Compensation Best Practices: Finding Strength in Numbers

Natalie Purkhardt
| 10/17/2023

Compensation plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent. It is not just about salaries and bonuses; it encompasses many components that influence an employee's overall experience and performance.

Compensation is dynamic, and your responsibility is to ensure your business’s processes reflect current industry standards. Base salaries, bonuses, benefits and perks create the foundation of any business’s compensation model, but how does an organization build upon this to stay competitive in its market?

From establishing compensation benchmarks to making policies that create transparency and equity in your compensation process, HR Vibe’s consultants share strategies that lead to your organization’s success in employee satisfaction.

Benchmarking and Market Analysis

When analyzing your organization’s current compensation model, the design needs to be supported by data. Why? Data is a definitive metric and one measure to protect you from biased decision-making while ensuring you stay competitive in the market. These are two critical components of compensation best practices.

The Role of Market Research

Your organization must first understand where it falls within your market to craft competitive compensation packages. Benchmarking against industry peers and competitors helps in understanding prevailing compensation trends. This data-driven approach enables organizations to stay competitive and make informed decisions about salary levels and benefits offerings.

Data Sources for Establishing Compensation Best Practices

Access to accurate compensation data is crucial. Organizations can obtain this data from various sources, such as industry surveys, compensation consulting firms, and government reports. Organizations must take the proper measures to ensure the information is reliable, consistent, and reputable. Many online resources are compiled with unregulated sources, which may help job seekers and hiring managers get a global idea of what to pay and what to ask. Still, they are not reliable sources to build a compensation foundation. 

Interpreting Data. Gaining Insight.

Gathering data is only the beginning. Effectively interpreting and applying benchmarking data is where the real value lies. HR Vibe’s consultants synthesize and use data to guide you in creating compensation best practices that support your organization's goals, budget and unique workforce.

Transparency and Communication: The Foundations of Trust

Transparency in compensation practices is paramount. Team members should clearly understand how their compensation is determined and changes throughout their careers. This involves open and honest communication about the various components of their pay, including base salary, bonuses, benefits, and equity. Trust is established with team members when they perceive fairness and equity in the compensation process. One of the simplest ways to build a fair process and establish trust is by having a compensation policy that applies consistency. Regularly reviewing market comparables, having defined compensation review periods, and updated salary scales are all ways for organizations to show their commitment to an equitable compensation process.

Compensation Policies

Creating compensation policies is an asset in your organization’s best practices, ensuring communication surrounding compensation is consistent and available to all team members. Compensation policies support your leadership in open and honest dialogue with their team members, guiding compensation reviews. 

Internal Equity: Addressing Disparities

Pay equity, ensuring that employees are paid fairly for equal work, should be a priority in setting your compensation best practices. Many organizations conduct regular internal equity analyses to identify and rectify wage gaps between roles of similar efforts. Conducting market research consistently and applying benchmarking data to your organization’s compensation process will keep you current and aware of any internal equity discrepancies that may arise. 

Pay Equity in Quebec

Navigating the legal landscape of compensation requires a keen understanding of employment laws and regulations. These laws, at both the federal and provincial levels, govern various aspects of payment, from minimum wage requirements to overtime rules. Staying compliant is not just a compensation best practice but a legal imperative.

The Employment Equity Act in Quebec addresses differences in compensation due to the systemic gender discrimination suffered predominately by females. The Act aims to identify and close the wage gaps between roles determined to be predominantly female and predominantly male. An organization in Quebec may be required to comply with the Pay Equity Act when they have 10 or more employees on any given payroll. The initial exercise is due four years after the year that the organization first reaches 10 employees, and a maintenance exercise is required every five subsequent years. Furthermore, organizations are required to submit an annual declaration to the DEMES.    

In addition to Quebec’s Employment Equity Act, the Government of Canada also prohibits wage discrimination based on gender under the Pay Equity Act. HR Vibe’s consultants have the expertise in HR compliance to ensure your compensation best practices adhere to all federal and provincial legal requirements.

Compensation Best Practices: One Size Does Not Fit All

Compensation best practices are both an art and a science. They involve a delicate balance of financial considerations, legal compliance, employee engagement, and organizational strategy. When done right, compensation policies can attract and retain top talent, driving performance, loyalty, and long-term success.

When created equitably and strategically, compensation can be a powerful tool that empowers your team. When your people can see the total value of their compensation package, including the direct and indirect components, they better understand the connection between their role and pay. 

As your organization continues to evolve and the workforce landscape changes, staying ahead in compensation best practices is essential. By investing in fair, competitive, and well-communicated compensation plans, your business can position itself as an employer of choice, fostering trust amongst your team and driving performance excellence.


About HR Vibe by Crowe BGK

HR Vibe is a team of HR consultants at Crowe BGK. Having built a firm centred on putting people first, it’s only natural that Crowe BGK shares their success. Working with entrepreneurs and businesses, HR Vibe advises companies on unlocking their people's power and elevating their business.

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Natalie Purkhardt joined Crowe BGK in 2023 as a Partner, establishing the Firm’s HR consulting practice, HR Vibe. With over ten years of experience, Natalie is an industry leader, working with established businesses to create positive workplace cultures and helping organizations and individuals achieve success through best practices and coaching. Natalie has an undeniable flair for innovation in people and culture, staying on top of trends and best practices in talent and culture management. She’s driven by seeing people soar and believes in creating a positive, healthy corporate culture.

Natalie Purkhardt
Natalie Purkhardt
Partner, HR Vibe by Crowe BGK

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