A story about salaries at Mindera

sofia reis
Mindera
Published in
4 min readJan 3, 2017

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André Henriques http://www.ahphoto.pt/

This is the story of how we have been defining salaries at Mindera up to this moment.

When we first started to do Salary review sessions, our goal was to continually upgrade everyone’s salary in order to follow each person’s development, for as long as they are at Mindera. We were adamant for this process to be connected to people’s skills and capabilities instead of their performance evaluation.

Until recently, the 5 partners at Mindera would get together every 3–4 months and go through each person at Mindera, while asking ourselves these questions:

  • If we were hiring this person right now, how much would we offer? and,
  • Can our business afford it?

The question is not about performance nor about the last great thing this person has done, and we are also not trying to understand if this person has achieved the “expected” development — there are no expectations when we ask the question listed above.
This is almost like making a “new” offer: what we try to understand is what are the skills and capabilities this person has, in the present moment, compared to others in a similar role.

Every 3–4 months we go through this process and we try to answer the same question for everyone. We have also added “tags” that give us information about how the last session went: this means we will tag a person to be reviewed in the next iteration, if we think now it’s too early for a raise, but there is a strong potential that the next iteration will be just the right time.

The result of this exercise always takes into account everyone in the company, and we try our best to reflect someone’s review in balance with others with a similar skill and capability set. This means everyone is positioned in a balanced relationship to the level of skills and capabilities of others, creating an ecosystem that responds and adapts if one of the agents changes.

In the last few months we have realised that we have outgrown our capacity to have a deep enough knowledge of everyone, and decided to add, to this session, a few more people that could support the process. So far, the feeling is that we have an interesting process that brings an amount of fairness we feel comfortable with, and at the same time drives us to question, more and more, what we can do to improve it.

How we make our offers to candidates?

The story would not be complete without telling our Offer process.

We use the information in the recruitment process — interviews our candidates go through, and any other relevant information — to build an offer that can hopefully fit the candidate’s expectations, and at the same time, fit in the Salary process described before.

We try to have a balanced view of where the candidate fits in our ecosystem. This means we try to compare, the perceived skills and capabilities of the candidate to the skills of people we already have at Mindera. This is a difficult task, because we have only met the candidate 2 or 3 times and, from these encounters, we are trying to grasp a lot of info, but we have yet to find a better way to balance this. We try to have different people interviewing a candidate, and most of the times, we are able to achieve an interval of values that we believe gives us the confidence to make a fair offer.
We also take into account the candidate’s salary expectations, and if our offer is within a short range of the candidate’s expectation, we go ahead and make our best offer.

Thoughts about the future of Mindera’s salary process

A few months ago we got together to talk about Salary transparency.
There were a lot of ideas brought forward and this post is also a result of that session: to share with everyone at Mindera (and to the outside world), how we do this at the moment.

On that session, we also thought about experimenting with salary transparency and have a group of people sharing their salaries in an Opt-in kind of way: everyone that is ok to share their salary will be in a closed group that shares salaries. If someone is not yet comfortable with the idea, then that person would not join the group, and therefore not be able to access the salary of people in that group.

We also understand some people are still reluctant about sharing their own salary, but we agreed that having more info on salaries, without necessarily having a list of “who earns what”, would benefit further discussions and would develop more awareness at Mindera, while avoiding “backstage” talks about it.

Up next, we will start the experiment on the Opt-in transparency salary group, and we will probably draw more information from it, while learning with that experience as well.

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sofia reis
Mindera

I love the Human brain and, in the last few years, I’ve developed a passion for knowing and understanding more about human behaviours and interactions.