One of the largest problems with using spreadsheets for compensation is user errors. No matter how vigilant you try to be regarding how accurately you input and manipulate compensation data, the potential for error still looms over the compensation process. One finger-slip, one instance of absent-minded data entry and all the work you’ve done is compromised. Human error is something that can’t entirely be eradicated, though there are ways to mitigate it. In terms of compensation planning and management, this boils down to double (maybe even triple) checking work after having broken it down into manageable units, and in severe cases investing in an automation tool.
Think back to math classes in middle or high school, and how much importance was placed on showing your work. This was important not only because it proved to the instructor that you solved the problem yourself, but also because it left a trail for you to follow in the event that you made a mistake somewhere along the way, leading to an incorrect answer.
By using similar logic you can cut back on user errors in compensation spreadsheets. Start by breaking tasks into manageable chunks or units in whichever way makes the most sense based on the organization’s structure (whether that be location, manager, department, or something else). After you’ve completed a particular unit, go back and make sure everything makes sense and no errors were made.
Dealing with calculations, especially against a larger compensation pool, can add further opportunities for errors. By having a plan, though, and knowing exactly how and where you’re going to make the necessary calculations you can provide yourself with a trail to follow. That way, if something goes wrong along the way you’re not scrambling through a spreadsheet filled with your entire organization’s compensation data looking for where you went wrong. By checking data within each unit you’ve designated, and keeping in mind how you got that data in the first place, you can find and fix problems before they have an impact on the rest of the data, making your job a lot harder.
That being said, there’s really no way to fully eliminate human error. But by being mindful of how you’re entering and processing data within a compensation spreadsheet, you can manage them before they become a larger problem. If you’re still having problems with errors after organizing them into manageable units and attacking them in specific ways, you might need to try something else. A compensation management tool can automate many of the processes where errors would traditionally pop up, making the compensation process much easier and faster. If you have any questions, or would like to request a demo, please feel free to contact us.