5 Signs You Need to Trade Spreadsheets for Compensation Management Software

4 min read
Jul 11, 2022 6:00:00 AM

Are you tired of spreadsheets? We all are. But we continue using them because they’re familiar and “free.” And, frankly, we can’t find the time to evaluate better solutions or get buy-in for them. 

Spreadsheets are the tool many HR teams have always used to analyze compensation and organize rewards cycles. They’re good enough… until they’re not.

If you’ve experienced the following scenarios, it might be time to ditch spreadsheets in favor of compensation management software.

1. You’ve nearly sent spreadsheets to the wrong people

Review cycles typically have a lot of moving parts. You’re leading the charge on strategic compensation adjustments, manager raise recommendations, and stakeholder approvals for all employees in your slate. With so many emails flying around, it’s all too easy to send confidential compensation information to the wrong people.

Compensation management software can notify stakeholders when it’s time to chime in, and allocates permissions so they can only access the information they’re privy to. From there, managers and other stakeholders can access a secure portal to see employees’ compensation history, make raise recommendations, and submit approvals.

2. Your compensation data is siloed

You want to make informed decisions based on total compensation, but salaries, bonuses, and equity live in different HR systems. Exporting data and merging it into a single spreadsheet is time-consuming and sometimes results in costly errors. For instance, a VLOOKUP error could merge the wrong stock option grant information. Overlooking this error could cause you to over- or under-pay employees (compensation is a common cause of high employee turnover). Even if you eventually caught this error, you may have to start over on your raise cycle recommendations with the correct data. Not to mention the chaos it can cause with your finance and management teams if the problem is caught late in the process.

A great compensation management solution will integrate with your existing HR tech stack so you have clear insights into total compensation from a single system. This can help you make more informed decisions during raise cycles, ensure pay equity among employees, and provide benchmarks to make fair, competitive offers.

3. You have a lot of stakeholders

If you have a few people who make all of the compensation decisions, it’s simple enough to book a conference room for the day and knock out your raise cycle. But raise cycles at many companies include recommendations from line managers or managers-of-managers, and require approvals from people across multiple departments. 

“Dueling spreadsheets” are common, as multiple stakeholders make changes at the same time in different documents, so there’s no single source of truth.

This can be a complex process, with changes being made every step of the way. “Dueling spreadsheets” are common, as multiple stakeholders make changes at the same time in different documents, so there’s no single source of truth. Then there’s a chain of people who need to give final approval on raise cycles for different groups of employees, but keeping track of whose turn it is makes your head spin.

Compensation management software can help your team conform to your workflow and guidelines. Managers and stakeholders can view employee history and events, recommend raises, and leave notes. A built-in approval process can alert decision makers when they need to weigh in, so they can view, edit, and approve sets of raises. Your HR team can keep a consistent pulse on progress by viewing who has yet to get started, who has submitted, and what’s been approved. And you’ll never have to worry about version control in spreadsheets again—every stakeholder will have access to the most up-to-date information.

4. Your compensation decisions are too time-consuming

You know you want to build a more strategic HR function, but you’re too bogged down in time-consuming, repetitive tasks to make any real progress. For example, pulling compensation data out of silos, putting it into spreadsheets, and trying to see patterns to ensure pay equity. Or cutting and pasting rows into new spreadsheets, and emailing them to managers for raise cycle recommendations.

Your managers are complaining that review cycles take up too much time, and disrupt their day-to-day responsibilities. Or they complain that they’re losing job candidates because it takes too long to benchmark internal employee compensation and deliver fair, competitive offers. They know compensation is a crucial component for attracting and retaining talent, but don’t have the time or expertise to make strategic decisions. 

In addition to HR tech stack integrations and workflow management, a great compensation management solution can help you analyze vast amounts of data. Imagine being able to quickly see:

  • the percentage of employees below- or above-band by ethnicity
  • salary band adherence by tenure
  • employees whose stock options are over 75 percent vested
  • salary distribution by function and job level

These kinds of insights can lead to faster, more strategic decisions around compensation so you can focus on new initiatives and your managers can get back to their day jobs.

5. You always have to scramble at the last minute to stay within budget

You set a budget for raise cycles, but managers’ recommendations very rarely adhere to them. Each manager understandably wants to advocate for their team members to reward their top performers and retain talent. Once you reconcile those discrepancies, decision makers chime in with their own edits, and throw your whole budget out of balance again. You’ve used up the budget you set aside for unexpected costs, and each change must now be counteracted elsewhere—leading to more changes and needed approvals.

The right compensation management software can help you put everyone on the same page, so you can better manage your budget. A platform like Compaas allows you make strategic adjustments first, and share those with hiring managers before they make recommendations. This transparency can help assure managers that salaries are aligned with the company’s compensation strategy already—so their budget can be used solely for merit-based increases. A great solution will also help you set aside a five to 10 percent holdback for executives to distribute without throwing off the budget.

Final thoughts on upgrading to compensation management software

Spreadsheets are a versatile tool, but they certainly have their limitations. The most innovative HR teams know that great technology is a worthwhile investment. Compensation management software, in particular, can help you make more strategic decisions, save time, and reduce costly mistakes. Carve out the time to evaluate solutions so you can build an HR tech stack that elevates your function.

In-line: Get a Demo - Compensation Magic

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