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Why survey data (still) matters

     
April 10, 2020

Reliable survey data is now more essential than ever

Times of uncertainty naturally make us feel overwhelmed and anxious. We look at shrinking workforces and reduced budgets, wondering how we are going to manage through this challenging time. For HR managers being asked to do more with less, it's tempting to look at HR surveys as a variable cost that could be cut for a while.

It's also tempting to spend time on other essential activities and choose not to participate in compensation and benefits surveys.

But now is exactly when surveys can provide you with critical strategic and tactical advice.

Huge numbers of incumbents who were counted in our prior surveys may be on the verge of unemployment, if they haven’t already been terminated. And, from what we saw in 2008/2009, employers will likely be adjusting their incentive plans and payouts based on revised expectations. They may also choose to limit 401(k) matches and freeze or reduce salaries.

So, as reliable as Mercer's surveys normally are — the ones already published are quickly losing their predictive value. Applying an aging factor to your pre-2020 surveys will not be a reliable way to gauge compensation levels for 2021.

Keep in mind

As you think about your survey participation and purchasing plan, keep the following considerations in mind. Many of these things will change over the next year and you will need reliable information to develop plans for leadership, provide guidance to managers, and conduct analysis that will ensure you continue to reward employees appropriately.

  • Your compensation philosophy may need to change.
  • Your labor market competitors may now be different.
  • New or different critical roles in your organization may emerge.
  • Planning and allocating your annual increase budget for 2021 may differ.

Why you still need current survey data

Mercer surveys can give you the confidence of your convictions when you suggest compensation and rewards packages for new hires. (Yes, strategic hiring will continue to take place, but the definition of which jobs are critical and the responsibilities for those jobs may be different than before.)

Having current survey information at your fingertips lowers the risk that you will be offering too much — or too little — in the turbulent workforce market we face.

Of course, we hope that you will invest in a comprehensive set of Mercer surveys to fully support benchmarking and annual planning needs.

But in the months ahead, you may find a handful of our surveys and reports to be of particular importance. If your responsibility is mainly for the United States, then these surveys and reports are probably top priority for you: Mercer Benchmark Database Survey – our fully featured compensation survey, covering more than 3 million employees in more than 3,000 companies.

Industry Specific Surveys – data specific to 10 unique industries from over 35,000 employers; find the data to represent your unique roles and supplement your general industry data.

Compensation Planning Pulse Survey – up-to-date information on how employers are handling annual increases and budgets in this rapidly changing environment.

Compensation Policies and Practices – enhance your compensation management with information on policies and practices such as car policies, leave, perquisites, shift premiums, and much more.

If your responsibility extends to other parts of the globe, you may also consider incorporating some of these surveys in your compensation management plan this year:

Total Remuneration Surveys (TRS) – our premier total remuneration surveys, covering all forms of cash compensation, long-term incentives, and benefits for 300,000 surveyed jobs in over 140 countries.

Global Compensation Planning Report – hard-to-find information on salary trends and key economic and labor market indices in one handy volume — now updated quarterly.

Severance Pay Policies Around the World – detailed country-specific reports prepared by local Mercer experts on employment contracts, the local legal employment framework, the rules for terminating employees, and any severance payments due upon termination.

Vacation and Other Leave Policies – Create competitive leave offerings using reliable market data alongside information on statutory requirements around the world.

Looking for something else? We’re here to help. Contact us at surveys@mercer.com or call 855-286-5302. One of our associates will be happy to talk about your specific needs.