Our Imaginative and prescient for Location-Unbiased Salaries at Buffer


I’m comfortable to share that we’ve established a long-term objective that salaries at Buffer is not going to be primarily based on location. We made our first step in the direction of this final 12 months, after we moved from 4 cost-of-living primarily based location bands for salaries to 2 bands. We did this by eliminating the decrease two location bands.

The change we made resulted in wage will increase for 55 of 85 staff members, with the rise being on common $10,265. When the time is correct, we might be eliminating the idea of cost-of-living primarily based location bands completely, which can result in an easier strategy to offering beneficiant, truthful and clear salaries at Buffer.

On this publish I’m sharing my considering behind this variation and our strategy to pay general.

Location and Salaries

It’s been attention-grabbing to see the dialog about location and salaries unfold each inside Buffer and past. We’ve heard from many teammates through the years in regards to the execs and cons of the situation issue, and naturally we’ve watched with curiosity as this grew to become an everyday matter of dialog inside the bigger distant work group.

I’ve had many wholesome debates with different distant leaders, and there are arguments for eliminating a location element which I haven’t agreed with. I don’t consider pay variations throughout places is unethical, and it has made a whole lot of sense for us prior to now. Nonetheless, the previous few years have seen a whole lot of change for distant groups. A change like this is not to be made evenly, and at our scale comes with concerns.

Our Compensation Philosophy

Compensation is at all times slowly evolving as firms and markets mature and alter. We’ve been by way of a number of main iterations of our wage formulation, and myriad small tweaks all through the final 8 or so years since we launched the preliminary model. A part of the enjoyable of getting a wage formulation is understanding that it’s by no means going to be “accomplished.” Realizing that the iterations would proceed, Caryn, our VP of Finance, and I labored collectively to ascertain our compensation philosophy and doc our ideas on compensation to assist us decide what ought to at all times be true even because the wage formulation modifications over time.

We arrived at 4 ideas that information our selections round compensation. We try for Buffer’s strategy to wage, fairness, and advantages to be:

  • Clear
  • Easy
  • Honest
  • Beneficiant

These are the tenets which have guided us by way of compensation selections through the years. After we articulated them as our compensation ideas, we have been in a position to take a look at the situation issue of our formulation with new readability.

There are a couple of key concerns that have been a part of our discussions and my choice to place Buffer on a path in the direction of eradicating our location issue from salaries that I will go into extra element about subsequent.

Transparency, Simplicity, and Belief

Our wage formulation is without doubt one of the elementary causes that we are able to share our salaries transparently. Having a spreadsheet of staff salaries is a large step towards transparency, however true transparency is reached when the formulation is easy, easy, simple to know, and importantly, simple to make use of.

In one in every of our earlier variations of the wage formulation, we calculated the cost-of-living multiplier for each new location after we made a proposal. That was cumbersome, and it meant {that a} candidate couldn’t really know their wage vary till we calculated that.

This was improved significantly when we moved to the idea of “cost-of-living bands.” After that, completely different cities and cities may extra simply be labeled into every band. This massively elevated the transparency of the formulation, and I believe it helped create much more belief on this system. Anybody may comparatively simply perceive which band their location match into, and with that information perceive the precise wage they’d obtain at Buffer. Such a quick understanding of the wage formulation, and talent to run calculations your self, is the place transparency actually good points an additional stage of influence and drives belief inside and past the staff.

Nonetheless, with our 4 cost-of-living bands, there have been nonetheless selections to be made round the place places fall, and this has been the subject of a lot wholesome and productive debate through the years. The conversations round places falling between the Common and Excessive bands is what led us to introduce the Intermediate band. And with 4 decisions of location, it has meant there’s some disparity in salaries throughout the staff. With the advantages that come from the highly effective mixture of transparency and ease, alongside the elevated belief that’s fostered with extra parity throughout the staff, I’m selecting to drive Buffer’s wage formulation within the path of ultimately having no cost-of-living issue.

I’m selecting to drive Buffer’s wage formulation within the path of ultimately having no cost-of-living issue. – Joel Gascoigne, Co-founder and CEO of Buffer

Freedom and Flexibility

We’ve lengthy taken approaches to work which have been grounded within the ideally suited of an elevated stage of freedom and adaptability as a staff member. Once I began Buffer, I needed better freedom and a greater high quality of life than I felt could be attainable by working at an organization. That got here in varied kinds, together with location freedom, flexibility of working hours, and monetary freedom. And as we’ve constructed the corporate, I’ve been proud that we’ve constructed a tradition the place each single staff member can expertise an uncommon and refreshing stage of freedom and adaptability.

