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What Happens When a Company Goes Salary Transparent?

Lauren Burgoni and Kim Barwise from Seer Interactive share their experiences



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Lauren Burgoni

She understood her worth…

“I started at Seer Interactive as an account manager. The salary they offered was a little higher than my last [digital marketing] agency. I didn’t negotiate; I thought what they were offering was definitely fair. I was promoted to senior account manager three or four months prior to the company-wide launch of salary transparency, in November 2016.

Our HR department had to identify all the roles in the company and the five or six skill sets that are the bare minimum to fulfill that role. With that, they could cross-reference with PayScale and other industry benchmarking tools.

It was definitely interesting knowing what everybody’s salary ranges were. I was most surprised by how little our directors and senior-level people made. For senior account managers in San Diego, the range is wide, a $40,000 difference. That’s how the industry averages were mapped. They look at so many different skill sets as well as industry tenure, but if you fell somewhere down the middle, you were probably in a good spot.

Right off the bat, I actually saw about a 4 percent increase in my salary, which is pretty cool.

It gave me a better understanding of where I stood in the company and what skill sets I have to check off in order to get promoted. We can be empowered to ask for raises when they’re appropriate, and to calculate that for ourselves. They wanted us to feel like we could ask, versus feeling like we had to jump ship. I felt more informed.”

—Lauren Burgoni, Senior SEO account Manager, Seer Interactive

 

Kim Barwise

…and she was empowered to throw taboos out the window.

“I had a miscarriage at work. My husband picked me up, and I just left. I messaged my manager later that day and he replied in a thoughtful and meaningful way. He told my team members I would be out; I started telling them why I wasn’t being reliable. My other team lead was just as great. The team started taking projects off my plate, and took some of their personal budget and gave me a gift card to a spa.

Later that week, in a thread celebrating International Women’s Day, I sent an email that technically the whole company can see—180 people, which includes the Philadelphia office—the president and the founder, down to interns and new people.

I received about 75 responses, from flowers to women telling me they’d had miscarriages or male coworkers saying they went through it with their wives.

The transparency of salaries gave proof in a different vertical that it would be acceptable to talk about this situation. Wil Reynolds, the founder, had put out a blog post saying, ‘I was afraid to pull men vs. women salary data at my company,’ and the way that he expressed feeling vulnerable in that situation is what led me to share. His taking a leap regardless of what the data might tell him was inspirational and encouraging. I could tell my story knowing the founder could also talk about being vulnerable in order to support women.”

—Kim Barwise, SEO Account Manager, Seer Interactive

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