Recruiting with Open Eyes: the Science of Compensation

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If constantly changing safety and regulatory considerations don’t provide enough challenge for companies attempting to move forward, they also find themselves doing so in a volatile employee’s labour market. Recruitment and retention are top of mind as top talent weigh their employment options, necessitating careful analysis of both internal needs and competitive conditions. With so much on the line, a gut feeling won’t suffice, prompting companies to conduct formal studies, often with outside help.

Assessing Staff Needs in a Dynamic Environment 

The pandemic has not only changed customer behaviour and business models, but also the very way that work is structured and approached. Some employees have departed, others have arrived, and others still find themselves struggling with positions that don’t exactly align with the job description they were recruited for several years ago.

Companies with a culture of organization and internal evaluation have stayed ahead of the curve amid shifting paradigms, while their more reactionary competitors have watched the world change around them and now struggle to keep pace. 

Hybrid work models and other paradigm changes have served to amplify the importance of technological competency. On the other hand, companies are anxious to re-introduce face to face business development, creating a demand for solid networkers and relationship builders. Organizations are plotting a path forward amid shifting sands, placing a premium on strategic thinkers, communications professionals, and financial analysts. Truckers, too, find themselves in demand as society looks to overcome supply chain challenges. 

Attracting Talent Through Total Rewards Packages

There’s no way around it, companies looking to recruit capable professionals will have to offer attractive compensation packages. While it’s not uncommon for organizations to survey the competitive landscape for similar jobs and offer salaries and wages at or near the 50th percentile, current conditions call for offerings at the 75th percentile, or higher. Vancouver companies recruiting outside of their market will have to be all the more competitive if they hope to entice people to move to one of Canada’s most expensive, albeit beautiful, cities. 

Salaries are just one piece of the puzzle, however, as companies seek to lure talent with a wide array of benefits, perks, and features. Work-life balance is highly valued by candidates, making vacation time and hybrid work models important recruitment factors. 

Bonuses, cell phone and car allowances, and cost of living increases move the needle, while health and safety policies and procedures are also top concerns. 

Companies that are serious about recruitment should put their best foot forward, as high calibre candidates are snapped up quickly. Companies should not be shy, but treat recruitment efforts as employee-branding exercises, prominently featuring both conventional and creative benefits in job listings.

Amid the focus on recruitment, it’s important not to overlook retention. If current staff learn that they’re receiving lower compensation than their new colleagues (and they will learn), they’ll be likely to start trying their luck on the open market, which will only serve to offset recruitment successes. 

Comprehensive Compensation Analysis

Relying on firms published salary indexes likely falls short of current and reliable compensation data in such a fast-moving recruitment environment. Company’s need more specific compensation information if they are to recruit in today’s market!

Many companies are looking to hire senior HR Consultants with proven experience in compensation analysis to build a compensation strategy for recruitment purposes and require current and reliable compensation market data in the Vancouver marketplace (or geographic area where that role will function). In addition to an external compensation analysis, HR professionals look at the internal employee compensation structure to ensure there is pay equity between jobs and with the external marketplace.

External Compensation analysis includes: benchmarking company jobs against similar jobs in the Vancouver market, using compensable factors, such as a job title along with the typical qualifications and skills that companies are willing to pay for and competencies matched to the position.

Next, total rewards packages being offered for comparable roles are measured. This includes a myriad of factors, including the benefits and perks mentioned in the previous section. Internal salaries and rewards packages are also reviewed to ensure that companies aren’t at risk of losing their current employees. 

Ultimately, employers are provided with a comprehensive analysis, allowing them to competitively recruit candidates in the current market as well as adjust internal employee salaries to ensure that they are commensurate with external wages. By looking at each employee’s tenure and job performance, companies can decide at what percentile they should be paid, compared to others in similar positions. 

In the current employee’s market, companies that fail to create well-considered recruitment and retention plans do so at their own peril. Their ability to do so successfully depends on their capacity to analyze their talent needs, and their commitment to accessing and processing data related to their competitive landscape. While it’s not an easy undertaking, it’s one that’s well worth the effort. 

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Judy Slutsky

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