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Conduct a Salary Assessment

Prevent and address inequities before they transform into bigger problems.

  • Organizations are facing difficulties keeping salaries up to date with the rapidly changing labor market. Employees often do not perceive their salaries as competitive and look for higher paying jobs at other organizations.
  • As employees are becoming increasingly comfortable discussing pay with colleagues, they are finding out about internal pay gaps through informal mediums. This frequently results in lower levels of engagement, mistrust, and turnover.
  • By the time organizations decide to conduct a salary review, pain points have cumulated to be significant, making the process and implementation of salary adjustments a larger task than it could have been if it was prioritized proactively.

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Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Haphazardly delving into a salary assessment without ensuring that the foundational elements (e.g. job descriptions, market positioning strategy) are in order will not yield results.
  • Implementing remedial salary adjustments without having addressed the systemic issues causing the pay gaps only perpetuates the problem.

Impact and Result

  • Adopt a proactive mindset by assigning an annual cadence to salary assessments, at a minimum, and conducting more frequent assessments based on need (e.g. roles or departments critical to operational continuity), to ensure internal and external equity.
  • Assess pay gaps for signs of systemic patterns of inequity and investigate organizational practices across the employee lifecycle to identify root causes.
  • Avoid losing traction; understand that internal and external pay equity requires sustained focus and commitment.

Conduct a Salary Assessment Research & Tools

1. Assess current state

Gather data and employee feedback to identify pain points that are potentially caused by salary issues and determine the scope of the assessment.

2. Prepare to conduct the salary assessment

Assess whether job descriptions need to be updated, confirm target market positioning, review benchmark roles, and gather market data.

3. Analyze data and identify compensation issues

Conduct a cohort analysis across the organization, identify salary adjustments, and determine the approach to remediations..

4. Address issues and plan for future

Secure leadership alignment, develop a communication plan, identify patterns of systemic inequity and their root cause, revisit salary administration guidelines.

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Get the help you need in this 7-phase advisory process. You'll receive 16 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Identify pain points and priorities
  • Call 1: Review the data that needs to be gathered to identify pain points.
  • Call 2: Determine the scope of the salary assessment and set goals and metrics to measure success.

Guided Implementation 2: Review salary data
  • Call 1: Examine whether updates are needed to job descriptions, the job worth hierarchy, or the compensation philosophy.
  • Call 2: Analyze market data and if pay bands need to be adjusted.

Guided Implementation 3: Identify and address compensation issues
  • Call 1: Explore the results from the Salary Structure Assessment Tool and identify potential inequities.
  • Call 2: Identify inequities that are justifiable and those that require adjustments.
  • Call 3: Review the remediation plan.
  • Call 4: Draft salary administration guidelines and a communication plan.

Guided Implementation 4: Assess current state
  • Call 1: Prepare to gather needed data, discuss scope and transparency.
  • Call 2: Review results of data gathering and pain points, finalize scope and transparency.

Guided Implementation 5: Prepare to conduct the salary assessment
  • Call 1: Review job descriptions, market positioning, and determine need for additional market data.
  • Call 2: Update market data, adjust salary ranges if necessary, and finalize approach to salary assessment.

Guided Implementation 6: Analyze data and identify compensation issues
  • Call 1: Review foundational salary metrics and demonstrate how to use the Salary Assessment Tool to conduct salary data analysis.
  • Call 2: Discuss completed data analysis and review potential salary adjustments and budget impact.

Guided Implementation 7: Address issues and plan for future
  • Call 1: Finalize remediation approach and plan to secure leadership alignment and buy-in.
  • Call 2: Discuss how to identify justifiable pay gaps to uncover systemic patterns of inequity.


  • Joanna Colosimo, Vice President, Workforce Equity & Compliance Strategy, DCI Consulting
  • Chuck Csizmar, Principal, CMC Compensation Group
  • Kathleen Jinkerson, Practice Leader, HR & Total Rewards Solutions, The Talent Company Ltd.
  • Syma Khan, Senior Director, Compensation, Loblaw Companies
  • Bramora Rebello, Director, Total Rewards and Corporate HR Services, Chemtrade Logistics
  • Steven Osiel, Vice-President, Total Rewards, Lightspeed Commerce Inc.
  • Thomas Sasso, Assistant Professor, Department of Management, University of Guelph
  • Matthew Sebastian, Compensation Consultant
  • Dr. Parbudyal Singh, Professor, Human Resources, York University
  • Anonymous Contributor