Let’s talk compensation: Why Expel made the move to pay transparency

· 3 MIN READ · JEFF KAISER · APR 19, 2022 · TAGS: Careers

If you know Expel, you know “transparency” is our middle name. In fact, it’s one of our core values. Which should mean it’s not surprising that we’ve recently embraced pay transparency at Expel. We believe that our people (current and prospective) should always feel comfortable asking about an employer’s pay practices but, for many, that doesn’t make the conversation any less daunting.

We hope that practicing pay transparency (and spreading the word) will make this conversation easier — not just for our people, but for anyone looking to have an honest dialogue about compensation with their employer. In this post, we’ll walk you through what this means to us at Expel, how we arrived at the decision, and what we’ve learned along the way.

Pay transparency is here to stay… and that’s a good thing

Pay transparency is a hot topic. Some big companies like Whole Foods and Netflix were early adopters of this approach. Now, new legislation rolling out across the U.S. requires companies to release details about pay when hiring.

On top of that, the “Great Reshuffle” has empowered people to ask employers for what they want — which includes fair pay. As the push for equity at work picks up speed, LinkedIn’s #BigIdeas2022 predicts that 2022 is the year that pay transparency goes mainstream. We think that’s the way it should be.

So what is pay transparency?

Pay transparency refers to the level of detail a company communicates about its pay practices. This typically happens on a scale, starting with providing basic salary info to the individual, all the way to sharing all of the details around how and why pay decisions are made.

What does that scale look like at Expel? In short, we share salary ranges for job roles internally and externally, and have straightforward conversations with our people about their pay. That means:

  • All Expletives (that’s what we call our people) can see Expel salary ranges using our Compensation Lookup Tool. (A note that the salary ranges included in our tool are for roles; we do not disclose individual salaries.)
  • Managers use the Compensation Lookup Tool as a reference when hiring. Equity, bonus, and commission targets are also included.
  • All Expel job ads and descriptions include the salary min and max.
  • Recruiters talk openly about our salary ranges to candidates.

How did we get here?

Over the past year, we’ve been on a journey to analyze compensation, clarify decision criteria, and adjust our processes to make sure we’re offering competitive, consistent, and equitable pay.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for going pay transparent. Each company has to conduct the studies and make the necessary investments to be confident in their pay practices, systems, and data.

For us, this meant first conducting a salary equity analysis with an outside vendor that found no statistically significant bias in the way we pay at Expel. We then validated and adjusted our salary ranges by role to align with the market. It also involved reviews of the compensation of every Expletive to confirm consistency across roles, levels, and teams. Plus, we monitor these baselines continuously and conduct in-depth analyses annually (at least).

Most importantly, we’ve recognized that pay transparency is a work-in-progress. We use trusted data to track our salary ranges against the market, but we also listen to what our people, recruiters, and candidates have to say.

Expletives are encouraged to ask questions and bring up their concerns around how we determine pay. We rely on our people to share new data, fresh ideas, and industry knowledge to help us navigate through the ever-changing compensation landscape.

As part of that, we give Expletives resources to better understand our pay practices, and compensation education is part of everyone’s professional development. For example:

  • Live trainings and recordings are available to provide education on our compensation philosophy and strategy. We talk about job leveling, market positioning, and how we determine someone’s position in their salary range.
  • Our “Compensation Lookup Tool” gives all Expletives job info for all of the roles in the company, as well as salary ranges, bonus and equity information, and how we match the roles to the market.

… And why?

Part of our mission at Expel is to “create space for people to do what they love,” and that applies to our compensation philosophy, too. Pay transparency is a natural expression of Expel values:

  • We take care of our people. We want everyone to have confidence in our consistent practices and equitable salaries, so they can go do what they love without that worry.
  • We value transparency. Having clear decision criteria and helping Expletives understand how pay decisions are made opens communication and builds trust.
  • Pay transparency improves inclusion and diversity. By communicating our salary ranges internally and externally, we are taking a solid step to disrupting systemic inequity.

What we’ve learned

Pay transparency is about being transparent in more ways than one. It’s about more than analyses and updated salary ranges on job ads. You have to “walk the walk” and communicate the results to your people. Explain your compensation philosophy clearly, and give context and criteria for your pay decisions.

After a year of work, we’re proud of how far we’ve come, and we’ve made sure to bring Expletives along on every step of the journey. This honest and open approach to compensation isn’t just what we believe in, it’s the right thing to do.

Questions about our move toward pay transparency, or anything else that makes Expel, Expel? Reach out any time.