Written by
Glizcel Ditto


23 July 2019


It’s hard to believe that summer is halfway over, and especially for those of us with families, we are realizing that our window of opportunity for summer vacations is closing faster than we are prepared for. And with the end of summer comes the time for some of the real work to begin. And for those of us working in the Compensation world, that might mean that we already have an eye towards what’s looming ahead at year-end. We start to have flashbacks of the chaos that was “Comp Season 2018/2019,” and we swear we will do a better job of planning ahead this year to try to avoid some of the chaos. But if that chaos is partially due to that fact that we haven’t quite brought ourselves to ditch our beloved spreadsheets, perhaps we’ve brought some of that chaos on ourselves. At the risk of sounding cliché, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (Thank you, Albert Einstein.)

So how can we affect change and stop this madness? Psychology 101 tells us to ask ourselves, “What’s the payoff?” What are you gaining by continuing to use your spreadsheets? If we’re honest, Compensation geeks like myself will admit that there’s a certain comfort we get from using Excel. We know how it works, it feels familiar, and it has all these shiny bells and whistles and wizards to help us use features or formulas that we are less familiar with. And let’s face it, the power and control we have over our Excel spreadsheets is unmatched… and who wants to give up control?...

…Until you have to divide up those spreadsheets to deliver them to each of the people who have a stake in the game. For some of us, that could be hundreds of spreadsheets. Unless of course you’ve decided to lessen your load by keeping those groupings at a higher level, but then you’re putting all the power of decision making in only your senior management. And some may choose to do the right thing and get input from the managers that are working directly with the employees on a daily basis. Others may keep full control over their spreadsheets, because, again, who wants to give up control?

And of course we have those Excel gurus out there in our management team who like to change things and manipulate their spreadsheets to look the way they want. Which is great for their own reporting and management of their group. But what happens when we need to bring all those recommendations back together and see how our entire organization fared? Or if we have to have cross-organizational calibration sessions among our senior leadership? At this point, no one is looking at the same thing anymore, and it will take “someone” to consolidate all of these different versions of your original masterpiece into one presentable, reportable, analyzable master database. Now we are once again questioning our sanity as we spend hours and hours of time wrapping it all up in a nice pretty bow, but all the while thinking in the back of our heads… “I certainly hope they didn’t change anything they weren’t supposed to.” or “Why don’t my totals match anymore?” or “I thought I locked those cells.” or…

So, instead of making the management of an Excel process your full-time job for a few months, why not consider some of the more automated solutions out there? I know… I can hear you saying, “But I love my Excel. And I love my control. And then what would I do?”

But what if instead of spending time worrying about whether the data has been manipulated, or if the right people are making compensation decisions, you have time to think about how to empower managers in their jobs as managers and educate them about what your actual Compensation strategies are. Or even better yet, you have the time to actually strategize about how you can address those pay equity issues that your CEO wants you to focus on. Or you can think about actually making some recommendations on new job and pay structures to grow with your business. And even be able to deliver reports and analytics as the process is happening so you’re not caught by surprise and scrambling to make changes before the board meeting. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll have PLENTY of time to still work with Excel all you want. But perhaps you can actually focus on learning how to use pivot tables properly instead.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about how to leverage compensation technology to maximize your investment in your people, please join us for our webinar in August - Click Here.

#UseExcelForWhatItsIntended #InvestInPeople