Q&A: Tales of HR Pain Points from One Industry to Another

by Kara Deyermenjian - June 14, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard to relate to workers in industries other than your own, even when your chosen profession is the same. People get consumed with industry-specific day-to-day details, and the challenges and struggles they feel are particularly unique to them. At the end of the day, however, everyone is looking to do similar things: work efficiently, meet business and personal goals, save time, and do a good job. With all these commonalities, we have the potential to learn from one another. If you’re lucky, your corporate mission may even be something you find personal fulfillment in, and that’s reason enough to strive for professional success and never stop learning from your peers and people outside your immediate professional circle.

At Salary.com, we invited some of our CompAnalyst customers into the office to chat compensation and to learn from one another. We gained valuable insight into their professional lives, and what it’s like working in HR within varying industries when – just like everybody else – they’re trying to do their best, overcome obstacles, get it all done quickly, but also get it done right.

Here’s a peek into some of the pain points your peers from different industries face in their work lives, and how they’ve handled them.  

Healthcare Industry: Staying Ahead of the Competition 

Customer: A large academic healthcare organization operating out of Boston, MA.  

Q: What are some compensation related challenges you face in the healthcare industry? 

A: Competing with other healthcare organizations for talent can be challenging. We aren’t just competing with the other academic medical centers and community health centers and hospitals, but also with urgent care centers and primary care facilities. There are up to seven different large healthcare organizations close by, so a lot of our medical professionals could walk across the street and secure a job for more money and not change their commute. This situation is unique in the sense that our competition is physically next door. All salaries are public with the pay equity act coming, too. We never discourage employees from talking about what they earn, and our staff is very vocal and tend to share their earnings. We understand the importance of gaining the ability to respond to employee inquiries, and develop a very solid approach to setting pay because why people are paid a certain way is going to get questioned, and you must be able to defend it. 

Q: How have you dealt with these challenges?

A: The up-to-the minute information around pay that CompAnalyst provides has been helpful. It gives us the ability to be competitive and defend pay decisions. We also participate in a minimum of 10 surveys, so to have a database, a place to store all our data, and to be able to locate it in a simple, easy way is huge for us. I’ve worked in organizations where we didn’t have this kind of functionality, and I’ve been in compensation for over 30 years. I remember when we were working out of binders, and everything was on paper, so the fact that it’s now all automated makes a big difference.

Manufacturing Industry: Making Smarter Pay Decisions

Customer: Burton Snowboards

Q: What are your pain points, and how have you addressed them?

A: Back in 2014 we lacked data and to the ability to conduct meaningful analysis. Historically, we had worked off budget alone, and would base decisions off non-data driven things. We’d hire certain positions at a specific salary because that’s what we had always done – it wasn’t strategic in nature. We would also increase salaries based on what a strong candidate said they needed to make, not based on market data. We knew we needed real data to make smarter decisions. We became a CompAnalyst customer, and it really helped transform us as an organization in how we handle compensation. Organizationally, compensation was always considered an HR-centric task, and there wasn’t a lot of communication around it. There were many limited conversations, but no broad conversations around pay. Bringing in compensation software, particularly CompAnalyst, has allowed us to start the transformation towards being able to communicate better around pay, and to defend our pay decisions with reliable data.

Software Industry: Adapting on the Fly

Customer: Network Automation Software company operating out of MA.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the professional struggles you’ve faced in the software industry?

A: In terms of preparation, we’re always trying to figure things out.  We can be very reactive. A lot of times compensation conversations are had between a hiring manager, a recruiter, and possibly a member of senior leadership or a third party involved. We then need to quickly figure out what factors affect the pricing of different jobs, and adjust accordingly. There’s a lot of back and forth and different people adjusting a new role, so we need to be quick on our feet and have fast access to compensation data to be able to adjust offers on the fly.

Q: How has compensation software helped speed up your processes?

A: Having compensation data at your fingertips and all in the same spot is huge for us. It saves us time and is less work for us. With CompAnalyst and Salary.com in general, having everything within reach and being able to combine hybrid jobs make my daily life a lot easier. This helps my time usage, so I’m free to deal with the weird things that come across my desk in the world of HR when I need to be creative. I don’t have the bandwidth to play with the tool for 20 minutes, and CompAnalyst makes it easy.


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