Storytelling about Salary.com with Eric Winn
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 82. This week we have storytelling about Salary.com with Eric Winn. During this episode, Eric and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for using Salary.com.
Eric is an expert in compensation data and his passion for getting compensation right for organizations both big and small really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 30 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we’re talking with Eric and we’re gonna be talking about Salary.com. And I can’t wait to kind of talk with him more about what they’re doing at salary.com. But before we get into all of that good stuff, Eric, would you do us a favor? and introduce yourself and introduce Salary.com?
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, William. Hi, everyone. Eric Winn, Vice President of Sales here at Salary.com. A pleasure to be here, William, thanks again for for doing this and putting this on and having us. As I mentioned, my name is Eric, I’m the Vice President of Sales here at salary.com. I’ve been with the company for about five years, I took a brief hiatus for a year in between there, but you know, I’m now back and, you know, enjoying what we do here as a company.
So for folks that, you know, are unfamiliar with us, a lot of folks are familiar with the website, salary.com. We have a lot of a lot of traffic that hits the website for sure. What some folks might not know is that, you know, the majority of what we do is work with businesses to make software available to them. From a compensation standpoint, right. And I guess at the end of the day, right, it’s about getting compensation, right for organizations, both big and small. And through a combination of data and software, we allow companies to or I should say, help companies with that process.
And I know you work across several different parts of HR, and even probably into recruiting. And so so for the folks that listen to the to the listen to the podcast, when you’re talking about you know, comp data, and giving people you know, realistic look at what both they’re doing, but what their market’s doing. As I’ve as I’ve understood that in the past it because all kinds of things can happen with comp, you can go through compression, you can kind of get sideways, where one engineers making more than another, just because they’ve had better performance reviews, or whatever. And all of a sudden, 10 years later, they’re making $40,000 different from one another. You’re giving them common outside look of data that’s around the market data that then can help any of those people from recruiters all the way across to comp professionals have a better understanding for where they should be.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And we we see it across the gamut. William right. And, you know, big and small, right. I mean, you know, compression, what you mentioned, it’s a very real thing, it’s, you know, probably, you know, most companies right out there at least have it to an extent, right. And probably now, more importantly than ever, I mean, I think it’s always been important. And certainly over the last several years, it’s been important, but with the push for pay equity, which is the right thing to do, right, it’s even more important, right. And now, there’s federal and state guidelines, you know, around that, and it’s just, it’s important, I mean, it’s getting back to what we do, right, we help companies to get it right and to, to, you know, if if it’s off, right to have the data and the technology to make it easy to make those connections and hopefully, hopefully fix that, you know, if there are issues, you know, we have a lot of different conversations with a lot of folks.
We’re sharing our product on a on an, you know, obviously on an everyday basis with, you know, hundreds of different organizations that are looking to get started with, you know, data, or a combination of data and software to help out with that being one of the issues and getting those resolved. There’s a lot of reasons to do that. It’s not just about pay equity, right? You know, if you’re, you know, if you’re if you’re as an organization, kind of relying upon, you know, institutional knowledge for a position and a certain Metro, you know, that pays a certain rate and you don’t have any real data or concrete data to back that up. But maybe you think something’s amiss whether it be way low or way high, right? We help to kind of make that connection hopefully get that fix. You know, one way or another.
Are you getting clogged Are you because you deal with a lot of prospects and customers are you are you getting questions about how work from home or remote and how that cuz you know, it used to be relatively easy. You live in Boston, you know, there’s a there’s a certain kind of cost of living to to living in Boston and and then You know, you could do it by, you know, location. It’s video headquarters in Boston, everybody works in Boston, you know, that type of stuff. But now, especially with the pandemic, and probably even before the pandemic, people working in different places, I would I would assume, and again, you’re the expert, I would assume that comp professional is trying to figure out how this new world will, you know, looks and works.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, we’re having a lot of those conversations. And I think, you know, quite frankly, I think we’re all kind of still figuring out, figuring it out a bit. Right. So, you know, we’re having conversations with organizations, some really, really large, right, that are obviously, remote still right now, for the entire, or the vast majority, or at least certainly a good a good portion of their employee population.
You know, we have others that we’ve seen go back and stages and are kind of, you know, setting up and working through the hybrid model. You know, I will say, probably around and, you know, I can speak to the Boston area, as an example. Right, we’re here. So we know this, right. Is that around that kind of April one mark? Right, we started to see, you know, a lot of companies, right, and certainly some of you know, we do business with a good number of companies in the Boston area, right, in addition to having, you know, being based here, but so we actually see it, you know, we’re sitting in the in, you know, on the highway with with the folks that are back.
