4 habits to simplify participating to compensation surveys

This week’s instalment of my monthly theme includes a few habits that I developed to make my life easier when comes the time to participate to compensation surveys.

Right now in the UAE, you must be thinking about collecting the data and preparing it to submit to the various providers that you have selected as relevant for your organisation.

My advice is to prepare a master data file which you will use as the basis for the submission to most surveys. It is a file which contains most relevant info requested by the survey providers, in any order relevant to YOU (because it is a working file not a submission file).

The file should list all your current employees irrespective of whether their job is surveyed or not : it is easy to create a big file with all. Then you use whichever data is requested by provider A, B or C, as needed. This saves you time as you don’t need to reinvent the information for every survey that you participate to, especially if employee 1 is part of surveys A and C but employee 2 is in surveys A and B only because his job is not part of the survey from provider C.

Here are 4 habits you should develop to simplify your compensation data submission process :

1 – Collect and annualise bonus information.

A lot of survey providers ask for 2 types of data related to annual incentives payouts : the actuals and the annualised payouts. Why ? Because the actuals give a view of the real average / median etc payments and costs for the participating organisations, while the annualised information allows to make an assumption of what the costs would be for a full year.

In order to annualise the bonus or incentive information, it is simple : check the hire date of your employees. For all the new joiners (and the leavers if you provide their compensation information as well), divide the actual bonus payment by the number of days or months they were in the company and then multiply it by 365 or 12 to get the annualised payment.

While you’re at it, you may as well create the amounts of on-target and maximum incentive payout if your company sets them. for example your organisation may pay 3 months basic pay at target and 4 as maximum. Well, create columns for each and calculate it for each employee in your organisation. A lot of surveys require this information so it’s good to have it ready.

2 – Identify employees that were promoted or changed job vs last year.

If they are part of the target population for the survey, it means you will need to pay special attention to the job matching. You can’t simply copy the job matching you did for them last year, because it is not valid any longer. By creating a column with P for promotion or CJ for changed job, you will be able to later on filter them all and check the job matching for them one by one.

You will reduce your risk of error in the submission process and will ensure that you later receive survey results that are relevant for their current position. In the case of promotions, it means your employee will not appear “paid too high” by mistake, because their pay will be aligned with the proper level of job form the survey.

3 – Gather financial and other data in advance

Go to your colleagues and gather information that is most often required to participate in the surveys such as :

  • Company revenue and net income.
  • Unit revenue and net income. This is more difficult to get in many cases… so if you ask for it in advance you ensure that your survey submission will not be delayed because of information that you had delays in collecting.
  • Number of direct and indirect reports (how many people work directly for this employee, and how many in total in his/her department through the managers reporting to him/her).
  • Number of children eligible to education allowance or airfares
  • etc

This kind of information is often not so readily available and may require that you rely on colleagues from other departments, or running special reports to collect the information. This is especially true in the case of conglomerates or companies with international operations. So factor that in by collecting this kind of information early enough.

A useful tip can be to go through your submission file from the previous year and identify which information was most difficult or lengthy for you to collect – and get started now. Surveys do not usually vary by much from year to year so there is a very good chance that it will be requested again this year.

4 – Highlight new joiners and leavers

These employees will usually have prorated information regarding their bonus, annual leave, benefits and the like. Some providers will ask for actuals only, others for annualised information, some others yet will require both sets of data. Having these employees readily identified will ensure that avoid submitting information in the format not required for the survey by enabling you to perform a quick check for them at the end of your data submission effort.
When you annualise bonus information, identify “special” employees such as new joiners, leavers and employees that were promoted or changed jobs, and gather difficult-to-find information in advance, you make your life easier for preparing your submission to the compensation surveys, and the whole process becomes a bit less dreadful as you seriously reduce the risk of errors and develop a systematic approach to your process.

Which tips have you developed for preparing the survey files ? Please share them in the comments section that we can all benefit from your experience too…


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