Now don’t go changing your compensation structure without….

You’re worried you’re not attracting the right talent or that you aren’t able to keep good talent around for long and you think it might be because of your salary structure.   Before you launch into a compensation structure overhaul (we’ll tell you how to do this next week on the blog), you need to:

Know for sure that the reason you are having the problems you are having is in fact compensation related.  It may be that all your supervisors are jerks and people may leave even if you paid them twice as much.  Surveying employees, especially through exit interviews is a good way to do this.  Also, getting a quick snapshot to see if you are externally competitive in compensation in your area is also advisable.  

Some sites to spot check your wage rates with the market (Make sure you search based on your market.  If you are just competing for talent locally, then search by your metropolitan area, not the entire nation): 

Career One Stop

Salary Expert


Do a job analysis and write job descriptions.  You can’t accurately design a compensation structure without defining what jobs require.  This helps you compare jobs both internally and externally.  

A job analysis can be done in several ways: 

Job observation

Job questionnaire to the people in the roles and their managers

Review of job logs or reports

Structured panels

A combination on any of these

Reviewing occupational information can help you frame any of the above or help you check the data you’ve gathered against standard responsibilities based on job title

A job analysis needs to gather what is required to perform the job. (This is a really short way of saying this; there are many purposes of job analysis because it is the basis of any talent management intervention.  Read more about the things needed in job analysis based on what you are trying to accomplish here.) 

A job description needs to include: 

Date description was written

Job status (exempt, non-exempt; full or part time)


Purpose of the role

Reports to

Job summary (outline of responsibilities of the role)

Knowledge, skills and abilities required as well as education and experience required

Essential Functions for ADA purposes

Tasks and Responsibilities of the job

Physical factors of the job (environment where the job is performed) and working conditions (overtime requirements, shift)

The disclaimer that the description is not designed to cover a comprehensive listed of everything the job entails (the other duties as assigned statement) 

Once you have gone through these two steps, you are ready to start with a compensation redesign if you have determined through Step 1 that is what you need.  Check back on the blog soon to see how to do this. 

Do you need a compensation overall or something entirely different?

Mary Ila Ward

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