Recently, a news article titled “The company where colleagues decide your salary” was published by a news network (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56915767).
From then on, a lot of people and media have been interested in our organization, asking and writing articles particularly about how we manage our salaries reviews.
Hereunder, I’ll point out what I think are the key points when reviewing salaries at 10Pines:
- We have two recurring reasons for giving wage raises: inflation and growth.
- Inflation: We do periodic raises based on data published by the INDEC (National Institute of Statistics and Censuses). This applies for every single person at the company equally. The country's high and in growth inflation context made us have this as a very important factor when thinking about wages.
- Growth: We schedule three annual meetings to evaluate this type of raise. It’s not mandatory to apply for all of them. This meeting is reached with a previous preparation.
- Each meeting has a “rates master” which is someone that facilitates the meeting to make it more dynamic.
- Those who wish to go can do it. We look for at least a minimum quorum formed by people from different teams, projects and seniorities.
- To present a raise to the other employees in the meeting a proposal must be completed containing the arguments and progress.
- The result of this meeting is a new proposal for our rates scale that is sent to the roots group to be approved first.
- We have already defined reference frames for our internal growth that are reflected as tiers in our salary scale. We call it “the pine growth path”.
- Each pine can choose its own guide company along this path. This role is called gardener. A pine can have more than one gardener. We usually have two each.
- Our actual model is in constant evolution and has a lot of improvement opportunities: the actual version is an improvement of the previous one and surely less efficient than the next one.
How do we beat inflation?
As of, (May 2021) we do monthly salary raises.
But it hasn’t always been this way, and since we are in a constantly changing context our internal policies have changed a lot too.
Recently we decided to raise our salaries as the price of the dollar rises and also we do a comparison with the inflation published by the INDEC. In case of a mismatch we do a raise with the accumulated difference.
Since this has a direct impact on the purchasing power this adjustment applies for everyone at the company equally.
Could I apply for a 50% increase for growth?
Technically, yes. There’s no rule forbidding it but it’s not a common situation. It hasn’t happened until now even after eleven years working this way.
I’ll now talk about how it works today: to aim for a salary raise in the rates meeting you first have to upload your proposal to the platform we use for this, indicating:
- The reasons why you are applying for a salary raise.
- The percentage of the raise you are aiming for.
- Your sponsors, meaning the people who you have already talked about and agree with you.
What do you do in this meeting?
Good question! We check each one of the proposals and go through them one by one. At every moment we visualize how the rates scale will be affected if we apply these changes.
In the application you can visualize the submitted proposal and the most recent salary raises. As well as those who support the proposal, even though they are not formerly sponsors.
We read the proposal reasons uploaded in the platform and, if someone has any questions, a more detailed explanation is given.
As a result, each proposal is either approved or marked for another iteration (detailing the given arguments).
The review is not finished until all the proposals have been approved or checked, so it’s possible that it takes more than just one session. We only had to make two sessions for the last reviews thanks to improvements made on the internal platform.
It’s not necessary to be in the session all the time during every session. We just need to have a minimum quorum for it.
Sounds like a nightmare!
We know it can be stressful. That’s why everyone counts with at least the company of their gardeners.
It’s not necessary to be present in the session during the presentation of your own proposal. Your gardeners will actively participate in it.
We understand that everyone needs their own personal accompaniment and that’s why the gardener work should be continuous, letting the salaries review be just another meeting in our calendars.
Under no circumstances do we try to hinder your professional growth.
How do I know if I have to propose for a raise?
That’s part of the continuous work that should be done by you and your gardeners. Here’s where the “pine growth path” comes into play.
You can check what are the expectations for each level in the rates scale.
So, you have different levels and categories. What do you expect from each?
Yes, I’ll tell you more about it. In the “pine growth path” we seek to strengthen different axes:
- Technical: knowledge that’s needed to do our daily work.
- Client: relationship with whom we provide services.
- Team: relationship with whom we work everyday.
- 10Pines: internal contributions to the company.
- World: recognition in external communities.
Of course, these expectations change their focus while you level up in the rates scale. There are four main levels:
- Apprentice: they look for completing their basic learning in the area. Its focus is to get the initial knowledge necessary to be part of a work team.
