Employee Compensation Strategy Consultants
Using survey data collected from our members along with other credible resources, our Compensation veterans help you design appropriate compensation and benefit packages for your specific industry and region so you can attract and retain the right talent.
Let our HR Experts help you find the right compensation strategy!
Become a Member
Our approach helps to align employee total compensation decisions with your business goals. We help you detemine how you value positions within your organization so that you are assigning resources to gain the most benefit. We draw on our rich survey data so you can learn how other organizations allocate resources to the positions of interest to you.
Areas of Compensation & Benefit Strategy We Can Help You With
Compensation Strategy and Plan Development
Compensation planning must be done carefully and strategically to attract and retain the best talent, especially in tight, competitive labor markets and in certain industries. Our team of compensation experts works to understand your unique needs. We can consult on the project as you develop your own plan nad direct you to our many resources, like our compensation white papers (FYIs), or we can product the compensation plan for you.
We follow a standard methodology that identifies objectives, deliverables, and specific approaches for each phast of the project:
- Total rewards strategy – Pay is only one component of the rewards employees join the workforce to receive. Benefits, flexible scheduling, and paid-time-off can be used effectively to attract and retain employees. We survey employers in all of these areas to give you the widest view of your strategy.
- Merit increase planning – Steady annual increases may be an effective way to meet your business goals, or there may be alternatives which would allow for focus to different aspects of your organization.
- Base compensation – Determining what pay is not at risk, or the base compensation, can vary widely by position and department. We have both data and experience to help you gain a clear perspective on this essential pay in your compensation planning.
- Job descriptions – Descriptions of the work done by each employee is a foundational element of any organization, regardless of size. Knowing what is expected of each employee and what their work towards the mission of the organization is crucial. This is also critical in determining job matches to create a compensation plan.
- Job evaluation – An evaluation is an important first step prior to creating a fully functional job description. A good evaluation gathers information both from the employee performing the work and the managers and leaders overseeing the work.
- Market pricing – knowing which market to review when looking at a particular job is critical. Who are the competitors for the employees you want to hire and retain? Is it within your industry and geographic location, or are you overlooking other competitive factors?
- Plan implementation – When the plan is finished, it is put into action. Leaders and managers learn of the details of the plan as it applies to them and the employees they supervise so they can assist in communicating the plan.
- Communication of the plan – Communicating is not a mere exercise in changing pay rates. Current best practices includes being transparent and helping employees understand the methodology used and why it is important for the business health to use it. This is especially important as new studies point to men and women having very different ideas when higher pay is in order.
Benefits Planning and Consulting
Leverage your benefits package as a strategic tool to attract, engage and retain the best employees to achieve organizational objectives. Employers Council's professional consultants will help you craft a total rewards strategy for your organization. We provide strategic advice and guidance on benefits, paid time off (PTO) policies, and other employment practices you might be considering as part of your overall compensation package, offering considerations for best practices.
Our services include:
- Benefit strategy, planning, and advice – If your employees do not appreciate the benefits you offer, the money you are spending on benefits is wasted. We not only help you understand the myriad of benefits on the market, we help you determine what is best for your workplace.
- Benefit administration – Administering benefits is important and not always easy. We can help you with advice on how to do this, or we can provide you with staff to help with this on a short-term or long-term basis.
- Health Care Reform consultation – Despite political rhetoric, the Affordable Care Act is the law and employers are responsible for complying with it. If you have questions or concerns about your level of risk when it comes to this legislation, let us know. We can help.
- Benefit white papers (FYI's) – We have staff with great expertise in the area of benefits and they pass that expertise on to you through white papers, which we call FYI’s, concerning various benefit issues you may encounter.
- Health Care Reform Learning Zone (Online) – There are numerous requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and those requirements have become regulation over time, and may or may not apply to your organization This online tool can help you make sense of all those complexities.
- PTO plan consultation and samples – Paid time off is important to employees and there are many ways of structuring it. We can help you determine what is best for your goals, taking into account the needs of your employees.
