You Can't Skirt Compensation for the Best

With a booming tech market and rapidly growing salaries for the best tech talent, I have seen a lot of discussion around the topics of employee hiring, retention, and compensation. Specifically, a lot of companies are trying to figure out how to still hire the best talent while not really competing with the 'big players' (e.g., Google, Apple, Facebook, etc.,) in terms of salary.

And, actually, even the 'big players' are trying to do this. In fact, they got hammered in court for conspiring to fix salaries.

Compensation is obviously a very tricky subject. Gallup has a pretty good article discussing the topic. For many people, discussing and negotiating compensation is uncomfortable.

And, in truth, for a lot of employees, compensation is something of a 'hygiene' factor. If it isn't there, they notice it and will cause them to become unsatisfied. But, as long as it is in the right ballpark, it won't be a source of frustration. Most studies on employee retention reach this conclusion.

I think the line is in a different place for top talent, though. The very best employees understand the value of their time. They are usually aware of the value they create for your company, and what the market rate for their skills are. I'm not saying that the best employees will leave a company for a 1% change in salary, but top talent usually has a pretty accurate idea of how they would be valued by other companies.

There is a lot that goes into deciding where to work, and why to stay. Benefits, culture, the people you work with, managers, tools, etc., all play into those decisions. But compensation has to be competitive if you want the best.

The phrase "you get what you pay for" applies pretty broadly.

Ben Hilburn

Ben Hilburn

bits, nibbles, bytes, and words
D.C. Metro Area