- Padawan: they try to reach their best versions as professionals. This means, by achieving their own knowledge beefing up their technical knowledge and reaching their own autonomy while being part of a work team.
- Knight: their objective is to empower the teams they are part of by accompanying their coworkers and contributing with their acquired skills.
- Master: they ensure the company's sustainability. They have the experience and skills to work in teams. They think of the company as a whole and actively seek that 10Pines is the best place to work.
Frame of what? Pine growth path? Everything sounds so confusing!
Yes, you’re right. But everything has an explanation: we don’t think pigeonholing people leads to positive results. We encourage each pine to specialize in what motivates them the most.
At the same time, we know each person is unique and we know there is a relationship with the stay in the professional career and the need to have well-defined goals.
We particularly note that there’s much more needed guidance at the beginning of the career and the growth is visible in shorter periods.
These are the levels that are faster travelled and we expect people in them to propose at the salaries review more often. They also don’t need great justifications.
Today, the expected growth is translated into a 7% salary raise.
What about objections? How do you solve this situations?
We try to avoid this situation since:
- People are constantly reviewing their own paths and performance with their gardeners so there is a better chance of detecting objections in time.
- You can see all the proposals before the sessions.
- We urge the proposals to be checked before the sessions. If there’s something that it’s not convincing, you can always check who’s the owner of the proposal, their gardeners and their sponsors. We suggest this dialog to happen before the rates review meeting.
Therefore, this is not usual. If it’s a trivial objection we try to solve it at the moment. i.e: needing more information about the proposal reasons.
If we can’t reach an agreement the proposal is marked to be reviewed again and those who had had objections will meet with the ones who created the proposal to resolve the problem and create a new one.
Is it true that people reject salary increases?
It’s not something frequent. But it has happened.
I’d like to mention the most current situation though: people do not present a proposal because they think they can’t justify their raise.
This was a great trigger for changes. It was especially one of the biggest motives to incorporate the gardener role and to have a minimum quorum during the salaries review sessions.
Internally, we have a lot of team leaders and a lot of times it’s them who intervene before a review when they notice that no proposal has been uploaded for someone.
Deciding not to propose is also a proposal and we manage it the same way: it may happen that someone without a proposal will end up the session with a new one marked for review.
This has to be agreed with the person and their gardeners.
So, if I didn’t go to the meeting then I can’t give my opinion?
The salaries review meeting result needs the approval of the roots group. It’s not a decision taken.
When the meeting is done, we create a formal decision in Loomio (a platform we use to register the decisions we make). You can give your opinion about it at this moment and decide if you agree, abstain or if you have any objection.
Once the Loomio is approved we consider this decision as taken.
However, it’s good to clarify that we do not promote this mechanism. We take it more as an “emergency brake” in case that the previous process fails.
If you have a strong opinion about someone else’s performance the correct way to handle it is by having a feedback conversation with your partner before the review.
If you have a general vision but you didn’t have the time to go inside each case then the best thing is that you attend all the sessions of the salary review (which are generally 2 sessions, at most 3).
Oh, I get it now… but still seems a little complicated
Honestly, I think it is harder to explain in a text than to live it.
I could keep adding more examples and more data but I think this post it’s long enough. Anyway, I’d like to highlight that, obviously there was not a salary review meeting, nor a reference frame, nor gardeners, nor developed tools when 10Pines was founded.
Each change has been the result of time, growth and the contribution of each pine either in an individual or groupal way that have proposed and boosted their implementation.
We consider transforming each space, process and ceremony to be effective and enjoyable for each person here at 10Pines is the actual key.
Do you want to know more about the organization in 10Pines?
We have a culture web site that we recommend you to read. http://culture.10pines.com/
We wrote a similar post to this one a few years ago and maybe you’d like to read it:
You can apply the culture tag filter in our blog to get the related articles: https://blog.10pines.com/tag/culture/
If you have any questions feel free to contact us through our social networks. Sometimes it may take us a little time to respond (because we have a lot of day to day responsibilities) but we eventually do it.