Where is the Innovation in Compensation II?

@ http://www.flickr.com/photos/25496152@N08/7308083714
Peter explains the survey methodology. (Photo credit: aveo.org)

How many of us have actually taken part in a compensation survey or other HR talent attraction and retention survey?  The data collected from these survey is supposed to give us insight into trends and leading practices by industry peers.  C&B professionals take these results and build their internal compensation, benefits and talent management strategy. However, the survey results are generally the same; this year is trending up, the past year is trending down etc.

A few weeks ago, my colleague showed me a C&B survey on a section pertaining to employee attraction and retention.   Because I am in recruiting, she asked me for my opinion on how I might answer the question.  Well, I asked her what were the choices I had to choose from?  The only choices (forced choice) were: basic salary, bonus, benefits, health welfare, etc.
I started to think…  these are all very C&B’ish answers.  The survey results all center around these topics and strategy recommendation are all within the confines of these areas.  Again, this year is trending up, the past year in trending down.
Are there other choices for survey responses?  Can I answer?: I want to work for a technology leadership company;  I want to work here because my friends work here; I want to work here because I was laid-off at my previous company; I want to work here because of (fill in the blank)?
In my role as a recruiter, rarely do I find candidates tell me right off the bat that they want to join the company because of pay or benefits.  They are leaving the other firm because of career mobility and for a more interesting role.  In my current company, I have a very high employee referral rate.  In such cases, they friends are enticing them to join.  Money helps.  But, there are many situations where I have not given a salary increase to join.  They come over flat against their current pay.  More recently, due to the faltering industry, many are seeking jobs because their current positions may no longer exist.
We all trust C&B surveys for their rigour in data integrity.  However, allowing for broader perspective in C&B responses gives HR and management teams greater insight into talent attraction, engagement and retention.
By the way, might the survey methodology be skewed?  They survey asks HR to respond.  Why not ask employees what C&B elements and rationale for joining, working and staying at the company?
We need to rethink if the C&B survey results truly reflect the real reason why people join and stay at companies.
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