How to become a Compensation and Benefits Specialist
Compensation and Benefits (C&B) specialists are the great unsung heroes of human resources, and often they are the secret ingredient in creating a great work culture, a well-supported landscape of workers, and an industry-leading staff retention plan.
But the road to becoming one can be meandering, and the skills required to be a good one develop across multiple fields.
The main consideration for candidates looking at stepping into the C&B world is that opportunities are niche, and the skills required to be a good one are highly regarded. C&B experts are typically found in large operations, but every operation no matter their size needs a variety of skills contained in your typical C&B professional, such as industry pay banding knowledge, an awareness of benefits packages, and experience with generalist C&B/rewards methodology.
C&B experts need to have hyper-detailed insight into workforce management best practice, and what sort of remuneration models fit the needs of an enterprise’s people, culture and future staff.
They need to be super communicative – C&B experts need to have hands-on experience working with both internal and external stakeholders during C&B engagements and recruitment, staff review programmes, and reporting to senior management, and will be leaned on to provide context and professional reasoning behind huge internal expenditure on staffing perks and benefits packages that are intimately tied to recruitment and retention strategy.
Please visit our job description page to find out more about the day-to-day responsibilities of a Compensation and Benefits Specialist.
Step 1 – Get the right base experience
C&B professionals need to be masters of all trades, not simply HR jacks who are floating in a sea of compensatory packages.
C&B experts must have experience in Rewards/HR, ideally for a company that can display clear lines of C&B impact upon recruitment, staff morale and happiness, organisational psychology, performance metrics and team retention.
Experience in people analytics, SAP-like tools, labour rules and regulations and HR management methodology is a must.
Step 2 – Certifications
C&B experts ideally must have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Human Resources or Finance (or equivalent). Professional certifications such as CIPD, SHRM or equivalent are highly desirable.
Step 3 – Communicate your business power.
Central to C&B professionals’ success is how well they embed themselves into company HR frameworks. Whilst many of the skills that make a great C&B expert rely on industry know-how, qualitative research, and strong leadership skills, communication is central to all of it.
So to make the step up from HR to C&B, our advice is to lean on your communication powers as the reason why you’re effective at your work. As a central pivot point between staff, finance, leadership and recruitment, you have to be able to deftly and consistently communicate compensatory methodology and HR analysis to multiple stakeholders with clarity and confidence.
But you also need to be truthful and wise – your staff are counting on you to create pay frameworks that fairly remunerate them for their labour, that’s objectively decided, sustainable and competitive.
Step 4 – Network!
As with any role in HR, finance or senior business management, referrals and networking are the great door opener for C&B professionals looking for new opportunities.
Luckily, every large company needs a C&B expert in their ranks to bolster their recruitment and retention efforts.
Learn more about Compensation and Benefits Specialist careers.
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