5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Compensation Survey

Published: May 2019


The key to selecting the appropriate survey for your company is to know the right questions to ask and to ensure the survey is tailored to your company’s needs.

When looking for a compensation survey that is right for your company, there are a few points to consider. Not all compensation surveys are made the same and you want to ensure that you have made a strategic and deliberate selection that benefits your company. With that in mind, here are the top 5 questions (in our opinion) to ask yourself when deciding on how to choose the right compensation survey.

5. Where does the data come from?

Some compensation surveys are crowd sourced – meaning their data comes from regular people filling out an online form. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re an individual trying to gauge the salary range for a new job, but if you’re a professional organization, you shouldn’t be relying on data that disgruntled Ted from accounting submitted. Sure, HR sourced data might cost a bit more, but not only will it be more accurate, but you can rest assured that it also goes through multiple rounds of quality assurance and is updated regularly.

4. Can the survey accommodate our business as we scale?

As your company matures and expands its global footprint, it quickly becomes a priority to find effective ways to organize jobs into job families where similar work is performed. A compensation survey that includes a solid job library with definitive pay structures and job levels is critical for any company with aspirations for filling their ranks with top talent. So when the CTO lets you know that they need to hire five new engineers, you will be more than ready to take on that challenge.

3. Who else is in the survey?

Business Development Manager for a large hotel chain. Brand Manager at an office supplier. The job titles may match, but salaries vary vastly depending on the industry and job location. You want a compensation survey that includes your closest peers so that you can make the most competitive assessment. An exception to this rule is if you need to fill a position that’s normally in another industry and you want to offer a package that matches the other industry. e.g. banking company needing to hire software engineers to work on their mobile apps.

2. Will your executives and board members trust the data?

Have you ever seen two fried chicken restaurants in close proximity to each other, but one has a line out the door and the other is struggling for customers? Well this may not be fried chicken, but having a good reputation makes a big difference in all manners of business. Well-known survey providers will likely have more of the peers you are looking for as well as provide you with faster buy-in from board members, C-suite leaders and HR colleagues on key compensation decisions.

1. Can our survey vendor do more than just provide data?

Sure compensation surveys are all about data, but what good is that data if you don’t know what to do with it? Be sure to pick a provider that gives you support when you need it. Radford offers all clients a dedicated survey consultant to guide clients through the input and usage process. Beyond that, there is also a global consulting team ready to handle your biggest plan design challenges.

Ready to learn more?

Radford surveys provide in-depth compensation insights for thousands of job families in 80-plus countries, and are used by more than 3,000 technology and life sciences organizations to make highly-informed pay decisions. To learn more about participating in a Radford survey, click here or write to sales@radford.com.

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