How Do You Set Up A Salary Model That Has Everyone’s Approval?
Remuneration policy reflects an organisation’s culture. It’s a calling card for your company and a key element of employer branding. Given current recruiting challenges, it also determines who wants to join or stay with your company.
What Is A Salary Model?
A salary model, or remuneration policy, is a system of guidance that an organisation uses to determine each employee’s remuneration (a.k.a. package). A typical salary model takes into account things like merit, length of employment, and pay compared to similar positions.
You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
~ John Lydgate
Salary models are almost always contentious, and the source of frequent fractious arguments and ill-will. Few people favour being treated just like everybody else, seeing themselves as individuals. Yes, fairness has a role to play – humans and capuchins both being acutely attuned to the notion of fairness. But who adjudicates what is fair when it comes to salaries and other remunerations?
At Familiar, and now at TheQuintessentialGroup, we seek to treat people as adults, and encourage adult-to-adult interactions. Accordingly, we believe that only the individual in question is at all placed to decide what is fair, and thus to determine their personal individual salary or other remuneration. Our experiences at Familiar showed this idea as entirely workable, and helped us learn the amazing up-side to such a salary model.
This perspective also aligns with the Antimatter Principle: “Attend to folks’ needs”. Who else but the individual can truly decide what their needs are, salary-wise? Needless to say, the Antimatter Principle stands proud at the heart of TheQuintessentialGroup’s approach to community-building, and to business.
So, for clarity, this salary model states:
Each fellow decides his or her own salary (or other remuneration, depending on engagement model). Each fellow is free to change salary or other remuneration levels as and when – and as often as – they see fit.
Note: This particulalr salary model is the salary model of choice for TheQuintessentialGroup.
One wrinkle that did emerge at Familiar, given the totally alien nature of this salary model, was the difficulty some folks had in deciding on the specifics of their package. We discovered that support and dialogue amongst fellows (along with full transparency for all) helped greatly with resolving this difficulty.
Another, more general wrinkle is the collective assumptions and beliefs of the decision-makers and those that sign off – or don’t – on the salary model. The headline of this post is about winning everyone’s approval. Managers and executives that have a sublimated Theory-X view of the world probably won’t approve of this salary model. Which I find sad, for the people and for the performance of the workforce (and thus, of the organisation).
“Has everyone’s approval” seems to me a pretty low bar. I’d prefer to see a salary model that “everyone loves and raves about”. How about you?