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Great post, Dan. "Best practices" usually are just "common practices" and often prevent real innovation from happening.

You are right - compensation professionals often just take the easy road, and rely on data as the answer. It's NOT the answer -- it's just data. Interpretation of the data requires judgment, knowledge and expertise,and it is this part of the process that allows you to bring into focus the unique aspects of your organization's business and operate at the strategic level.

In short, don't be lazy, but use the data to make informed decisions. Don't strive to be be average unless that is all you wish to achieve. And sometimes it's best to reject traditional thinking because, well, it's traditional!

Great Dan! Sort of like "damned if you do and damned if you don't". I personally think we will start seeing less emphasis on competitive practice due to a lot of issues. But this is a mantra for me ---- compensation is an art not a science.

Hoorah for Mr Sensible. The companies that say their pay scales/rates are market driven have a lot to answer for. Affordability and fit to the company's own position in the economic cycle appear to have been abandoned in some business sectors.

Any competent researcher can cherry-pick their peer group or craft their survey benchmark matches so as to derive a self-fulfilling prophesy. Then, after carefully customizing a backstory that predicts exactly what they want to show, they can claim their decision was determined by the data. Ha! If that generality was true, every employer would pay exactly the same as its direct competitors; yet, virtually no two firms pay the same for the same jobs.

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