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With 20+ years of experience as the leading consumer and enterprise resource for compensation data, software, consulting, and education, Salary.com helps companies attract and retain top talent by enabling smarter pay decisions.
In an interview with the editorial team at CIO Applications, Kent Plunkett, Chairman and CEO of Salary.com, explains how his company has been equippingenterprise customers and consumers with critical pay, benefits, and career data, along with market-leading technology and resources.
Could you provide us a brief overview of your company?
I founded Salary.com in 1999. While working in the career space, I noticed there was no place where one could easily access compensation answers to support good decisions. If I were to hire an executive assistant, I would either have to find how much a friend pays their assistant or spend a large sum to get a consulting firm’s data report.
The lack of easy access to the right compensation data seemed like abig hole in the market, as not all companies can afford to pay a consulting firm. When the domain name salary. com appeared on our radar as being up for sale, we grabbed it—we believed if we get the right name, then we can build the business that solves the problem.Today, Salary.com helps solvethe world’s pay equity problems by providing data insights and tools that help individuals understand the market value they deserve to be paid for the skills they bring to the table. At the same time, we guideemployers to get pay right and provide their employeesfair,competitive, and equitable pay packages that enable them to attract and retain the best talent. This positionscompanies to foster greater employee engagement and realize their diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.
We offer a diverse suite ofproducts that leverage deep and broad data sets powered by real-time market intel. Salary.com is always collecting market data on how much people are being paid. This data is collected from over 30,000 organizations that report to us how much they pay their staff by integrating with their Human Resource Information System (HRIS) or other systems-of-record used for reporting employee compensation data and salary surveys. Our data warehouse has robust analytics capabilities with APIs for drawing in third-party data,manipulating it, and displaying it in visualizations. The combination of data assets and software puts the power of making better decisions in the hands of our customers.
What category of clients do you cater to?
We have two primary customer bases: individuals seeking a job, negotiating a raise, or preparing for a performance review who access our free resources and make informed career decisions; and the companies that pay those employees. Our business customers range from large multinational companies like Walmart and Accenture to local mom and pop stores.
Our enterprise applications—Compensation Management software and Job Description Management software—come with built-in data sets to help advance the workand enable users to get to an answer easily, as opposed to other data empty software in the market. Our CompAnalyst solution streamlines clients’ workflows to deliver smarter data analysis, faster decision making, and new insights into their pay practices. CompAnalyst’s AI-powered job matching, scoping, and pricing process keeps clients competitive while in-line alerts notify them when they are not keeping pace with the market.
Could you elaborate on the value-added services that you provide to your customers?
Our software is not only easy to use, intuitive, and data-rich but also the most secure application stack on the market. We are the only SaaS compensation vendor who passed the Salesforce security audit, renowned as one of the most rigorous security audits for vendors in Silicon Valley. Our robust security model and highly scalable performance has helped us land some of the largest employers in the US as customers. Nobody in our organization can see the names on the data files to ensure utmost security. Salary.com’s products can be seamlessly integrated with Workday and other key vendors of HRIS. We have a dedicated professional services team that supports customers with data-related queries and software configuration. We also offera professional HR consultant who can help companies with the trickiest problems in compensation management.
There are five major data sets leveraged by all players in the compensation management market landscape: survey data, modelled or “regression” data, crowdsourced data, executive proxy information, and job postings and job description data. We’re the only company that works with all five, coupled with the most usable, secure, and scalable technology. Our data sets are run through a 10+ dimension, backward propagation, neural network machine learning and AI-powered system that takes 30 days to process the data,calculatingtwo billion data points every month. It is a true neural network that we have been running for 20 years. The resultant data set answers any client questions, such as how much one should pay somebody in a specific location, a particular industry, or a certain size company. We answer the questions with a regression data point that may or may not be available in a survey. The answer is derived from machine learning based on all the survey data inputs. For instance, there aren’t many nuclear engineers in Anchorage, Alaska, so you won’t find the answer in a survey, but our database will accurately predict the market pricing and thus have an answer for how much a company should pay for a nuclear engineer in that location. And that is of significant value to our clients; we have a right answer for every question.
Could you share one of your customer success stories?
Using our CompAnalyst product, one of our clients, a large healthcare company, was able to identify equitable salary levels for the various positions within the company. The client used to import all their survey data into Excel and perform an analysis, which took months to process and required a considerable number of checks and balances to get these reports over the finish line. To reduce turnover and save time, this large healthcare conglomerate purchased CompAnalyst to more accurately market price their jobs and retain employees. This is one of the many customer success stories where we helped our client achieve efficiency in compensation management.
How has Salary.com dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic?
The workforce transformation happening in the pandemic provides an excellent opportunity for companies to advance the agenda of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Our tools can help clients conduct an analysis of their workforce and provide a benchmarking and scorecard as to where they stand in terms of internal equity, external market competitiveness, and overall DE&I. To our surprise, 2020 has been a great year in terms of growth and the intensity of our product usage. In June, we launched a new product in the Job Description Management category called JobArchitect, which enables companies to manage all their job descriptions through one integrated command center. With JobArchitect, users can easily create, edit, approve, and start a workflow—all in one place.They can also build and standardize the job descriptions by leveraging a multi-faceted content library.It has been well received in the market,with initial sales exceeding expectations. As companies continue to redefine job roles and embrace workforce transformation in the wake of the pandemic, JobArchitect helps them by simplifying compensation management for new jobs and responsibilities.
What does the future hold for Salary.com?
We’re working to expand the number of data sets that can be accessed from within the platform. We expect to launch five to six new data sets next year and introduce new surveys to participate in. We’re also working on software releases for the coming year, especially on the executive compensation front, which can be used by C-suite executives to price their jobs in public companies.We have big plans in the works to launch another product but it’s a secret for now. We have a very aggressive development team when it comes to pursuing a roadmap and we’re continually accelerating the speed at which we bring new features and functionalities to market.