Legal compliance guidance in regards to benefits
Numerous laws impact statutory (mandatory) and voluntary employee benefits. Understanding the legal requirements helps protect you from costly non-compliance audits, investigations, penalties, and other risks.
For example, beginning as early as September 1, 2018, small businesses and self-employed business owners may have access to a slew of new healthcare options in the form of “association health plans.” This new healthcare option derives from a Final Rule of the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which was promulgated to effectuate the considerations of Executive Order 13813, signed by President Trump on October 12, 2017. The Final Rule makes a simple yet far-reaching change to Sec. 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); i.e., it changes the definition of “employer” such that small and self-employed business owners may group together by “industry or geography” to obtain association healthcare plans.
The EBSA Final Rule (“Final Rule”) also has numerous other implications. Questions remain as to how the new rule will impact health plans maintained under the still-functional Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, since states maintain healthcare marketplaces, there are many questions related to how the rule change will impact those marketplaces. As we learn more about this, we will keep our members up to date on the latest information.
Factors to consider when creating a benefit plan
We all want our benefits program to be utilized and valued; however, there needs to be clear communication that employees understand. The first step in this process is to make sure you understand your benefits offerings. But how do you do that? Here are some suggestions that can help you reduce anxiety and assist you in navigating the complex universe that is the benefits world.
- Find a good insurance broker
An insurance broker should be someone who works to earn your trust. Your expectations for a broker should be high. They are going to be your resource for compliance, knowledge, and creativity.A broker worthy of your business will:
Some may even be willing to interact directly with your employees on a regular basis. If they are a willing and responsive point of contact for your employees, they can take a lot off your plate. The added bonus is they may be a resource for your employees to contact if your employees are uncomfortable going to you. You can find industry experts by searching them through their specialty accreditations, like Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (CEBS) or participation in associations like National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)
- Take the time to explain things to you;
- Participate in your open-enrollment sessions;
- Promptly respond to phone calls and emails;
- Be willing to work for their commission;
- Be well educated and represent multiple carriers for your lines of insurance;
- Offer multiple types of insurance (think one-stop shopping).
- Standardize Processes
Developing processes and procedures with a specific timeline will limit duplicative work, as you may be able to streamline the process to work for all of your plan options rather than just one. Create a calendar with important reporting schedules as well as open enrollment and monthly enrollment reconciliation. Standardizing processes and developing procedures will eliminate many of the fires that come across your desks, freeing up time to be better spent on other HR initiatives.
- Get help
Employers Council can help with a variety of items, from reporting and enrollment policies and procedures to actually performing reporting and program tasks for you. Hiring us to develop a wellness program is a good example of how we can help you contain costs while developing a program that is compliant and effective. You are not expected to be the expert in all areas. No one can be. Acknowledge this, access the experts, and use them to your benefit.
- Stay Engaged
The information can be overwhelming, and the changes can be confusing. Don’t shut down. Access your resources to ask questions, and keep asking them until you understand. Insurance brokers, and Employers Council have experts in these areas and are excellent resources. I few cannot help with a question, we will get you the help you need. Lean on us and ask questions. We are all valuable partners in the success of your benefits program. You can also find a lot information through industry publications, so sign up for publications and newsletters. You don’t have to read every word in the publication, but you can skim them for articles that may apply to your situation or pique your interests.
Survey and Data Services
Understanding the competitive market in your region for wage, salary and benefits helps you come up with a plan for attracting staff you want to retain. Not only do we gather and provide the data, but we have survey staff who help you interpret the data.
- Regional Industry Compensation Survey Data – There are plenty of national surveys and they can be helpful, but reviewing the data for the geographic area and industries for where you find employees is most valuable. We can provide you with national information, and we collect regional information for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Should you need regional differentials for other states, our staff can help find this for you.
- Health and Welfare Plans Survey Data – We gather information from employers so that you can learn what health and welfare plans are trending, and to what extent the employer is covering the sot for employees.
- Paid Time Off Survey Data – Survey data to help you compare PTO standards throughout your industry and region.
