In the early 2000s, SWA helped Alliant Foodservice develop a compensation structure for the five top warehouse leadership positions: General Manager, and Vice President of Finance, Sales, Operations, and Human Resources. Beginning the project by defining market compensation, we quickly learned that because the foodservice industry was so competitive, industry leaders were unwilling to participate in a standard compensation survey. Since a thorough understanding of market compensation was necessary for our work, we gathered market compensation data while conducting a recruiting assignment. We completed the following steps:

  • Contacted nearly 200 people working in the target positions at other large foodservice companies
  • Introduced ourselves as recruiters, offering legitimate open positions
  • While gathering information for recruiting purposes, collected personal and company compensation information
  • Reported base salary and total compensation data for each position, delineated by size of warehouse and location
  • Presented thirty-four candidates for selection

Though we took an unorthodox approach to gathering data, our market compensation study was as precise as any we had conducted. We developed a compensation structure that was competitive with the market and that varied by size of warehouse and location. As a byproduct of the assignment, Alliant hired four of the candidates we presented.

Key Lessons

Alliant Foodservice is the first client for whom we combined recruitment and compensation in a formal way. Since the Alliant assignment, we guide our clients’ recruiters to gather market intelligence and share it with departments such as Compensation, Sales, and Marketing.

“Blending Recruiting and Compensation was a simple and creative solution to our problem. Dean showed us how to improve both functions.”

John Shereda

Director of Compensation

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