compensation strategy

How to Make Competitors’ Compensation Strategy Your Secret Weapon

Here’s a stat: 63% of tech pros expecting to change companies will do so for higher compensation. When they’re ready to go, tech workers can say “show me the money,” seek out a company willing to be their Jerry Maguire, and get an offer worthy of an NFL first draft pick. That’s why even though salary and compensation reports are great tools to identify compensation targets for top technical talent (I’m happy to send one for free, just DM me), watching your competitors’ compensation strategy is a master class in hiring.

First, Check Your Bias

Before we go further, we need to talk about one thing: the bias blind spot. A lot of organization leaders and hiring managers, seeing the promising future of their company and its growth opportunities, are great advocates for their companies but have a hard time seeing it from an outsider’s perspective. And this can be a barrier to presenting an appealing job offer, skewing their offers in the wrong direction.

Often, managers think that an exceptional opportunity is a big enough motivator that IT compensation, benefits, and perks don’t need to be as high as companies that are, quite frankly, less interesting. However, Dice’s findings indicate just how much that thinking underestimates candidates’ needs.

When hiring tech talent, it’s important that your understanding of their needs, wants, challenges, and objectives are realistic. Advertising your company as being a “great place to work” with “lots of tenure” or “stability” is no longer enough to attract and retain great talent, especially if pay and perks are low. This shift is why it’s especially crucial to remain aware of your current offerings and how they compare to neighboring companies, competitors, and the local IT market as a whole.

How Do Local Offers Measure Up to Candidates’ Wants?

Though your competitors aren’t going to share their hiring and recruiting playbook, there are other ways to align your compensation strategy with the local market. The right recruiting firms track accepted job offers and compensation trends, gathering information to help their clients make more competitive offers. Basically, we can give you insight into how to compete with top businesses in your community.

In my own experience, successful companies that satisfy their candidates’ hierarchy of needs better than the competition are the ones that end up hiring those tech professionals. First, you always evaluate salary and bonus (Pro tip: guaranteed money is normally more favorable than potential bonuses). From there, Glassdoor surveys show that traditional perks like healthcare, work-life balance through flex-time and PTO, and financial perks (401ks, pension plans, and retirement plans) are in the highest demand. All the extra options like free food, specialty coffee, or the chance to bring your dog to work offer individuality that can catch the eye and edge out an offer from a company that matches you with the fundamentals.

Know that if your compensation targets are low or just average – those other perks, the ones that do not directly end up in a bank account – matter more than you think. Also, if you cannot afford to pay for an IT professional at the level you need, you can lower the criteria for skills and experience. There’s nothing wrong with that – really. If your organization is able to coach, mentor, train, and groom less senior tech pros then that is great! If you simply do not have the bandwidth to do so and need a superstar to hit the ground running, just make sure your offerings align with the caliber of person you need.

Keeping Your Compensation Strategy Competitive

In this job market, companies need to be on point to attract and hire tech pros who will positively impact their company goals and objectives. I am happy to help you evaluate all of the above based on our third party compensation reports, historical experience, current clients and openings, and expertise in this local market. It also may be a good idea to partner with a reputable, quality driven technical staffing firm that can be a great advocate for you and reel in the top local and national candidates on your behalf.

Want to learn more attracting top talent? Get your free copy of our eBook, Catching Top Technical Talent.”


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