Performance Audit – Salary Analysis

By Sarah Buccigross

Small entities and communities engage an outside organization for Performance Audits for a variety of reasons. Performance Audits can help with cost comparisons, process management, cost containment, and an evaluation of staffing levels. They can also be used to help establish whether the entity or community is comparable in their salary and benefits package through a salary analysis. What the Performance Audit cannot do is implement the suggestions made per the data that is discovered. That responsibility remains with the community’s leadership.  

As government entities continue to face hiring challenges and compete with the private sector, salary analysis via Performance Audit, or completed in-house, may become increasingly important in order to attract and retain employees at every level. Knowing if you have a competitive advantage and how to market it can help with these challenges. It’s good to keep in mind three tips for getting the most out of your Salary Analysis, whether you’re outsourcing the project through a Performance Audit or doing the research on your own.

First, lay the groundwork with your leadership and make sure the support is there to make necessary changes that are found and backed up with data. It can be frustrating to spend the money, time, and effort to analyze your salary & benefits comparisons and not be able to implement change. Educating leadership about the importance of having the tools needed to have good recruitment and retention planning is essential.

Second, reach out to your neighbors and ask for their assistance. A Performance Audit can rely very heavily on the participation of the surrounding communities. This is especially true with a salary analysis because you want to be able to compare apples to apples within a reasonable geographic area. In order to have useful information, it will be very important to understand the differences in your staffing structure and responsibilities, even down to the job title. For example, the expectations of the role of the Maintenance Person may be vastly different between communities thus resulting in varying salary ranges.

Third, be prepared to make incremental changes. Based on your findings and recommendations it may be a long process to get your salary analysis changes implemented. Negotiations may be years away for updates needed in Collective Bargaining Agreements. Benefit structures can also take time to complete due to contract deadlines for healthcare, etc. Timing the changes needed to benefit your structure overall can be difficult, but worth it in the end.

If you’d like to join in on the discussion of how to perform or utilize your Salary Analysis, please join our forum discussion here.