I’m so done with spreadsheets!”
How many times have you heard this or even said this? Well, if you are an HR Compensation Manager, chances are you’ve said this very thing. You see, many organizations still today rely on spreadsheets to try to manage their annual merit and bonus cycles. There are few other processes that HR manages that touches every manager in the company at virtually the same time.
Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston created the very first spreadsheet called “VisiCalc” way, WAY back in 1979. Chances are that for many of you, this was before you were even born! VisiCalc was originally released for the Apple II computer and contributed greatly to the success of Apple.
Why is this a big deal? Let’s take one of our customers as an example. They have 1,030 employees and 201 managers. Each year at the time of the annual merit and bonus cycle, their HR Compensation Manager used to:
- Pull together all their employee data into one massive spreadsheet
- Build calculations and formulas to facilitate merit and bonus planning
- Lock down the spreadsheet so managers do not inadvertently alter calculations
- Break apart the spreadsheet by each of the 200 managers
- Send each manager “their” version of the spreadsheet
- Fix any errors in the data
- Reissue spreadsheets to affected managers resulting in multiple versions in multiple places
- Chase down and collect the completed spreadsheets back from managers
- Piece it all back into one massive spreadsheet so senior leadership can review and approve
- Finally reformat it for updating into the company’s HR and Payroll systems hopefully on time to meet the committed-to payroll cycle
Whew! Keep in mind that, for many companies, this happens in November and December. It’s no wonder why so many HR Compensation Managers are frazzled or downright absent during their family’s holidays.
A study out of Loyola University found that 40% of US-based companies, regardless of size or industry, use spreadsheets to manage this process. 40%! Why is that? There are three good reasons for this:
- First, this is often a once or twice per year process, so it’s been largely ignored by HRIS vendors until recently
- Second, everyone has access to some form of spreadsheet software. Whether it’s Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, it’s pervasive and already paid for making it a “no cost” option
- Third, Comp is hard. Many full system HRIS vendors who do venture into this space find that they have bitten off more than they can chew. They often deliver modules that do little more than “check the box” that they have Comp
Fortunately, there are Human Resources and Compensation Management software that will move you away from the old-fashioned rows-columns-cells view of the world and into modern, adaptive, and engaging experiences that are able to be rolled out in one to two weeks.
If you are still managing your company’s compensation planning cycles by spreadsheet, I encourage you to take a look at the applications that are available today. It’s time to finally get rid of the spreadsheets and to put your best foot forward.