Role-based systems and salary
Role-based salary systems pose a great challenge to HR departments and generate significant administrative efforts due to the lengthier calculations needed to arrive at the final salary. Together with Greenpeace, we co-developed a Salary App that is tailored to Greenpeace’s salary system while minimising their time spent on payroll processing.
At Nothing, we were pioneers in the adoption of a role-based organisational model and in our efforts to make salaries understandable and more humane. The challenge of role-based salary systems is that salaries do not simply increase as employees “move up the ladder”: Role-based teams work with a role portfolio instead of static job titles. While roles create an explicit foundation for foster autonomy in workers, they involve a lot of conceptual work to determine salaries.
Greenpeace’s effort to create a role-based salary system
Since its foundation in 1984, Greenpeace Switzerland has always had transparent salaries and when they shifted their organisation from a classical top-down hierarchy towards self-organisation, it made sense that the salaries reflected their progression towards a more organic organisational design.
The main challenge they faced was how to define the parameters that influence the final salary. They reached the conclusion that it should be the roles that directly influence the salary. To reflect this, they attached a complexity scale from 1-7 to the different roles depending on the skill level needed to enact them. Additionally, Greenpeace wanted to include progression based on age and loyalty (years worked for Greenpeace).
Once the parameters were defined, Greenpeace faced a significant administrative effort to calculate the salaries. Think: There are about 100 employees, and some people hold up to 15 roles of varying complexity and contribution. Fortunately, Greenpeace was already using Peerdom to document their roles and contributions. So, they approached us to find a solution within Peerdom.
Co-creating the Peerdom Salary App
Greenpeace’s idea, after just a couple of exchanges, was soon a co-owned concrete app in the making – the Salary App.
The Salary App does much more than facilitating Greenpeace’s payroll. Through the App, it becomes clear that salary is more than just another step on the career ladder: Instead, salaries become something personal, directly tied to your roles and the work you do. If you take on (or leave) a new role, it will have a direct impact on your salary. Not only is the change in salary tangible, but it is also completely transparent and visible in Peerdom!
One idea, one app and many insights
While the idea for a Salary App sprung from Greenpeace, we aim to create apps that amplify the human potential of any organisation. Let’s look at Greenpeace’s Loyalty Bonus for example: Loyalty and experience are linked, but while experience covers all your past experiences, loyalty is specific to the organisation you are a part of at that moment. The Loyalty Bonus is simply something Greenpeace valued more. Another instance where Greenpeace had to prioritise one variable over the other was the question of age versus seniority. In line with their values, Greenpeace decided to prioritise age over seniority, which could be different for the next organisation. The App is specifically tailored to Greenpeace’s values and needs, but lays the foundation for other role-based organisations to revolutionise their salary system.