Do you think it's good or bad for startups to publicize employee salaries?

Buffer recently published a full roster of all employee salaries. Do you think this is good or bad for startup founders to do?


TL;DR; Yes it's bad, without understanding context.

Doing this, or any other organization rule needs to be considered based on the culture of the company and the goals. It's dangerous to take this one action out of context as to Buffer's purpose in building their organization.

Is it good? For some, that haven't been doing it from day 1 - I'm going to say no. My experience shows that most companies don't have a strict pay scale, and many would get upset by this.

Also, it's a personal thing - maybe your team don't want this. We do this internally at Clarity (everyone on the team knows what everyone else makes) but we don't publish this to the world.

I do agree that transparency helps teams focus on whats important, and can get ride of political issues, but it can also introduce other issues if it's not part of a bigger vision.

It's like assuming if you wear black turtle necks, blue jeans and new balance shoes like Steve Jobs, that you'll be a better designer. That's not how it works.


Answered 7 years ago

I don't think it matters either way.

Put a number out there and it will attract some and repel others.

Some people will be comfortable working for a startup; others will be afraid of it. More than salary, that will limit who applies.

Answered 7 years ago

I have managed startups as well as mature companies. I personally have never been part of a business that has publicized salaries, except as required by law in the context of securities regulation. Publicizing salaries might serve the personal interests of certain kinds of founders-those who want to appear benign and generous in the case of high salaries, or those who want to appear mean and all-powerful in the case of low salaries. There does not appear to be any legitimate business purpose served or advantage gained by doing so however.

Answered 5 years ago

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