Introducing Rippling Headcount Planning and Compensation Bands


Apr 17, 2023

Today, we’re launching Headcount Planning and Compensation Bands inside of Rippling. Together, they will help you stay on top of your hiring plan, tightly control your headcount costs, and eliminate an enormous amount of administrative work across Finance, HR, and Recruiting.

Why managing headcount—and headcount costs—is always so painful

Most companies spend 60-70% of their operational expenses on people. Two inputs control the majority of those costs:

  • Your headcount plan, which dictates how many people you will hire.
  • Your compensation bands, which dictate how much those hires will cost you.

In other words, if you want to truly rein in spending and control your burn, you need total control over your headcount and compensation.

The issue is that most businesses use spreadsheets and/or disconnected systems to manage their headcount and compensation—and that leads to a few big recurring problems.

Problem #1: Your team is never aligned and can’t get the answers they need, because all of your data lives in spreadsheets and siloed systems

HR and Finance teams spend hours updating hiring and compensation spreadsheets and playing painful games of telephone to answer what should be relatively simple questions, like: Which hires are approved? How much can recruiters offer to candidates? How are we tracking against the plan? That's because this information is stored in multiple, disconnected sources, such as spreadsheets. And to make matters worse, HR and Finance can’t easily share these sources of information with hiring managers because there’s no easy way to control who can see what data. 

Tracking our hiring progress is a nightmare. I never know which roles are open, which are filled, and which still need Finance approval. We spend an insane amount of time trying to figure everything out in Excel.



As a result, hiring managers have to go to a small set of people in HR, Finance, and/or Recruiting to get the answers they need, which not only slows your team down, but slows down the recruiting process and can ultimately cost you hires.

Your G&A teams struggle too, because they can’t easily view even basic information, like open vs. filled headcount—including new hires that haven’t started yet—by department, location, and other important criteria.

Problem #2: You can’t prevent pay inequality, overcompensation, and overhiring 

When your headcount plan and your compensation bands are stored outside your HR system, you have no way to prevent out-of-plan hires, or enforce your compensation policies for those hires. Your Finance team might approve a junior level 6 hire, only for the hiring manager to turn around and hire a more senior (and more expensive) level 9. 

FP&A does all this work, and the minute they put their pencil down somebody’s breaking the rules—hiring above plan, overpaying someone, etc.

Adam Swiecicki

Rippling cfo, prior to launch

This, along with most other headcount and compensation discrepancies, such as giving two people in the same role and level dramatically different salaries, are primarily due to a lack of visibility and automated controls across your G&A and management teams.

Problem #3: Your HR and Finance teams spend countless hours reviewing and approving requests due to a lack of automated controls

If you’re using spreadsheets and third-party tools to manage your headcount and compensation, you have no way of automatically approving or declining requests and routing them to the right people for approval. Instead, everything is done manually through email and chat. Not only does this bog down all of your G&A functions, it results in out-of-plan changes slipping through the cracks.

I’ve seen 5 headcount on one spreadsheet, 3 on another, and then ultimately nothing gets approved by Finance. It creates a bunch of whiplash across the org.


Rippling RECRUITER, prior to launch

How Rippling solves these problems and simplifies headcount and compensation management

Together, Rippling Headcount Planning and Compensation Bands solve all of these problems. They allow you to easily share a single source of truth for all your approved headcount and compensation bands, so you never have to rely on messy, siloed spreadsheets or systems again.

Headcount Planning lets you…

Create and share a single source of truth for headcount

View all your headcount plans in a single unified dashboard, so that every stakeholder with the right permissions has visibility into who can hire which roles, at what level, compensation, and more.

Track your planned vs. actual headcount and costs in real-time

In one click, you can view your planned vs. actual headcount and headcount costs—including new hires that haven’t started yet—by department, location, time period, and more. You can also give your recruiters, finance and HR business partners, and hiring managers the ability to view their teams’ hiring progress right out of the box, so everyone can easily track their own teams’ progress.

Tightly control your headcount and budget with zero effort

Automatically approve planned hires, and require additional approval for off-plan changes. Hires who meet your role criteria, like compensation band or level, are automatically approved—and when a request deviates from your plan, Rippling will route it through the approval chain you’ve created, so you can remove the painful back-and-forth of approvals and make auditing your plan quick and easy.

Compensation Bands let you…

Say goodbye to compensation spreadsheets

Create and share a single source of truth for approved compensation bands, so HR, Recruiting, and hiring managers know exactly how much they can (or can’t) pay new hires—based on their role, level, location, and more. That way, you can give everyone in your organization visibility into the right compensation bands, without ever oversharing.

Prevent pay inequality and overcompensation

Enforce compensation policies with zero effort by automatically blocking out-of-band compensation. For example, if a manager requests a promotion and the salary is above—or below—the band you set for that role, Rippling will block the request and redirect it to the right people for approval. And you can report on compa-ratios across any employee attribute—like gender, department, and more—to quickly run pay equity analyses and spot trends and outliers in employee compensation.

Create custom workflows using comp data

Stay on top of employee compensation in real time with workflows that instantly alert HR of changes to compa-ratios. For example, Rippling can send an alert whenever an employee’s compa-ratio drops due to a location change.

How it all comes together: Instant alignment and powerful cost control

With Headcount Planning and Compensation Bands, you can say goodbye to the chaos and confusion of disconnected spreadsheets and systems. Just create your compensation bands, approve your headcount plan—and Rippling instantly aligns everyone on headcount and compensation, provides real-time insights into hiring progress and headcount costs, and keeps every team on-plan and on-budget.

Want to see Rippling in action? Schedule a demo with our team today.

last edited: April 17, 2023

The Authors

Jimmy Tang

Staff Engineer

Dan Green

Product Lead, Talent Products