Written by Jonathan Sweet
July 20, 2020
Participation in salary surveys is a critical function of HR and compensation professional. By participating you are encouraging others to join, contribute their data and be a part of the community. This promotes a robust data source for you and the entire group of participants which in turn allows you to make better and more informed pay decisions.
Participating in a salary survey involves filling out a vendor’s questionnaire. Initial participation in a vendor’s survey can sometimes be challenging and time-consuming. In this post, the second in our five-part series “Salary Surveys 20|20,” we’ve outlined what you need to know to make the participation process a smooth one.
Know the deadline
The key is to know the deadlines for participation and what resources you have at your disposal. Length of time to complete depends on the number of positions surveyed and the amount of information requested for each incumbent. It can also depend on how readily that data is available and if you or someone at your organization has access to, and can retrieve data from your company ERP, HRIS or payroll systems.
Ask for a salary survey checklist
Ask your survey provider if they have a checklist (like the one shown below) to prepare yourself and others on what types of data will be requested and collected and what systems you may need access to.
Focus on job matching
Reputable surveys will provide job matching guidance to participants in addition to their function and level guidebooks. Many provide live support during and after the participation process has completed.
As an organization you should target between a 70-80% match between the survey job and your company job. When evaluating jobs, be sure to compare job descriptions and not job titles. Keep in mind not every organization has consistent job titles, let alone formal job descriptions. A job title and description in one organization could be significantly different at another organization. Overall, a survey job description should list the primary job function in a short summary paragraph. Descriptions should include duties and responsibilities, ideally, years of experience, degree, certifications (if appropriate) as well as reporting relationships. Salary survey descriptions are intentionally broad and typically designed to fit into a company’s wide definition of their job so you should find a match without much trouble.
How to participate with limited bandwidth and budget
For some organizations with limited resources, participating in a salary survey can seem like a daunting task. It does not have to be.
Other alternatives include competitor 3rd party salary surveys. Yes, that’s right many vendors will accept input and match files completed for other survey partners. Now, some charge for this matching service but a few (like Salary.com) provide this service complimentary. This might be one of the quickest ways to get up and running in a new salary survey. If going this route keep in mind the survey partner will need some information beforehand such as version of survey and source materials to effectively cross-map.
In our fifth and final post in the series we will provide a whole host of reasons surveys are worth investing your time and money in RIGHT NOW.
The Compdata and IPAS survey practice at Salary.com is one of the largest compensation data providers in the world with compensation and benefits data spanning 100 countries across 17 industry verticals. To learn more, contact us at 781-552-4596.
Download our white paper to further understand how organizations across the country are using market data, internal analytics, and strategic communication to establish an equitable pay structure.