Buffer, a San Francisco based Social media startup, recently published the salaries of its employees on public domain. While this has generated a lot of buzz and good will, there is a good deal of debate on if this was indeed a wise move. http://qz.com/160348/why-a-startup-just-published-all-of-its-employees-salaries-for-the-world-to-see/#!
As a startup, it can probably afford to put out the salaries and methods of calculation, but as the organization grows, it’s only going to get tougher. What might seem like a brilliant idea right now will only blow up in its face if it not planned properly. In an idealistic world, we would love to follow salary formulas to the ‘t’ but very often a candidate comes along who won’t join at the offered salary and the business refuses to let him go. It only takes one such candidate to have it all tumbling down. Compensating outliers is always a challenge. The upside is that the salary formula is constantly evolving. We just have to see if they evolve it to fit exceptions too.
On the other hand, since they have taken this decision and put it out there, it might work for them. Potential candidates know exactly what they are heading for and it may also act as an incentive for people to join. With Gen Y demanding transparency and open culture, Buffer might just be their Employer of Choice.
They also have radical ideas regarding internal e-mails. http://open.bufferapp.com/introducing-open-salaries-at-buffer-including-our-transparent-formula-and-all-individual-salaries/
While I do understand that transparency is a key value and trust is the need of the hour, there is a danger of tumbling into a ‘too much transparency’ trap. I think this move would be interesting to watch and follow. Whether successful or not, it will be a good learning for everyone watching.