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Best Practices for Remote Compensation


Learn from the experts at GitLab: fully-distributed at scale.

Introduction

gitlab-logo-gray-rgbGitLab is the world's largest all-remote company, with more than 1,300 team members in more than 65 countries and regions. We spoke with their Manager of Total Rewards about what practices they have put in place to fairly and consistently pay their employees, wherever they are.

brittany_rohde_gitlab
Brittany Rohde
Manager Total Rewards

Brittany manages and implements global compensation strategies and principles for GitLab.

Getting Started

To support remote workers, you will need to make some big decisions about how your company decides what is fair compensation. You might need to invent specific methods for comparing people based on their level, location, base of operation, experience, protected class status, and job function, and invest in compensation software to help with the planning process.

The first thing is that there are no best practices for remote compensation philosophy. There's always a time and place where you actually build out a philosophy.

For us, we determined what our compensation philosophy was going to be very early on as a company.
Setting expectations with a candidate up-front can really help to ease the hiring conversation and make it more efficient.

Let them know:

  • Here's what our budget is
  • Here's the compensation band for this role
  • Here's the adjustment for your location, based on your local market

Approaches

We are no longer in spreadsheets, thanks to Compaas.

We use Compaas first and foremost from a comp planning perspective.
There are some companies that use cost of living to determine their Location Adjustments, but we use a cost-of-market approach.

Pitfalls

One of the traps that you might fall into is Golden Handcuffs. So that you have somebody working for you who isn't really engaged but is never going to leave, because they can't make that kind of money anywhere else.
One place that we're very different from other companies that I'm really pleased that we actually have a part of our handbook that says, "Report a Discrepancy."
Every time we make any change to our compensation model, we do an analysis against the current team to make sure there isn't any impact.
Someone who is remote may feel they have this extra time because they're not commuting, and they end up allocating almost more time working remotely than they may have when physically working in an office.

Recommendations

I don't think remote work should be a “benefit” — I think it should be a part of your culture. Both the company and the person benefit from that arrangement.
I would recommend over-communicating in the beginning. Make sure that whatever you're doing, you're applying it consistently.
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