Building a new compensation and benefits function

Compass Group Inc is a technology and real estate conglomerate based in the US which employs 3500 people. The core product is a CRM solution designed for the real estate profession that is now used by over 50,000 customers in the US.

TRS worked with our client to design a team plan of 10 hires, broken down as follows:


  • 3 Compensation Analysts – 4-6 years’ experience
  • 3 Compensation Manager – 6-9 years’ experience
  • 3 Compensation Leads – 10-15 years’ experience
  • 1 Head of Benefits – 15+ years’ experience

Compass successfully IPO’d in 2021. Ninez Arreglado was appointed as the Head of Total Rewards and joined as the IPO went through in a standalone function. She had to quickly set about building a comprehensive team to support a large and growing US business and to manage the increased reporting and regulatory requirements of a newly listed organization. Compass engaged TRS in May 2021 to help plan, design out, and place a fully functional team that would deliver a world class operational service to their employees and ensure a competitive compensation and benefits offering that would attract future talent, with headcount expected to double over a 24 month period.

The concept behind this design was that these individuals would cover the three distinct business functions: Product & Engineering, Group functions, and Sales. Each area had very different priorities and challenges and would require Total Rewards professionals with unique backgrounds and understanding. Effectively, this wasn’t a simple task of replicating resumes at three different levels. Additionally, we were acutely aware of the importance of career aspiration and managing the succession planning concept within each business line. Hiring individuals at the same time in three different levels effectively can create immediate glass ceilings to progression so we needed to ensure there was enough head space at each level for individuals to come in and see a path of learning and development within their position for at least a 3-year period. As such, we were acutely aware of the experience profile and technical ability of each candidate to assess capabilities and growth opportunities across the three levels.

Our depth of understanding in the compensation & benefits profession allowed us to operate quickly within our established networks as well as to correctly position the Compass story and this team build. We lined up individuals who wanted to work together, and whose skills complemented each other.

We helped successfully hire 8 of the positions within 11 weeks from initial engagement, with the remaining positions filled by the week 20. The team formed an incredible bond, with an “all in it together attitude” and made a significant impact to Compass in a short space of time.

This engagement was a unique team build that had to be carefully considered and our experience in this niche profession allowed us to successfully deliver. We understood that for every position we hired it would inevitably shape the additional hires to compensate for qualitative and technical skills that were either still needed or that were already present in the team. We had to pivot and shift regularly to ensure we were not “over hiring” and we utilized a bi-weekly progress meeting with the client, making sure communication touch points and cadence never dropped.

We delivered the engagement without an external advertising campaign, which often confuses and puts off individuals who feel that their individual needs would not be met in a large-scale team hiring event. We were allowed to create and position the Compass story using our extensive networks to excite the market with this unique team we were building; ultimately, this method is what really helped us deliver quick and lasting results.

We received the following feedback from our client partners


Ninez Arreglado VP, Total Rewards

The team at TRS delivered what I thought would be impossible. They brought together an exceptional group of individuals that worked cohesively and effectively, in a very short amount of time. The knowledge and understanding of the nature of compensation and benefits professionals really stood them out from the crowd. With regularly and clear communication I always felt on track and that we were moving forward, and I am delighted with the end result. Thank you for all your hard work!”


Margaret Smith Head of HR

“You guys have done a phenomenal job, in what is a notoriously difficult area to hire in. As a former search professional I was truly impressed with the speed and efficiency that you and the team went about things. You have built an impressive team that many people are sitting up and taking notice off. Great work!”