What Are Compensable Factors? The Ultimate Guide

June 19, 2024
Snigdha Parghan
Snigdha Parghan
Snigdha Parghan
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Isn't it ironic how employees are the backbone of a company, yet they seem to have a love-hate relationship with their compensation plans?— only 58% of people are satisfied with their salary, according to Ipsos' Consumer Tracker Survey. 

On this note, let’s start this…
Imagine, you're about to bring some fresh talent onto your team.

That's exciting stuff. But with the thrill of hiring someone new comes the not-so-thrilling task of figuring out how much to pay them.

The pressure's on, right? You don't want to lowball them and risk losing a great hire, but you also need to make sure the salary aligns with your budget. 

The key to navigating this whole thing? Knowing what factors to consider when setting a defendable pay structure.

That's what we're going to crack open today.

Today's blog agenda is to shed light on top compensable factors, why they matter, and how you can determine these factors. 

Let's get the ball rolling!

What are Compensable Factors?

When it comes to figuring out how much to pay someone, employers don't just pull a number out of thin air. They consider a set of factors that reflect the value and importance of the job itself. These factors are called compensable factors.

Compensable factors are basically the criteria used to determine how much an employee should be paid. Simply put, compensable factors are the base on which the compensation structure stands strong.

By considering these factors, employers can ensure they're offering competitive, fair salaries while maintaining the budget.

Types of Compensable Factors

Types of Compensable Factors

Compensable factors are like different puzzle pieces employers use to build a fair and competitive compensation picture. 

Here's how each one helps decide what a position is worth:

1️⃣Skills and Experience:

The more specialized skills and experience someone has, the more valuable they are to the company. Employers are willing to pay more for someone who can hit the ground running and contribute right away.

2️⃣Job Complexity: 

Not all jobs are created equal. Some require independent decision-making and problem-solving, while others are more routine. More complex jobs typically warrant higher compensation due to the increased skill and mental effort needed.

3️⃣Education and Training: 

Certain positions require specific degrees, certifications, or licenses. The higher the level of education needed, the more specialized the knowledge, and potentially, the higher the compensation.

4️⃣Responsibility:

This considers the level of accountability for tasks, projects, or people. Does one oversee others, manage projects, or take ownership of important outcomes? Greater levels of responsibility often translate to higher compensation.

5️⃣Impact of Errors: 

Some mistakes are minor inconveniences, while others can cause significant financial loss or safety hazards. Jobs with a higher potential impact of errors typically come with higher compensation to reflect the risk involved.

Why Do Compensable Factors Matter?

This might come as a shocker, but up to 43% of workers think they’re underpaid. And in 2021, 64% of U.S. workers left their jobs because of low pay and no chances for advancement. 

These numbers are pretty discouraging for everyone involved.

Employers always try to be fair and do right by their employees, and employees have high hopes from their employers. It's like a loop that keeps getting stuck.

But sometimes, things just don’t add up. 

The stats show that unfair pay is the biggest reason for people being unhappy at work and leaving their jobs.

The only way out here is to follow compensable factors precisely.

Compensable factors are like a bridge. They connect what employers value in a role (skills, experience, responsibility) with what motivates employees (fair pay, recognition of their worth)

When this bridge is strong, everyone wins. Employers get a happy, productive workforce, and employees feel valued and secure in their careers.

That's why understanding and abiding by these compensable factors are more important now than ever!

P.S. Managing sales incentive compensation in-house can be a real time-waster for HR, sales leaders, or admins. Using spreadsheets is not only a pain but also opens up a lot of room for errors and inefficiencies.

Kennect can be your savior! Its cutting-edge solution automates the entire sales incentive process, saving you time and ensuring accuracy, so you can ditch the spreadsheets and focus on what matters: crushing your sales goals!

In fact, Sanofi’s sales ops team saved over 210 days annually by opting for Kennect’s automation.

Now it’s your turn to streamline and fast-track your incentive compensation management. Book a free demo today!

How to Determine Compensable Factors?

How to Determine Compensable Factors?

✅ Identify and Define the Criteria that Are Valued in Your Company and Each Job

First, figure out what’s important to your company and each specific job. Consider what skills, experience, and qualities make someone successful in these roles. For example, is technical expertise crucial? Or maybe leadership skills? Define these criteria clearly so everyone knows what matters most.

✅ Prioritize the Success Factors

Next, rank these criteria based on their importance. Some factors will be more critical than others. For instance, if you're hiring for a tech position, coding skills might be at the top of the list, whereas for a managerial role, leadership and communication might be more important. This helps in understanding what should be weighed more heavily when determining pay.

✅ Match the Criteria to the Job Description

Now, take these prioritized criteria and align them with your job descriptions. Make sure each job description highlights the key skills and qualities you’ve identified. This ensures a clear connection between what’s needed for the job and how compensation is determined.

✅ Audit Job Descriptions and Corresponding Compensable Factors 

Lastly, don’t just set it and forget it. Regularly review and update your job descriptions and compensable factors. The job market and your company’s needs can change, so it’s important to keep everything up-to-date to ensure fairness and relevance in your compensation structure.