But, you know, we’re seeing, you know, we’re seeing a hybrid model, that’s, you know, pretty well, you know, been established where, you know, folks are starting to go back one, two, maybe three days a week, right, starting to open the offices up. And, you know, it’s just, it’s happening. Right, I think we’re still figuring it out, you know, we’re seeing, you know, and as part of that, right, that’s sort of a hybrid model. You know, they’re in office, maybe two days a week, at home three days a week. And I think from, you know, an HR person standpoint, or a compensation individual standpoint, or even, you know, on the recruiting side, right, we’re trying to figure out, okay, you know, what does that mean, for their comp? Right?
You know, I think from an organization, right, there’s, you know, a number of things that, you know, you know, a, an organization should consider, right, you know, one being, right, whether it’s hybrid, or completely remote, you know, is there a cost savings associated with this setup? Right, and what that looks like, you know, it’s also, you know, when we, when we look at, you know, companies, right, and companies are, you know, business is still going on, right, and, you know, companies, you know, US included, are hiring and growing and thriving, you know, quite frankly, right?
You know, I think this situation that we’ve been in, has allowed companies to maybe even broaden their talent pool a bit more beyond, you know, the traditional geographic area that they fall in, especially if they look to hire people and be at one of their offices or at their headquarters, right. So now yet, you can actually maybe look a little a little further out, and that’s certainly a consideration, right? You know, productivity, right? How do you make maintain and make sure your folks are being productive? Right. And, obviously, you know, there are different ways of doing that a little harder, or can be a little harder from, from a remote setup, you know, full time or part time. And that’s something that needs to be looked at, and monitored, right? You know, recruiting folks, right? recruiting diverse employees, maybe that you might not otherwise be able to just based on, you know, the geographic location that you’re located in, right. Your administrative costs. There’s a number of factors in there, right. And I think we’re, we’re all kind of figuring it out still, to an extent.
But, you know, it’s important for companies to kind of have have data to kind of, you know, to tell them what they should be thinking about, and maybe what they should be doing. And I think now, with what we kind of bring to market, right, some of the surveys, the salary surveys that that we put on, and or our are getting data from are starting to catch up a bit, you know, some of the changes that have gone into the market over the last, you know, year or so since COVID. began, right, and that data is important to have, certainly for organizations.
So some folks that I’ve talked to recently, the practitioners, and I’ll use to kind of the extremes of Manhattan in San Francisco as examples of where people were headquartered. And then their employees have moved. And so in San Francisco, they moved to Wyoming. So now they’re living in Wyoming and whether or not they come back or whatever, but but, but since last March, they’ve been living in Wyoming. And the question of practitioners that I’ve been fielding questions around in that particular instance, is, what should their comp be? Cuz, you know, they’re we’re living downtown San Francisco and now they’re living in Wyoming, obviously, cost of living is completely different. So how do they adjust? Or do they adjust? So there? Really, there’s what’s what’s for me?
It’s it’s a really interesting dialogue that’s going on inside companies to figure out, Okay, how do we, how do we credit, create pay equity? And, and yet, again, think about cost of living in ways maybe that we’ve looked at it historically? Or maybe we look at it differently. You’re seeing this on the frontlines. What, what what are you? What questions are you getting? When when, when practitioners ask you, again, prospects and customers ask you about, okay. My my workforce is moving again, whether or not the hybrid model and what we do in the future, it’s, they’ve they’ve moved to a lower cost of living place, be it rural Texas, or whatever they moved to? Do we adjust their salaries?
Yeah, I think there, there’s probably a couple of schools of thought there. Right. You know, now, I think we’re, we’re depending on the company, right, some are not necessarily making changes immediately. And we’ll see if that if that’s sustainable, long term, but I think you know, your example. Yeah, I mean, a company where, you know, an employee is, you know, based in downtown San Francisco, right, and now has the ability to work remotely and, you know, can move out, you know, finally move out to, you know, Montana, right. And, and enjoy nature and life right in, in the country. Right. Um, I think survey data will have, you know, is starting to and will eventually probably show that, you know, those those, those same folks, right, have changed location. And obviously, the, the pain market in San Francisco is is a bit a bit different than that of, you know, Bozeman, Montana. Right, right. So, you know, I think salary data will will show, right, that there’s a there’s a difference, right, in that position. I think what we do, right, William is, you know, we give companies that, you know, through our technology, and obviously, through our data, we’re going to give them the data point. Right. And now you’re right, yeah, they have insight. Yeah.
