(Caplitalist Note - Salary.com didn't pay me for this. Like many HR pros, I don't have a great relationship with Salary.com, but what I learned at the HR Tech Conference has me opening my mind. For a full rundown of my conflicts, check out my Frauenheim Disclosure.)
The reaction you get will range from sighs to fists shaking in the air. Most HR pros don't like Salary.com, and if you're in the business, you know why. It's because Salary.com represents the first line of salary transparency to employees, the most readily available information for any employee to get their hands on to determine if they're being paid fairly. Here's how it works - the employee prints off some information from Salary.com, brings it to you and says, "I think I'm worth more".
Many of you not in the field are now saying, "ah-hah! I knew HR was soft! They can't cut it when an employee is armed with information on their own worth! Soft! Weak! Bureaucrats!"
Hold on there, sparky. The best HR pros will tell you that the following is the reality when it comes to salary conversations with employees who pull info from Salary.com (pulled from this column of mine from Workforce):
"No one ever looked at a salary range and focused on the minimum, even if that was where they belonged". You sit down with your employee and provide a brilliant discourse on your compensation philosophy, including an explanation of the range and the fact that most people migrate to the midpoint after five years in their position. You’re waxing poetic like James Taylor on VH1 Storytellers. Nice job. Now flash to the employee’s mind. He sees the salary range and wonders, "Why am I not past the midpoint? I’m the best service rep they have." The employee automatically feels undervalued. Additionally, no one has ever looked at a list of company-wide salary ranges and felt contentment. There are comparisons with the midpoints, the maximums, and with higher ranges to breed discontent. Your best training and explanation won’t transcend the employee relations issues you’ll cause."
So Salary.com = Tough, many times un-winnable conversations with employees for HR pros.
That's where I was at on Salary.com until my time at the HR Tech Conference in early October, where I took in a competition called the Talent Management shootout. Each year, HR Tech pits software providers in similar spaces against each other, having them walk through the solution their software can provide to common business problems that HR pros and companies face.
This year, four companies emerged as finalists in this competition, which focused on their Performance Management solutions - those companies were SAP, Lawson, Plateau and yes... Salary.com...
I didn't even know Salary.com had a performance management solution, and I'm in the market as a buyer for my current company.
Here's the other thing - not only does Salary.com have a performance management solution, it's also a good one. Salary.com won the shootout, and they outperformed the other software providers in all three scenarios, that included individual performance, merit distribution and succession planning scenarios. Salary.com had the least eye candy of all the providers, but it excelled at one thing - creating views where you could see all the information you needed on ONE PAGE (on one employee, but also multiple members of a team). It felt more usable in every scenario.
I had no idea Salary.com had all the functionality under the hood from a Talent Management/Performance Management perspective. I'd love to see their relative cost vs. the others, because as a pure SaaS company, I'm guessing they're the most affordable as well. I'll let you know.
Salary.com - now doing more than setting false expectations for employees, actually being the friend of HR - who knew?