How to Get HR and Managers Get On the Same Page About Pay

Creating and updating job descriptions is an important part of an HR professional’s job. Having a clear understanding of your jobs has an impact on almost all HR initiatives. It matters for recruiting, making pay decisions, motivating employees, retaining talent and keeping your organization out of legal troubles.

Aside from the employee themselves, managers have the most visibility into how jobs are changing over time. But it can be incredibly time-consuming for HR to work with managers to get this knowledge. We’ve heard HR professionals tell us that they’ve spent countless hours going back and forth with managers, via email and in meetings, for both parties to get on the same page about the jobs and the pay.  

This situation can feel overwhelming, especially in today’s market where job, skills and responsibilities are constantly growing and changing. Yet, HR professionals can’t afford not to deal with this. If you’re not on the same page as your managers about what a job is about and what the pay should be for the role, you are putting all of your other HR initiatives at risk. Consider how job descriptions affect each area of HR:

1. Recruiting the right people 

In most organizations, total human capital costs average nearly 70 % of total operating expenses, making this the single biggest operating expense. Without accurate job descriptions, you may not be able to attract the right candidates. Also, if you and your managers aren’t on the same page about the skills and level of experience required for a job, you might get the salary range of the job “wrong” and qualified candidates may reject your offer.

Lastly, if you don’t ensure that the skills listed in a job are really the ones needed to succeed in the role, you risk making bad hires. According to a survey by Robert Half, 36% of of 1,400 executives felt the top factor leading to a failed hire, aside from performance issues, is a poor skills match. The second most common reason, at 30%, was unclear performance objectives.

2. making confident pay decisions

To price your jobs competitively, you’ll need to know the compensable factors — or skills that affect pay — for the job, which should be listed in your job description. Benchmarking, grading, leveling jobs, requires a clear understanding of the work people do. Remember, inaccurate job descriptions will get you inaccurate results when you price your jobs.

In this tight labor market where top employees have many choices, a 5% salary underpayment may be enough to send your key talent to the competition.

3. creating an equitable salary structure 

To get employees to invest in your organization, they need to feel that they are paid fairly and equitably. They also want to see that there are clear career paths within the organization. Having a clear understanding of all roles is essential if you want to create a career ladder and peg compensation ranges to levels / grades.

To create career ladders, you’ll need to organize jobs into families/subfamilies, create a level/grade structure and share this information with employees so that they’re aware of their career paths.   

4. evaluating employee performance

For employees to be engaged, they need to be successful in their role. Accurate and detailed job descriptions help describe that success, and have an impact on employees’ ability to succeed in their role. Additionally, if your job descriptions include the “right” or most “current” skills, they can help you identify any gaps in skills that may exist within employees. When you know the gaps and provide the training, you can move the needle on employee productivity and performance.

5. Compliance: FLSA, ADA, Fair Pay Act  

Accurate job descriptions will ensure you cover your legal basis. They are are essential when providing proof of compliance with EEOC guidelines, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Pay Act.

Job Collaboration Helps Managers and HR get on the same page

To get pay right, HR and managers have to work together to create and update the jobs and make the comp decisions.   

Today, PayScale is introducing Job Collaboration – a new tool to help HR and managers collaborate on the core factors in a job description that drive compensation, so organizations can make confident pay decisions every time, and do it faster.  

Managers can use the tool to share feedback with HR and give input on how each job is defined, resulting in attracting and retaining the right people on their team. Managers can provide feedback through comments or add skills, certifications, years of experience about their employees’ pay and jobs so that HR can incorporate their feedback when making pay decisions.

Through this tool, managers get insights into market data and a company’s internal compensation structure, so that they can buy into your comp plan and have more fruitful pay conversations with employees.

If you’re in HR, it means that you no longer have to chase down managers via email to gain feedback on jobs, or sit in meeting after meeting with managers to review dozens or hundreds of job details. 

The Job collaboration feature is included with Insight Lab, PayScale’s comp management platform. Through Insight Lab, HR can send managers jobs to review and provide feedback.  


Insight Lab job feedback

“PayScale allowed me to eliminate time consuming meetings with managers to set pay ranges and, instead… discuss what really matters: paying employees fairly and competitively. Job Collaboration readily surfaces all the information I need to share with managers, allows me to easily send the job for review and automatically stores the manager’s feedback directly in Insight Lab,” said Jasin Nazim, Senior Compensation Analyst, Patagonia.  

If you’re an Insight Lab customer, this feature will be available to you the next time you log in, at no additional cost. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use Insight Lab to develop and implement a compensation strategy, sign up for a personalized demo