And they’re probably looking at other data points, and certainly other factors, right on top of that, but, you know, at least they can, and, you know, if, if the organization is similar to, you know, any one of our, you know, 8000, you know, plus software customers, right, they’re gonna certainly take that into account, right, and have an insight. Right, you know, certain companies might act upon that. Right, sooner versus later if at all, right, but, you know, the insight is there. Right. And it’s something interesting for an organization, organization to think about, right. I think certainly the employee on the other side, right, there’s, yeah, there’s a, there’s an impact there. Right. But there’s also probably, you know, an understanding, right, that, you know, things have changed a little bit. Right. And, you know, I don’t know that that would be completely unexpected. Have a daily that, you know, was in that sort of situation? Well, it’s going?
Well, it’s also interesting, because some of the harder to find talent, you know, let’s say data scientists, same scenario, you want to keep that data scientists, you might again, you’re wondering, what’s the what’s great about salary comm is you’re providing the data and the insight. What they do with that data, and insight, every company can do something different. Every position, they can do something different when so yells, job, and then what you’ll do really well is we’re gonna give you the data, you can make whatever decisions from that data that you need to or you feel like you need to and every company is going to go about a different and I would, I would, I would think that over time, y’all are gonna see really interesting things.
Because of all of our work from home stuff, I think you’re just kind of, you know, in another year, so you’re just gonna be able to see you’re gonna be able to render some things for us that we haven’t seen before, which can be really fascinating. I want to get your take on another question I get asked, you know, pretty much weekly. And this is really more on the HR and recruiting side is about when they’re trying to bring in somebody be it a job description or a job post or something on their career site. Should they include comp in the actual description like should they you know, most things on Indeed when you search for a job, you know, most of its, its its its cloudy language or vaguery at it’s best. And so a lot of the people that I’m talking to now they’re wondering, you know, what should we make that less cloudy, should we just say this position is or range between this and this? Are you seeing any of that from your customers and prospects? Or you’re hearing anything about? How comp should be rendered? You know, more publicly?
Yeah, I think we’re seeing it a little bit too. Right. And that’s, that’s a natural question that’s come up. And dedes been doing that for a little bit. Right. You know, I think it’s, you know, it’s certainly important, you know, where the, where the, where the data is coming from there, right? Is it coming from the organization? Or is it coming from from somewhere else? And depending on the, you know, depending on the platform, right, that’s, that’s an important kind of, you know, obviously consideration for an organization. I think what we are, and I don’t know, that we’re, we’re, we’re quite ready to declare this is the way to do it. Right, based on, you know, what we’ve heard right now, but I think what we are seeing is we’re seeing more companies doing that and providing salary ranges, right, for for those positions to kind of give up, give a sense, right. And it also, you know, also provide some, you know, it so it to your point, William, it probably reduces some of the cloudiness right, you know, within that, but you know, it’s helpful for candidates, right, that are kind of, you know, weaving through positions or right, or if candidates passively looking right. to, you know, obviously comps going to be an important consideration if you can get an idea up front going in, right, yeah, it kind of it falls within that range of, you know, where, where you as that candidate deem it to be accepted, acceptable, right? Or on the mark. It’s the difference between them applying or not?
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it can’t can’t be it again, everybody’s gonna, they’re gonna have to figure it out themselves for job to job company to company, but it is a filter, you know, it’s a filter in the filter out if you’re a $350,000, software architect, and you read a position description, you’re like, I this, is this is glorious, and their budget’s $200,000, you probably won’t apply for that job. I mean, yeah, just, you know, let’s just kind of call that what it is. Because it would be almost a 50% reduction in pay. And so you probably wouldn’t take that job. But it is an interesting discussion.
And I think I’m, I’m interested to see how y’all see that more in the marketplace, or what happens and trends and that, let’s pivot to some of the kind of the software salary comm software specific stuff. So because you’re on the sales side, you do, again, prospects, and converting prospects into customers, you also deal with customers as well. One of the questions that they asked it two ways, what questions do you get asked the most frequently asked questions, if you will. And on the other side of that is, what are questions that you wish people would have asked?
That’s a good question. Um, so I think in terms of, you know, what we tend to get asked about, right, with respect to some of our data, specifically comp analysts market data, is, you know, where the data is coming from? Right. And it’s an important question to ask, and it’s a, it’s an important consideration, right. And, you know, company, you know, company, companies are different, right, and their, their pay philosophies are obviously different. And, you know, the types of data or compensation data sources they will rely on, you know, it could be different from one to the next. Right.
