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Developing a Compensation Plan, Step 2: Define Your Strategy

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With your new compensation philosophy hot off the presses, it’s time to go to market to identify the value of your jobs. The next two lessons in building your compensation plan will teach you how to perform compensation benchmarking.

Decide on Your Compensation Strategy

Your compensation strategy should answer these three key questions:

  1. What talent market(s) do you intend to use for comparison for your organization?
  2. How competitive do you plan to be relative to your talent market(s)?
  3. What do you want to reward with your compensation dollars?

Identify Talent Markets

A talent market is defined as the combination of industry, size, location and organization type. The markets you select should reflect where you compete for talent (not business).

You may find that you need to use more than one market to cover all your jobs. For example, healthcare organizations might use different talent markets for their office and medical staff. They may also compete in another market altogether for their physicians.

A common misstep with market data is to think of it as only right or wrong. Market data should be interpreted in the context of what you’re trying to accomplish — your overall market strategy. Take the opportunity to examine market data and consider how it is applicable to your organization, and when you may consider deviating from market to prioritize or de-emphasize pay for some jobs.

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Decide How Competitive You Want to Be

You may, again, have different targets depending on how competitive you need to be to get the best people for your jobs. Some jobs are hotter than others, so decide on the percentile you’re willing to pay for certain positions to help you keep and attract talent. Review your strategy regularly to ensure you are staying current with your goals and market trends.

Reward Your Talent

What are the goals of your compensation program? Some organizations reward performance and results. Others aim to reward experience, hot skills or tenure. What you choose to reward should reflect the goals of your organization. For example, if you want to grow your organization by adding state of the art products, you’ll want to reward skills and performance that will help you accomplish that goal. Check that your compensation strategy aligns well with the culture of your organization.

Next Steps

Think about the various functions and levels within your workforce. Where do you compete for talent for each segment you’ve identified?

Answer these three main questions below for each segment:

  1. What market do we compete in for this segment?
  2. How competitive do we need to be to get the best talent for this segment?
  3. How can we best reward talent for this segment?


Blog: 5 Mistakes You May Be Making That Are Impacting Your Talent Pipeline

eBook: Define Your Comp Strategy

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