- Pay Practices and HR Metrics – Location and industry survey data to help inform the salaries and HR metrics you put in place.
- National Compensation Data – Look at salaries by job title nationwide.
- Custom Analysis and Special Studies – Dedicated survey services to help you identify and evaluate specific situations.
- Commissioned Compensation and Benefits Surveys – Interested in comparing a specific pool of salaries or benefits? Work with our experts to structure and implement surveys that get you the data you need to make informed compensation and benefits decisions.
- Survey Questionnaires – Questionnaires to help aggregate survey data from our members. Participating now can help provide you with data later that range across industries, job titles, geographies, and topics.
Typical applications: Executive and Sales Compensation
Executive compensation – Executive compensation raises the question about the connection of pay to performance. For very competitive organizations, this connection is very strong, while organizations that value collaboration focus on different things. For HR professionals, the key is to understand how you compete and design your compensation system to fit your business model and culture.
Sales compensation - Often an organization’s sales force is the group of employees most visible in the marketplace. To succeed, sales people must take a proactive approach to representing and selling the company’s products and services. The sales compensation program brings focus to the company’s marketing and sales strategy and to the types of objectives that the sales person must achieve to be successful.
Types of industries served
Because Employers Council is for all employers, our member industry demographics generally match the states’ demographics of industries in the states we serve.
“I find the Employers Council Survey Data invaluable. It gives us local data on ost jobs we have in our organization. This allows us to pay competitively, so we can retaoin our current talent and attract new talent. In addition, the survey employees at Employers Council are helpful and responsive to my questions and requests.” Terri Evans, Compensation Manager.
“I have had the pleasure of working with a staff who
has her CCP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
certifications for many years. She works with us through Employers Council’s
Compensation Consulting Services to market our job descriptions and help us
determine wage grades. I can always count on her to market a new position in a
timely manner and thoroughly present the rationale of the demographics she
used. She has a strong understanding about our company and positions. She
presents different scenarios because we are in a high-end resort area which
makes it difficult to recruit and retain with the cost of living and housing
shortages we face. She is very professional, knowledgeable and great to work
with.” Linda Forgacs, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Director of Human Resources & Risk
“Employers Council has done two salary surveys for us,
a ‘big’ one and then a smaller one. The information was awesome. They go over
everything with you, take you step-by-step as to what and why something has
been done. Then you work with Employers Council to also see how the findings
will work within your organization.” Denise Babirak, HR Manager
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a salary structure important?
Organizations use salary structures as tools for aligning the internal value of jobs with their external market values. When designing a base pay plan, establishing salary ranges is a critical component. A salary range defines a minimum and maximum rate paid for a job. There are significant advantages to paying employees within established salary ranges.
What are the advantages of using salary ranges?
Salary ranges assist in the day-to-day administration of compensation plans by helping employers to:
- Manage and control fixed payroll costs.
- Provide a systematic approach to defining job worth and ensuring fairness and consistency.
- Create a flexible structure for differentiating pay based on individual employee performance, experience, or other criteria important to the organization’s success.
- Manage the size and frequency of merit increases.
- Increase employees’ understanding of how pay is determined.
- Clarify career progression.
What are the methods for building a base pay structure?
Employers have several choices when building a base pay structure. One method is to develop a salary range for each individual job. This approach is generally used by organizations with a small number of jobs, or by those employers that focus only on the external market for setting pay rates. However, maintaining a salary range for each individual position can be burdensome. A more common approach is to group jobs together into salary grades based on similar knowledge, skills, responsibilities, and overall worth to the organization. After the groups are established, a salary range is developed for each grade.
As a small employer, what should I be considering as I bring on sales employees?
There is much to consider, and you might find this article helpful.
What is an insurance broker’s role in my company’s benefit plans?
An insurance broker may provide some of the following services:
- Assist with strategic benefits planning which may include identify needs, plan design and goals
- Quoting benefit plans and services
- Provide claims data information and analysis
- Assist with employee communication
- Provide general benefits consultation