You know, I think it’s an important question for most folks to ask, and I would say the majority of them do, and if they’re not, we’re generally educating them and telling them about where our data is coming from. And you know, the answer to that is, it’s you know, it’s an aggregated data sets, coming from HR reported surveys, right, that we’re going out and buying that are on the kind of on the market, right, we don’t actually publish any, or utilize any, any crowdsource specific data, you know, within our sets, because we just, you know, our philosophy, in putting data out is that we want something that’s been verified, and, you know, verified through a reputable survey vendor, so that we can kind of, you know, we can kind of put our stamp on it, right?
From there, right, we’re then taking and comparing, you know, data from a certain position from a certain survey to, you know, data from a very similar or the same position and another survey and, and another and it has many data points as we can get, so that we can kind of we can put together, you know, a slew of different data points that, you know, based on what these surveys say, you know, we are, you know, we’re basing them on validated sources, right, that are up to date, and, you know, reflective of the market. You know, I think, you know, on top of that right, when you get into the the software component of our tool, where where companies are, you know, loading employee data into the tool, you know, questions are being asked about and rightfully so. Right? What kind of reporting can I expect? How can you help me from a pay equity perspective? Right? Because that’s a, you know, that’s a, that’s an important item, right? Especially, especially now, right? It never was not important, but it’s probably even a little more important now.
And, you know, that trend will probably continue as we go into the future. Right? And, you know, our answer is to direct them to, you know, a slew of reporting options that they have access to, and the ability to run to ensure that, you know, really, they have good visibility into how they’re paying, you know, their various employees, right, you know, whether it be by you know, gender, you know, race, race, ethnicity, age, you know, you can, you can kind of run the gamut there. And, you know, we help companies to, again, have insights in a number of different ways, because what’s important to one, right, it might be a little bit different to the next
Real quick. Because you mentioned sources, I just want to, for the audience, I want to make sure I understand, do they do they ask about like, the freshness of data? Like, I know that y’all update a lot of stuff in real time, and, you know, it’s data is always be updated, but do they? Do they ask questions in terms of how, you know, new or old? certain data is?
Yeah, and they should, too, right. And that’s, that’s a good point. I mean, you know, we, we have surveys, we, we’ve survey data coming in at all different times, you know, during the year, right. And, you know, we are, you know, we are, we are adding in, you know, new data all the time, all throughout the year, our data is refreshed at the beginning of every month on the first of every month, so it’s as fresh as it possibly can be, right, with a number of different data sources coming in. Right. And, you know, certainly then, you know, from, you know, on top of that kind of putting the, you know, the comp compensation spin with our compensation staff, you know, on on the data by, you know, aging it appropriately.
That’s great. Oh, and I interrupted you, you’re, you’re also you’re going down a path of questions, that uh, that prospects and customers ask you?
Yeah, I think, yeah, it’s those sorts of questions. And then I think, you know, in addition to that, right, I mean, we, we have a lot, a lot of clients that will utilize, you know, and participate in their own surveys, right there on third party salary surveys that they’re looking to bring into the tool.
So, you know, typical questions we’re asked is one, can we house those for them and make them available through software, so they can easily pull in, you know, multiple data points as they market price their positions? And the answer is yes. Right. And, you know, how they can, how they can organize them? Right? And those are the right types of,
No, I apologize. You brought up a great point, and I want to make sure the audience understands this, that salary.com, you’re obviously integrating with other HR systems writer, and probably that’s the organization, I want different things, what systems? would do they ask you about those types of questions? And in terms of where does this play in my overall HR technology stack?
Yeah, for sure. They certainly do. So you know, everyone, right, all different organizations, the payroll provider, you know, most organizations at this point are using an ATS, you know, applicant tracking system, right? And, you know, those are the other right questions to be asking how we hook into those various tools, right, and, and play along with those right, on the hrs side, right, you know, how we can, you know, pour employee data that’s already in existence, right and organized on our HR is or HR, your it platform and get it into comp analyst, right, to now be able to run, run the, you know, the be the Reports and Analytics against that and, you know, manage our compensation process more effectively. Right.
