Don’t Call It a Comeback: is Packing a Punch in Compensation

everlast boxing gloves tied together and hanging down

It is easy for traditional HCM solution providers to get stuck in a rut. Too often, they have a myopic view of the market and look only at themselves, their competitors, or last year’s trends. When the market changes, they struggle to keep up.

So, imagine a situation where a solution provider took some type of “sabbatical”- leaving the industry, exploring the broader tech world, and testing out innovative solutions outside of HCM. My guess is that we would see a more sophisticated, business-centric solution or at least, something we haven’t seen before. In many ways, this is what happened with You are probably familiar with the story. The company was acquired by Kenexa (now IBM) in 2010 for $80 million and then, it was bought back by the original founding team in 2016 with the goal of helping companies pay competitively, improve efficiencies, and enable pay transparency. Nearly 40% of the original team has rejoined the founders to develop a comprehensive suite of compensation and data solutions as well as training and implementation services. They have returned to try to innovate a market that has gone stale.

This week, announced new features to its Compensation Analysis Suite of solutions including configurable dashboards, interactive insights and a mobile application. These new features make it easier for employers to access compensation data the way they need it and essentially, keep their employees happy through better transparency and ease of use. Something, we haven’t seen enough of from existing providers.

Compensation is an interesting market and hasn’t had the attention it deserves considering it is one of the most important aspects of the employer/employee relationship. Employers are being held more accountable while employees expect more. And, so much has changed with the way compensation is managed for organizations. We are seeing an increased emphasis on competitive pay, the need for greater pay transparency, and new regulations around gender pay inequity and executive compensation. It makes sense that the founders of, given their expertise, would see the need for a more robust solution in this market.

We are covering the compensation market in our upcoming Culture survey and research that we are publishing soon. So, this is a market we are watching closely and looking forward to sharing our research with you.



  • Madeline Laurano

    Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency. Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today. In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).