How We Approach Compensation


Like it or not, what you pay people is personal. What coworkers get paid and why they get paid what they do is also personal.

And yes, coworkers often talk about what they get paid, so having a rhyme or reason behind why people in different roles and at different stages in their careers make what they do is smart.

Think about it like this: If you inadvertently shared your payroll doc with the whole company, could you stand by it with a sound explanation as to why people get paid what they do compared to each other and to market data?

If the answer is no, you have work to do. At Help Scout, we strive to answer that question with a confident yes.

5 ways to nail your compensation strategy

Compensation is complicated, and it can get messy when you don’t have a good plan in place. And it happens to be something that impacts every person on your team, not to mention those future hires you have your eye on. Here are several approaches we’ve taken, and lessons we’ve learned along the way, that will give you a good start when you dive into creating (or improving) your compensation strategy.

1. Dig for that data

First things first — round up some data! Plenty of resources out there (such as Radford, Payscale, and Glassdoor) offer compensation data, and some of them, like Culpepper, offer a price break for new and emerging companies.

It’s a lot of work (and not always possible) to match roles to the surveys, but it’s worth it to see what percentile you’re paying compared to other companies of a similar size and/or region.

HR groups like OrgOrg or VC groups often share salary data with each other for free if you’re looking for other cost-effective data points.

And don’t discount specialized salary-related resources — every data point can help inform your own compensation strategy! Help Scout, for example, partners with Support Driven each year to publish the annual Customer Support Salary Study and accompanying salary calculator so that managers, employees, and job seekers can have more informed conversations about compensation for customer support work.

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