Pay your employees a proper salary. In Remote, the authors advise paying your remote workers in distant locales the same salaries you pay your big-city-based workers:
Instead of thinking I can pay people from Kansas less than people from New York, you should think I can get amazing people from Kansas and make them feel valued and well-compensated if I pay them New York salaries.
At my first job in California, when the CEO offered me a job, he offered a salary and said, “I start everyone around the same pay.” I was impressed by that egalitarianism. It was bullshit though. I later found out that there was a wide disparity in our salaries seemingly based on nothing but the CEO’s whim. When I spoke about promised bonuses and raises to the COO at that company, he squirmed and said, “Well, money is a sensitive issue.” No, it isn’t. Money is the agreement between the employee and the company. It is not sensitive. It is the most basic issue of employment. We have to stop accepting the nonsense that we shouldn’t talk about money whether between colleagues or between boss and employee.
Tools like Glassdoor and SalaryShare allow employees to share salary details anonymously within a company to see how they compare to each other. But more importantly, even if there’s a cultural taboo against discussing money, employees will figure out who makes what. As with other criticisms of your company, get ahead of it by being open. There is a serious suggestion that salaries and pay scales should be transparent to all employees. As reported by Vox, the justification for such a move is:
If you work for a company where everybody knows what everybody else is earning, then it’s going to be very easy to see what’s going on. You’ll see who the stars are, you’ll see what kind of skills and talent the company rewards, and you’ll see whether this is the kind of place where you fit in. You’ll also see whether men get paid more than women, whether managers are generally overpaid, and whether behavior like threatening to quit is rewarded with big raises. What’s more, because management knows that everybody else will see such things, they’ll be much less likely to do the kind of secret deals which are all too common in most companies today.
Consider that suggestion seriously. Such openness could squash criticism before it starts.
My dad has an even more direct anecdote on this theme. He was hiring someone for a position at a company and told his boss, “he wants this much but I think I can get him for $1000 less.” His boss replied, “Why would you want to piss him off before he starts working here?”