Recently we were asked by a client why more associations don’t benchmark salary data for their members. As we approach our 10th anniversary serving the association industry as a benchmarking provider, we’ve learned that comparative industry data is one of the most highly beneficial tools that an association can supply its members, yet most associations don’t overcome three common stumbling blocks when attempting to implement their program.
Ray McDonald, President of Dynamic Benchmarking shed light on this subject in the webinar provided June 27th, “Getting your C & B Study off the ground”. Citing that, “Salary Survey” is a commonly used term, but is not synonymous with a Compensation and Benefits study, he discusses several techniques to prevail over limitations in member confidence, participation, and cost. These techniques have proven successful for many organizations regardless of the member size or type of industry.
How to Afford an Annual Comp & Benefits Survey: Do you want to charge your members for the survey results? If so, it’s best to develop a pricing strategy around the association’s specific revenue goals. Create a survey reports pricing model analogous to the membership pricing model, and then determine the best revenue channel(s), whether it be through sponsorships, selling report access to non-members or suppliers, and/or providing white papers at an additional cost.
But what if members are not inherently comfortable with giving out their salary information? There is a mentality coming primarily from a history of being exposed to “Static” surveys, where the participant receives a spreadsheet to fill out, the process is done in-house, raw data is touch by many hands, and the resultant data can be subject to corruption. A benchmarking study, in contrast, takes aggregated (non-personalized) data and stores it in a data warehouse that is protected 24/7. A reputable benchmarking provider will also provide a password protected Login, and offer specific administrative control to the association to effectively monitor (all) user access.
“Our association provided a salary survey last year and we got low participation, and it took our staff too many hours to analyze the data for reporting.” This is another byproduct of a “Static” survey. It’s just too hard to get members to fill-out sheets or enter their data on a static website. The value proposition just isn’t there. However, there are several ways to avoid low participation with an effective pre-planned approach to the study. Pre-marketing the study, offering incentives, considering mandatory participation as a new member, stakeholder and industry leader support, ensuring peer-to-peer comparison, minimal time between data collection and results delivery, and proving the impact ROI for the member.