By following these steps, you can create a compensation system that is fair, competitive, and aligned with the true value each role brings to your company.

Just a heads-up:
Compensable factors are great for setting pay structures, no doubt. But like any good coin, it's got two sides. Let's dive into both sides and see what the deal is!

Advantages of Compensable Factors

👍Fairness and Objectivity: 

Compensable factors provide a structured way to evaluate jobs based on specific criteria like skills, experience, and responsibility. This reduces bias and ensures the promotion of internal equity within the organization.

👍Transparency:

By clearly defining the factors that influence compensation, employees understand what's valued in their role and how they can progress to higher pay. This transparency can boost morale and job satisfaction.

👍Flexibility:

The framework can be applied to many jobs, even new ones. By breaking down the job into its core components, it's easier to assign a fair value compared to similar positions. 

👍Market Competitiveness: 

By considering external market data for similar positions, companies can ensure they're offering competitive compensation to attract and retain top talent.

Disadvantages of Compensable Factors

👎Subjectivity: 

While the factors themselves may be objective (skills, experience), assigning a value to each factor can involve some judgment. This can lead to unintentional bias depending on who's conducting the evaluation. 

👎Limited Scope: 

Compensable factors might not capture all aspects of a job that contribute to its value. For example, soft skills or the impact a particular role has on the company's success might be difficult to quantify. 

👎Complexity: 

Developing and maintaining a fair compensable factor system can be complex and time-consuming, especially for larger organizations with many job types.

👎Employee Dissatisfaction:

If employees perceive the system as unfair or if their compensation doesn't reflect their contributions, it can lead to frustration and decreased morale. 

There's always room for improvement, right? While compensable factors are a great tool, they do have their limitations. The key is to weigh both sides before you go all in on this pay structure thing.
So, we've been geeking out on compensable factors, but all that talk can get confusing fast. Whether you're an employee or an employer understanding the compensation vocabulary is key.

24 Key Compensation Terms Decoded

24 Key Compensation Terms Decoded

Let's break down some common compensation terms together. 

Compensable factor: 

Key elements of a job that determine its pay, like skills, responsibilities, and working conditions.

Compensation matrix:

 A tool that maps out pay levels for different roles based on various factors.

Degree level

The educational attainment required for a job, like a bachelor's or master's degree.

Essential duties and responsibilities: 

The core tasks and obligations that a job entails.

Green-circled

Refers to employees whose pay is below the minimum of the salary range for their position.

Internal hierarchy

The ranking of jobs within an organization is based on their value and responsibilities.

Job

A specific role with defined duties and responsibilities within an organization.

Job analysis

The process of examining a job to identify its key components and requirements.

Job description:

 A detailed outline of a job's duties, responsibilities, and qualifications.

Job evaluation

Assessing a job's worth to determine its appropriate pay level.

Job evaluation plan:

A systematic approach for evaluating and comparing jobs within an organization.

Job evaluation points

Numerical values are assigned to different compensable factors to rate a job's value.

Job family

A group of jobs that have similar duties, responsibilities, and qualifications.

Merit pay

Additional compensation is awarded based on performance.

Minimum requirements

The basic qualifications needed to be considered for a job.

Pay grade:

 A level within a pay scale that determines the range of pay for jobs at that level.

Position

An individual employee's role within the organization is often synonymous with "job."

Quartile:

 A division of a salary range into four equal parts to analyze pay distribution.

Reclassification

Changing a job’s classification is often due to changes in duties or responsibilities.

Red-circled: 

Refers to employees whose pay is above the maximum of the salary range for their position.

Salary range:

 The span between the minimum and maximum pay for a job or pay grade.

Salary survey data:

 Information collected from various sources to determine market pay rates for jobs.

Task inventory

A comprehensive list of all tasks performed in a particular job.

Market pay:  

The average salary for a job is based on what other employers are paying for similar roles.

Conclusion- In a Nutshell 

The million-dollar question: So, when was the last time you reviewed your company's compensation strategy? Are you sure you're striking all the right chords with your employees? think again!

Compensable factors are like salt to a dish – they enhance, improve, and bring out the best flavors. No matter how appealing the dish might seem, without salt, it’s incomplete. Similarly, in an organization where there is everything but a fair compensation structure, employees will quickly become dissatisfied, disengaged, and unproductive.

Imagine an organization where the team feels undervalued and unhappy with their pay structure. How can such an organization expect to make its customers happy? Dissatisfaction within the team inevitably leads to declining sales and, ultimately, a failing business.

So, the next time you're sitting down to create or revise your pay structure, don't forget the main ingredient: compensable factors. 

Remember, just like a dish needs the right amount of salt, your organization needs the right compensation strategy to keep employees happy and satisfied.

It's your turn to make the call. 

Author

Snigdha Parghan

Snigdha has extensive experience in B2B digital marketing. She specializes in creating insightful and impactful content for various industries, including SaaS, Marketing, and IT. She uses her creative flair to breakdown industry jargon into relatable and meaningful narratives.

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