And then, you know, you know, now right with and, you know, really over the last couple of years, right, with the prevalence and, you know, some some products that have come out on our side for, you know, organizing job description, management, you know, how we hook into our ATS platform, right, and bring the job descriptions right into, into, into the tool, our tool in particular called job architect, right, which gives folks the ability to basically have a centralized command center for managing everything relating to their job descriptions, and kind of having the, the, the easy, you know, the easy kind of hook in connection with with their compensation and how that relates to the job descriptions, because, you know, it’s sort of one in the same, right, you need to, you need to have the detail about the job right in and it’s nice if you can organize that in along with the same tool that you’re using the market pressure positions,
I love it. What’s? If you could wave a wand and get rid of any buy questions? What would it be? Is there anything that just gets under your skin? I mean, you got thick skin, but is there anything that you just like? Yeah. Okay. Is there anything that kind of rubs you wrong?
You know, I don’t know that there’s anything that rubs us, you know, too far, in the wrong way. You know, I think, you know, one of the other, you know, one of the other things that we probably in the past didn’t have a great answer for, but I think we, you know, we’ve changed that, to an extent is, you know, it’s great that you guys can give me data, you can give me nice, easy software to bring my data together and to easily have access to those insights. You know, what if I need what if I need help? Right? Like, what, what more can you do for me? Right? And, you know, we’ve always had a compensation team, right? To go a bit further, right, and help out, right.
But yeah, there was a, there was sort of a limit to that. So, you know, at this stage, we actually have a, you know, a consulting group, right, that can get involved in, you know, some of the more complex, you know, compensation projects, compensation studies, sales, incentive designs, you know, benefit analysis, you know, that sort of thing, and, or ongoing kind of projects, right, and those are areas that we help organizations out with, you know, today as well, I think it’s a nice, you know, it’s a nice, you know, hook in and in tie to the, you know, the product, set the data. And now, as I mentioned, you know, the ability to organize and keep job descriptions up to date within the tool.
Alright, so, when you demoing and your team’s demoing, you know, the enterprise solution to, to prospects, what what do they fall in love with? Like, what, what part where you’re going through your bit? It could be, again, it could be anything, but what, what are they like, really go? Yeah, I need that. What is that?
There’s, there’s a lot of sort of aha moments, and I think it depends company to company, but, you know, in the calls that I participate in, personally, and still kind of hear, and it’s, it’s always, it’s always really cool to hear, you know, on those calls, is, you know, one, right, from a data perspective, when you look at our aggregated data set compound, all this market data, you know, the ability to bring in and, you know, change what we call constant compensable factors, right.
So, you know, we find a position, right, it’s pretty close to what the position is that we have, and that we’re looking to pull a data point from, but you know, it’s not exactly right, right, or it needs a little massaging and that sort of thing. So, you know, we give folks the ability then to apply, you know, some different skills, right, whether it be certifications, levels of experience, competencies, you know, other parts of the role that might not be in the standard survey definition, right, or the standard competencies that show up in a salary survey, you know, we can help folks to go a little bit a little bit further right, to kind of fine tune and tweak that. So they, they’re confident they get it. Right, right. And we’re seeing, you know, some really, really large organizations, right.
I mean, there’s, you know, there’s some ultra competitive companies out there that look at every little detail, and they look at them often. Right? When it comes to what’s happening in the market, right? And what does this skill as an example, maybe a certain, you know, certification, right, that’s hot, new, right, or a new hot job or something along those lines, right, that impacts the, you know, the pricing of a role, right, that information is really important to have, we make it available by default within our tool, and it’s pretty cool. I’d say that comes up pretty frequently, you know, and I think on top of that, right, you know, for some of our larger global organizations, you know, most if not all, are heavy into, you know, the use of different data sources. So they’ll use our data sources, not only our market data, but typically our survey sources, both domestically and globally.
But they’ll also bring in surveys from other vendors, right. And, you know, important to them is right, I mean, we’re all busy, right? And it doesn’t matter your role, but you know, comp people, HR people, incredibly busy, right, and any kind of efficiencies and time savings that we can provide, you know, we’re certainly going to write and one that we’re typically asked about, and I think that we get another aha is the, you know, the ease at which using our tool, bringing data into our tool allows folks to participate in you know, some or all of their surveys and cut down on some of the maybe manual work that goes into the process or if a survey vendor changes the way that they they collect that data, we can take typically help them out and save a ton of time.
Love it. Brother, I told you it would go fast and it did. Thank you so much for carving out time for us and our audience and for talking about salary.com.
Absolutely, William. Thanks. Thanks again for having us. Great. Happy to be here.
Absolutely. And thanks for everyone for listening to the Use Case Podcast and until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.