Herner, MA, CCP, Compensation
Consultant at PayScale.com
Benchmarking is Serious Business
The job of benchmarking positions is very serious business. I
always want to make sure I get the best and most relevant information about
every position in a client’s organization so I can make sure I’m making an
apples-to-apples comparison with positions in the market. Such is my dedication
to benchmarking that I found myself dreaming about benchmarking one job in
particular… my cat’s position. Yes, in my now-recurring dream, my cat is in my face,
meowing fervently as she expects (demands actually) accurate compensation,
right away, for her position.
I decided that, in order to end the cycle, I actually had to
match her job to the market.
How do I match a job for a cat?
benchmarking my cat’s job by identifying the appropriate title. In order to
match her title, I need to know a couple of things:
- What are the top 3-5 tasks for which she is
- What level of the organization is she? Generally
speaking, depending on the organization, VPs operate on the strategic level,
without really getting into the implementation of that strategy. Directors
think strategically, and then begin to translate that strategy into
implementation. The manager implements strategy that has been decided on by a
higher level. Supervisors oversee direct workers. And Workers get the job done.
Obviously the titles don’t always align exactly with the type of work being
performed, but it’s helpful to be able to differentiate the level.
My cat is definitely at the Director
level. She is in charge of the household, but also isn’t afraid of getting her
Being a Cat
Next, I needed
to focus in on the specific skills and experience required of my cat.
- How much experience would the typical cat need
to have in order to be as good as my cat at waking me up in the middle of the
night? My cat has 13 years of experience, but is that what the average cat
would need? I suspect that the average cat could actually gain full proficiency
in cat-like running of the house within about 4-5 years, so my cat is ahead of
the curve. As such, I would expect her compensation to be higher than is
typical; she’d be at the top of the range.
- What are my cat’s top 5-7 skills – or rather,
what are the typical cat’s top 5-7 skills, required to be a good,
well-performing cat? It may be that my cat excels at kneading with all four
paws at once, however is that particular skill required in her role?
- Is there any formal training required in order
to perform the cat role? I suppose it’s true that some cats do require
training, but I think the typical cat is able to be a cat without formal
Examining the results
to compensate my cat appropriately, I decided to use the PayScale Insight software
to calculate the appropriate compensation for my cat.
I plugged in
all the appropriate details:
shows that, benchmarked as such, my cat should be earning in the neighborhood
of $25K annually! I added up all the monetary rewards my cat earns, and it
turns out that I am seriously undercompensating my cat. I do give her plenty of
non-cash rewards – attention, love, affection – however as a comp expert, I
know that unless she feels that she is compensated fairly relative to the
market, she will continue to feel undervalued. I plan to go home tonight with a
brand new scratcher for her, and maybe a can of wet food, so that she knows I
value her contributions to our household organization. Now maybe I can get a
solid night’s sleep!