Compensation Studies

Creating competitive solutions

Your people are your best asset — and your compensation plan should reflect that. To be effective, your compensation plan must exist as a thoughtful, delicate balance between sustained operations in the present and future, while also motivating and rewarding your people fairly. From gaining acceptance from employees and stakeholders to retaining top performers and planning strategically, an effective compensation plan provides your organization with a competitive edge in the never-ending race for top talent. 

Our Capabilities

Our team has extensive experience in assessing and designing compensation plans for organizations across a variety of sectors. Our experience in both the human resources and financial arenas marries with our industry expertise to provide us with a solid foundation to recommend and implement practical, creative compensation solutions to keep our clients at their competitive best. 

Our Approach

When our clients engage in a compensation study, we work closely with senior leadership to develop a compensation program tailored to meet specific objectives. Depending on your needs, we may implement the following measures:

Collect Background Data

  • Review compensation strategy, policies and practices to gain an understanding of the compensation philosophy and system.
  • Gather background data around current benchmarks, job classification, job descriptions and total pay for employees.

Design and Administer a Job Analysis Questionnaire

  • Develop and administer a job analysis questionnaire to gather job content on the included positions.
  • Develop initial job descriptions based on the questionnaire.

Conduct Custom Salary Survey

  • Define participants for custom salary survey.
  • Develop and administer custom salary survey questionnaire.
  • Conduct analysis to develop benchmarks from questionnaire.
  • Develop a report and distribute to participants.

Job Benchmarking and Analysis

  • Match jobs for benchmarking using the questionnaires and current job descriptions.
  • Benchmark the positions using the compensation surveys selected for the job matching and the custom survey.
  • Gather information for the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile and average compensation information for base salary, annual incentives, and total cash compensation for every position.

Recommend Changes to the Current Classification System

  • Analyze current classification system compared with leading practices and make recommendations around changes.

Recommend Changes to Current Compensation Plan

  • Make recommendations around changes to plan based on findings in the benchmarking analysis.

Develop Implementation Plan

  • Develop an implementation plan around adjusting compensation as needed for individuals and jobs and creating an ongoing process for updating job descriptions, benchmarks and salary structures. 

Our Experience


► Privately Owned Global Steel Pipe Manufacturer | Attracting Talent With Competitive Compensation

Like many companies in their industry, this fifth-generation, privately owned global steel pipe manufacturer found competitive pay practices to be a critical factor in attracting new employees and retaining existing talent. Recognizing this, the company engaged SSA to assess its existing pay plan for the purposes of streamlining its salary structure, improving market salary competitiveness, and enhancing its ability to hire and retain top talent.
Based on interviews with the company’s top executives and a comprehensive review of relative internal information, SSA identified 87 jobs to serve as the representative sample of the company’s positions for benchmarking. After compressing some of the positions, SSA analyzed 69 positions against relevant market compensation survey data to determine the competitiveness of the positions and the company’s pay practices as a whole. SSA also reviewed the company’s compensation manual and salary structure for market competitiveness.
SSA determined that although considerable variances existed among individual positions, overall employees’ compensation was within market competitive range for both total cash compensation and base salaries. SSA also redesigned the company’s comprehensive salary structure with updated features such as condensed salary grades, more competitive salary range spreads, and customized mid-point progressions. The project team re-slotted nearly 100 jobs into their respective job class and pay grade according to the new salary structure. SSA provided additional recommendations to the compensation administration and presented an implementation plan based on the findings and adjustments needed as a result of the study.

► Law Enforcement Agency | Structuring a Complex Workforce

This law enforcement agency enforces the laws of the state within its parish and maintains its parish's prison system. As a recognized leader in comprehensive law enforcement and correction programs, this agency includes three main workforce divisions with more than 900 employees in 70 different job classifications. Recognizing its broad range of responsibilities and complex workforce, the agency engaged SSA to evaluate its current job descriptions and compensation structure for one of its main divisions.
SSA interviewed 10 agency executives to gain background and insight on the organization’s compensation objectives and its current salary structure. The project team developed a Job Analysis Questionnaire to determine the duties, responsibilities, scope, and job functions of every employee within the division, resulting in the development of 29 job descriptions. To benchmark where the agency's salary structure fell within the market, SSA collected compensation survey data of competitive practices for 35 jobs, and conducted a custom survey of similar organizations to compare pay rates for eight additional positions.
SSA discovered the agency's office's salaries did fall in line with the market; however, significant market variance among individual positions within the organization was prevalent. SSA recommended the agency implement a step salary structure to help standardize its salary structure and minimize confusion and disruption moving to a new system. SSA advised the agency to ease into a market-based salary structure in the future to become more market competitive.

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