Why an open salary policy will make Good Rebels even stronger

Fernando Polo

30 June 2016

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Three years ago, we had a dream, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to make it a reality. I would like to thank our Culture and Talent Management Team for their effort and Good Rebels (previously known as tecerianos) for explaining the ways and reasons to the entire organization.

Over the next few days, we’ll make our company’s salaries in Spain public internally. More than 95% of our workforce has agreed to share their pay information, which gives them access to a spreadsheet that has the exact figures, besides the description of the career track and salary ranges by category.

Why do we want to end the secrecy around salaries?

  • Create trust. Transparency builds trust, and trust is a fundamental pillar for working as a team (and professional love). It all started four years ago with monthly meetings where we internally shared the company’s financial state. Knowing where earnings go and what everyone earns, even partners and directors will reinforce this commitment with the organization in the long term.
  • Cement one’s self-knowledge. Our formula of open salary policy (and our InProgress, a public 360° evaluation done semiannually) leaves what our team expects of us and how they value our work on the table. Open conversations will generate an adequate feedback about our objectives and actions.
  • Reinforce meritocracy. We want to minimize the salary gap. Studies show that inequality (like the gender wage gap) can get reduced if we undo the secrecy surrounding salaries.
  • Cement autonomy. We fantasize with the idea that everyone at Good Rebels can someday set their wages. Making salaries public is necessary if we hope to achieve it; this marks one more step towards self-management.
  • Raise wages. We feel a premonition that wage transparency will force us to have the best salaries we can allow per company EBITDA and market conditions. Mechanisms of counteroffers or too marked disparate conditions among workers won’t be well received by the rest of one’s coworkers.

We’re not the first company to adopt this policy, but we know that it is a risky move. When raising the subject with other directors or experts, I have only received opinions that are against this notion. On an internal level, a lot of questions have come up, and many people are still not entirely enthused with the idea. If we already have a public salary policy, adjusted by category, and we all know where we find ourselves, why give so many details? Won’t this create an unnecessary conflict among coworkers? Won’t it cause those who are paid the worst to leave the company? Won’t it be viewed that those who are getting paid too much aren’t playing fairly?

We hope that the positives outweigh the short-term emotional pain. Digitization is making transparency key in and outside organizations. And we’re deeply committed to achieving radical transparency. In fact, I’m convinced that publicly-disclosed salaries will become rather common in the next few years.

We know that there are a lot of doubts around public wages and would love to share nuggets of wisdom in our comments section.