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Reviewing Job Descriptions and Setting Compensation in Shared Services

As implementations of Shared Services transition from traditional work activities (albeit on a larger scale) to the new roles and responsibilities required to deliver redesigned processes (that often cut across geographies and functional boundaries), it becomes increasingly difficult to define job positions and set compensation structures.  Having accurate position descriptions and being able to define core competencies by role is critical to being able to successfully motivate and reward Shared Services employees.

Several recent iPollingTM questions asked Peeriosity members to comment on the methods used to determine compensation levels for Shared Services positions that have multiple roles and skills required across diverse activities and, in some cases, diverse functions.   The results suggest that for 64% of the companies the predominant approach is to work with Human Resources to obtain comparable market data, with only 22% responding that they primarily look for the best equivalent position data within the existing company compensation structure.

Here are the details:

ipolling results on the methodology for determining compensation levels for shared service positions job descriptions

Of course, working with Human Resources to obtain comparable market data isn’t always easy, given that position descriptions are often hard to match up with the position descriptions of other companies.   Based on the results of another iPollingTM question, the good news is that many companies are paying close attention to the need for clearly documenting position descriptions for various roles in Shared Services, including defining core competencies for each role.  In fact, 75% of member companies report having either Good or Excellent position descriptions for key roles.

pie chart result on the efforts of the company documenting shared services position defining core competencies job descriptions

A follow-up question asked members to comment on the frequency and triggering event for changes to position descriptions and skill requirements.   For 65% of the responding companies, updates take place on an ad hoc basis as position requirements change, with 14% conducting a review as positions open up or as job turnover occurs, with 22% either reviewing annually or utilizing another method. 

Because accurate job descriptions and compensation structures are important for developing and sustaining a high-performing workforce, it is critical that a formal update process takes place.  Doing so will ensure alignment between the realities of work responsibilities and the reward and recognition methods in place to value and recognize the evolving work responsibilities.

Here are some of the additional comments from responding companies:

  • Our Finance function conducts formal “whole job ranking” reviews every 3-5 years to ensure equity in comparable positions.
  • We don’t have a formally established and mature shared services function, but we do have examples of services that are provided across businesses. Because these roles are unique, we determine compensation using a combination of looking at similar positions within the company and working with HR.
  • We typically review compensation levels when we change the organization structure due to either adding a new service or picking up more work activities from other parts of the company.
  • We review compensation relative to benchmark data on an annual basis.
  • This is something that we are challenged within our Purchase to Pay group within the Shared Services team. We have combined several roles, and they are difficult to find in the market.
  • We review job descriptions as a part of the annual performance review process.

How often does your company review position descriptions for roles in Shared Services? What methods do you use to determine the appropriate compensation levels for these roles?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated e-mail system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participate in iPolling.


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