Technology impacts every industry today, and most of that impact is positive. But for all the job openings technology creates, it eliminates a number of others. That means advances in technology are creating new requirements for candidates, even while they generate new challenges for compensation professionals.

Newer positions are turning into hybrid jobs, combining skills such as sales with statistical analysis, or marketing with programming. These new job structures were becoming more common even before the pandemic. In 2018, a study conducted by Burning Class Technologies found, one in eight job postings consisted of highly hybridized roles.

For the compensation professional, it’s no longer enough to take a standard scientific approach to compensation. Today professionals need to stay on top of new data sources and benchmarking for positions that include interwoven job descriptions with new pay grades. In addition, new local and federal government regulations should be reviewed to maintain equity and competitive pay structures.

How do compensation professionals keep up with it all – while they succeed in their role?

Sometimes success is achieved by mimicking what other successful people do. To keep up with the changing times and provide the best service you can, consider these seven habits adopted by highly successful compensation professionals.

1. Self-Discipline

Although we all can say we have self-discipline, highly successful professionals employ self-discipline on an hourly basis. They push themselves to tackle the most difficult tasks first, before moving onto the day’s other to-dos. They practice the mantra, “do it now” so they won’t leave any important tasks behind. And they understand that if their figures are incorrect or benchmarks aren’t realized, the business suffers.

2. Analyze, Create and Deliver Data

Highly successful compensation professionals make it a habit to invest time in analyzing market data and adopting it into an easily communicated format. This is the information that business executives need to help them lead the organization. A full 70% of compensation expenses affect major business decisions around productivity and key performers, according to PayScale.

It’s the compensation professional’s job to present data in a consumable fashion and share a coherent narrative and set of recommendations to business stakeholders. Fortunately, gathering data is a lot easier today. According to PayScale, 61% of organizations use free online data to help inform their compensation planning.

3. Prepare for Certifications and CEUs

Many compensation professionals begin as compensation specialists. As these specialists advance their careers, their responsibilities become more strategic and less administrative. Some may choose, or be required to, sit for the Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) exam. For them, preparing for the exam and meeting the required continuing educational credits becomes a weekly routine.

Typically, the CCP certification requires attendance at three-day workshops. According to SHRM, most compensation specialists sit for the exam after about two to three years on the job. In addition to the CCP, other certifications highly successful compensation professionals will pursue include the Global Remuneration Professional (GRP), the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) and the compensation management specialist (CMS). All of these may also require continuing educational hours.

4. Work on Being Better Communicators

Compensation professionals make it a habit to improve their communication skills through every layer of the organization. A recent survey by PayScale found that 54% of respondents plan to spend more time over the next two years increasing pay transparency. Open communication gives employees a better understanding of how pay is calculated and prevents some from assuming they’re underpaid or paid unfairly.

5. Strategic Planning and Benchmarking

More salary data is available online, helping organizations become transparent in their pay practices. It also makes it easier for successful comp professionals to conduct benchmarking and strategically plan for the future. A good compensation strategy provides the foundation for addressing labor market shortages, determining business goals and deciding how the company can become more competitive.

Regularly conducting benchmarking and focusing on strategic planning helps to plan marketing strategies and compete for job candidates for tough-to-fill roles. It also helps provide clarity for executives when they’re deciding on next-step actions.

6. Never Stop Learning

Successful compensation professionals are constantly striving to grow their skills, experience and knowledge. They try to stay ahead of changes or at least keep up with the latest change affecting their scope of work. They read books, magazines and blogs, and listen to podcasts every week to stay in touch with their profession. They also attend seminars and association meetings so they can learn from speakers, educators and peers.

7. Protect Employee Data

According to Statista, the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow to a value of over $345 billion by 2026. That’s because bad guys are finding new ways to access personal information from corporate computers. The successful comp professional spends a portion of their week learning, checking and updating employee files to ensure they’re protected. Many invite cybersecurity vendors on-site for educational sessions to learn how to protect their teams and company.

Developing Habits

Highly successful compensation professionals regularly work on these seven habits. They may spend a couple of hours a week studying for their CCP exam or reading articles that expand their knowledge of new concepts in the field. Or, they may spend time researching data for compensation trends in areas of concern, such as hybrid employees.

Habitual behaviors generally offer a reward. Regardless of the time they dedicate, successful comp professionals continually work these habits because it brings success to them and their organization.

Dan Roche

Dan Roche is the Director of Marketing at Decusoft and has spent nearly 25 years marketing SaaS technologies. Decusoft, through their Compose software, is helping firms simplify and manage their complex compensation programs.