There is no doubt that the rapidly changing job market forces companies to adapt to the new environment by changing their hiring policies and finding ways to engage employees. Results of the "Four Personalities, One Labour Market" survey show that 67% of workers wish to receive modern benefits. That is why the importance of compensation & benefits specialists is growing. Their main responsibilities include searching for innovative HR tools and designing highly effective compensation & benefits solutions.
The scope of responsibilities in the role tends to be very diverse and varies between organizations and industries. Compensation and benefits specialists create remuneration and benefits policies, motivational systems, health & well-being programs, take part in employee development and work towards building an engaging working environment. The end goal is to make their employer stand out among the competition.
It is the employee that counts
The role of compensation & benefits specialists has evolved in recent years, especially in organizations where HR employees are seen as strategic partners. Rigid systems are being abandoned in favour of more flexible solutions. An individual approach to employees is being adopted. Motivational systems are modified to keep up with changes to company strategy, the market and employee expectations. The same applies to benefits. Benefits packages are broadened and diversified to fit the needs and expectations of all employees. A strategic approach to and regular reviews of benefits are becoming the rule. Caring for employee health has also become a good practice. The above trend is only starting to take root in Poland, but there already are organizations which have implemented all of those solutions.
The role of compensation & benefits specialist has traditionally been associated with the following responsibilities: managing benefits and benefits providers, calculating the compensation budget, preparing survey questionnaires and performing statistical analyses relating to compensations, calculating bonuses (including sales bonuses) and working with IT systems that handle job performance management processes and compensation reviews.
Who does the remuneration and benefits specialist report to? There is no single answer to that question. In most cases they will report to HR Managers or, in very large organizations, Compensation and Benefits Managers.
One of the compensation and benefits expert's key tasks is coordinating and performing multi-level analyses of compensation systems as well as proposing solutions that correspond with company and market policies. The above is meant to ensure high motivation among employees. To be successful at those tasks, compensation & benefits specialists are required to have broad knowledge of standards, a thorough understanding of the business and familiarity with the company for which they are designing compensation and benefits policies. We must not forget the importance of keeping track of the competition and market trends. Thus, surveys, benchmarks and internal analyses are important, but so is taking part in conferences and trainings as well as meetings and discussions with professionals who are responsible for devising compensation strategies for other companies.
Diversifying to meet expectations
The day-to-day tasks of compensation and benefits specialists involve designing the most efficient and modern compensation and benefits solutions to improve employee engagement, retention and talent growth. If that is to happen, the range of benefits offered has to be periodically updated to provide unique value. Employee expectations are changing with each coming year. That is why the company's range of benefits should go beyond financial incentives and be diverse enough to appeal to individual needs. The offered benefits should not only satisfy the needs of the organization's employees but also attract new talent. Benefits packages also include elements that improve the style and quality of work, foster career development, improve the health and personal lives of employees. Compensation and benefits specialists often use employee engagement surveys to assess how benefits and compensations are perceived by employees.
Any changes to benefits and compensations should be appropriately communicated, which is another responsibility of compensation and benefits specialists. Furthermore, they are also often required to prepare and conduct training programs including training managers on compensation management. Other key responsibilities include preparing reports and analyses for the board. Compensation and benefits specialists also handle the very important task of monitoring legal changes that affect employer expenses. Many organizations also require them to take active part in writing job descriptions and performing job evaluations using Hay Group and Mercer methods.
How much do benefits and compensation specialists earn?
Depending on industry, region and company size/capital, compensation and benefits specialists earn between PLN 5500 and 8000 (gross). Salaries increase along with qualifications and, in the case of multinational organizations, foreign language skills.
Essential competences expected from Comp&Ben specialists
- Monitoring compensation and benefits trends, devising recommendations of individual and processual changes;
- Participating in creating and optimizing compensation and bonus systems;
- Overseeing benefits systems, performing calculations, cooperating with external companies in line with the compensation and benefits policy;
- Familiarity with benefits tools and platforms, negotiating with benefits providers;
- Knowledge of labour, social insurance and tax laws;
- Preparing analyses on regulating compensations, modifying benefits systems and labour costs;
- Creating essential internal regulations and procedures and planning communications to ensure that all members of the organization are aware of the regulations and procedures;
- Researching employee needs and keeping abreast of new employee motivation methods;
- Preparing work time reports and calculating overtime;
- Supporting HR projects with knowledge and organizational skills, automating HR and compensation processes.
Agnieszka Pastuła, Team Manager HR & Legal, Antal