It’s always exciting how technology can impact real lives through human capital management. My career and education have focused on the science and technology space – I obtained a Master of Public Policy with an emphasis in Science and Technology Policy, interned at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and have been a human capital consultant ever since. I entered the field because I love how technology and public policy can impact the lives of both workers and companies for the better.

One of the most important projects an organization can undertake is a classification and compensation (class and comp) study. This not only benefit the employees to ensure the receive fair compensation. A class and comp study also benefits employers because they can recruit and keep the best talent and maintain high morale, especially in a job market that is as hot as ever.

Since these projects are reliant on data and analysts, it’s critical to know you are doing them with skill and accuracy. With my background in process improvement and technology, I’m always looking for avenues to incorporate my experiences into our human capital practice. I started to look at the ways we collected the data and realized there were some processes to improve and tools we could add. That is why I recently brokered a strategic partnership with Salary.com.

Salary.com’s CompAnalyst market updates monthly, providing compensation practitioners with more accurate, critical pay information than traditional salary surveys and government agency data. CompAnalyst market data not only provides HR- and organization-provided data, which is an improvement over other paid surveys that rely on unverified user-submitted data, but it allows MGT’s human capital experts to find the most recent salary benchmark data by position, industry, employee count, revenue, and even zip code. There are many options to choose, but those in the human capital space should understand that the data they use for class and comp studies is important – and unless you pay close attention – it can oftentimes be lacking.

How an organization structures a class and comp study is as important

If a class and comp study is done with precision, they help an organization structure competitive roles and pay scales to attract and keep the best talent. If done with clumsy execution or lack of attention to the details like tools, software, and processes, the results can be misleading and even damaging for an organization’s growth goals.

That’s why there are a few things to keep in mind when you engage your human capital management consultant on your next class and comp study. They include:

  1. Where is the consultant getting their data?
    This is an important question to ask. Is the data provided from human resources or from an unknown source? The quality of data could impede the results of your study – so it’s imperative to ask the right questions and find out the source of the information.
  2. Who is doing the work?
    This may seem like a question that has an obvious answer. But, do you really know who is performing the work? Who is behind the scenes researching and finding the best, most high-quality and valuable data for your study? If you don’t ask this question, you’ll never know if outsourced folks that are not qualified and have no experience quantifying or qualifying the data conducted your analysis.
  3. How will they communicate and set expectations?
    Has your consultant set expectations of the study results, and how will they set expectations of those involved in the study? And are they communicating this to you? Find a consultant who engages in scheduled weekly status meetings and who has a plan in place to include all stakeholders – before the study takes place.
  4. How will the consultant recommend implementation and modeling?
    Once you have the report, what do you do with it? Are they sure their recommendations are implementable considering budgetary concerns? Can they model out how salary changes will transform over a few years and in alignment with your budget?
  5. Do they stay on to assist after they complete the study?
    We offer 12 months of post evaluation assistance – our team makes themselves available to the client for a year after the study because we know questions will come up and we want to be there to assist in training and implementation.

Compensation and classification studies are only growing in importance across organizations. If you are considering a study, or even in the middle of one now and want to ask questions relating to best practices, I’d be happy to discuss.