where you are now to where you want to be? We asked three compensation professionals to share their stories, best practices and results.
Here’s what we learned.
1. Charles Landry, Global Head of Compensation
- Deltek (software provider)
- 35,000 employees in 15 countries
Before specialist technology, Landry and team had a very manual process that involved gathering data, producing complex spreadsheets, and generating letters via mail merge. Not only did these manual processes drain staff productivity, but, they also took a toll on data integrity. Version tracking was challenging, at best, and effective budget management was near impossible without one comprehensive, big-picture view of what was happening.
Something had to change.
Because the cost of specialist technology is modest, and the return on investment is high, it was easy to create a compelling business case, and get executive commitment for the initiative. But, beyond choosing the right technology provider, Landry knew that the biggest part of a successful transition was spending time getting users prepared for the change.
“We spent a lot of time communicating with our users, highlighting the benefits for them—from the solution’s easy-of-use, to the data they could access, to the fact that it simplified collaboration,” Landry says. “We also created a strong support system for them. They could reach out to my team if they ran into issues, and we also trained our HR business partners on the software, so they could assist, as well. By giving our users a strong safety net, we made the change less daunting.”
Since implementing the specialist technology, Landry and team have realized some significant results:
- Reduced time spent on manual processes.
- Automated letter generation.
- Enabled proactive budget management.
- Increased visibility.
- Improved stakeholder collaboration for better pay decisions and planning
“My team has more time to focus on strategic work that provides more value. They have more time to analyze data, to identify potential gender pay issues, to make sure we’re rewarding our top talent,” Landry says. “It has enabled us to do more things that really drive the business.”
2. Fiona McIver, Reward Director for the UK and Ireland
- Equans (Part of the ENGIE Group specializing in Facilities Management, Energy Efficiency and Services)
- 14,000 employees in the UK and Ireland
- 74,000 employees in 17 countries
Although Equans had been using an online solution for salary review, it was extremely unstable and unreliable.
“It wasn’t able to access at multiple points without falling over, and sending out email with salary amounts required this horrific mail merge process,” McIver shares.
The system also didn’t have the controls the company needed—to the point where entire salary files could be accidently deleted. In time, the technology became more of a risk than an asset.
McIver and team put together an RFP and looked at a number of companies, and ultimately, chose CURO’s specialist technology offering.
“It was so much more flexible than the other contenders, and we can do the mail straight out via email, which was one of the real key issues for us,” McIver says. “The week before we went live, our executive management team redesigned our entire bonus structure, and the system was able to cope with that incredible quickly. That just wouldn’t have been possible with the old system.“
Now, three years later, she and her team are still raving fans.
“I love the graphs, and just being able to play around and look at the different manager spend—that’s a powerful tool. Our HR partners can deep dive in and produce all of their reports. And, the fact you can engage with everyone on the system is really fantastic,” McIver says. “It works so perfectly that people forget how horrible it was before we had this wonderful system.”
3. Brandon Adams, Head of Compensation, Benefits and HRIS
- Xperi Corporation (Technology Developer)
- 2,000 employees in 18 countries
Although Xperi had a system in place, it just couldn’t keep pace with the company’s needs. Bonus awards and equity awards had to be processed separately, because the solution didn’t have the capacity to handle both. Adams and team also had to create multiple types of worksheets within the tool just to get things done, and spend time engineering the uploads just to get the right output. Nothing was truly automatic, or easy.
“When you have reward split up amongst Excel versus a tool, and your leaders are telling you, ‘I want to be able to see everything so I can make a decision,’ it makes it difficult when your answer to their problem is, ‘The system can’t do it’,” shares Adams. “That was the tipping point and reason we knew we needed to make a change.”
With approval from his boss, Adams began holding focus groups with his users to understand the problems they were having, where the bottlenecks were, and if they needed to start looking for another tool.
“Having that level of transparency with our leaders and engaging them in the discovery process and RFP process, and also bringing our IT department into the loop, really helped buy-in, and let everyone know that their needs were heard,” Adams says. “It was a lot of work upfront, but I’m really happy with the outcome of all of it.”
Some of the top improvements since implementation include:
- Having a single system to manage both the bonus and equity allocations to the pay cycle
- More efficient budget management
- Automated letter regeneration when changes are made
- Manager visibility into what is being submitted in near real-time
- Improved collaboration
“It was the first time we had the ability to fully manage budgets outside of the spreadsheets. That was a real game changer for us,” Adams says. “The visibility the managers have, and the fact that we don’t have to sit there and regenerate letters are all key. I could go on and on about the improvements we’ve seen.”
Keeping pace with the challenges of a post-pandemic world
By anyone’s standards, the post-pandemic world has brought new complexities to compliance management, from remote and hybrid work models with different compensation plans, to the rise of skills-based pay, to a trend toward more personalized plans to attract and retain talent in a highly competitive market.
According to our compensation experts, having a specialist technology that can accommodate all of these changes is critical.
“In my career, compensation has never been more under the microscope. There’s the Great Resignation, pay transparency, gender pay gaps and just a lot of complex compensation topics that we have to address right now,” Landry of Deltek explains. “The right specialist technology helps you pull all of that relevant data together, and have collaborative discussions, so you can make informed pay decisions. I can’t imagine navigating all of this without it.”
Having a solution with agility, flexibility and performance is key at a time when every moment counts.
“The interesting question around having a remote workforce is what does it mean for us and market pay data?” McIver of Equans says. “With the right tool, you can run an ‘if/then’ equation very easily, and see what it looks like to compare where the work is located to where their homes are located, and quickly recalibrate that in near real time.”
There’s a need for accuracy, simplicity and speed.
“In this environment, where you have so many people dispersed all over the globe, to be able to have something that’s very succinct, that can be easily accessed, that enables everyone to provide their input into the tool is vital,” Adams of Xperi shares.
In short, with the right specialist technology tools, compensation managers can be ready for anything, and move as quickly as the market changes.
Watch the full video here.