Because the earliest days, one in every of our most fondly held values has been to Enhance Persistently, and particularly this line: “We select to be the place we’re the happiest and most efficient”. It is a worth that has supported and inspired teammates to journey and check out dwelling in several cities, seeking that “happiest and most efficient” place. It has enabled folks to seek out work they love and nice co-workers, from a hometown close to household the place it might be arduous to discover a native firm that may provide that very same expertise and problem. It has additionally enabled folks to journey with a purpose to assist their companion in an vital profession change involving a transfer, one thing which permits an typically irritating change to occur way more easily, since you possibly can maintain working at Buffer from anyplace on the earth.

Having a tradition that has supported shifting freely throughout the globe has been a robust stage of freedom and adaptability. That freedom has been matched with a wage system which adjusts compensation to accommodate these modifications in a good and applicable method. Nonetheless, understanding that your wage will fluctuate and might lower as a consequence of a option to be some other place, does restrict that freedom and the flexibility to decide to maneuver.

Shifting in the direction of a wage formulation with parity throughout all places, will allow an excellent better stage of freedom and adaptability. It feels clear to me that selecting to maneuver is a private or a household choice, and it’s ideally suited if Buffer salaries are structured in a method that honor and assist that actuality. I’m excited that working in the direction of eradicating our cost-of-living variations will assist considerably scale back the friction concerned in making a probably positively life-changing choice to reside in a unique metropolis or nation.

Outcomes, Independence, and Reward

At Buffer, we aren’t on the standard hyper-growth VC path. This comes with some constraints: we don’t have tens of hundreds of thousands in funding and limitless capital to deploy in an try and discover a speedy path to $100m and going public (fortunately, that’s not our objective).

This path additionally signifies that our experiences as teammates in a wide range of methods are straight tied as to whether we’re efficiently serving current and new clients. For instance, the extent of advantages, skill to journey (in regular occasions), and competitiveness of compensation, are very a lot pushed by our income progress and profitability.

However, that is independence too. The factor we frequently have to remind ourselves of, is that whereas we could really feel extra constrained at occasions, we’ve full freedom of what we do with the success we obtain. Making a alternative like that is one instance of that.

It’s my intention as founder / CEO that as we succeed collectively as an organization, all of us profit from that success and see changes that enhance our high quality of life and create wealth. We’re ready of profitability which permits us to take a major step in the direction of eradicating the cost-of-living issue from our wage framework, which I consider serves these objectives. And eradicating it completely might be decided by us efficiently executing on our technique and serving clients nicely.

Decreasing Price-of-Dwelling Bands

The way in which our wage formulation works is that we benchmark a teammate’s function primarily based on market information on the fiftieth percentile for the software program trade in San Francisco after which multiply that by the cost-of-living band. So, a Product Marketer benchmark on the fiftieth percentile of the San Francisco market information is $108,838. Relying on the teammate’s location this might be multiplied by a cost-of-living band (Low, Common, Intermediate or Excessive). For instance, in the event that they lived Boulder, Colorado, a metropolis with Common cost-of-living, the benchmark could be multiplied by 0.85 for a wage of $92,512.

To greatest mirror our compensation philosophy, firm values, and the trail we would like for Buffer, we’ve eradicated the Low and Common cost-of-living bands.

What we’ve accomplished is introduced all Low (.75 multiplier) and Common (.85 multiplier) salaries as much as Intermediate (.9 multiplier), which we now name our World band.

That is what resulted in 55 teammates seeing on common a rise to their wage of $10,265.

Our two bands are actually World (.9 multiplier) and Excessive (1.0 multiplier).

This modification is predicated on my imaginative and prescient for Buffer and the way being part of this staff impacts every of us as individually, in addition to the path I consider the world goes. I’m excited in regards to the change at first as a result of it helps our objective of getting a clear, easy, truthful, and beneficiant strategy to compensation.

That is additionally a transfer that raised salaries instantly for greater than half of the staff. This level particularly offers me a whole lot of pleasure as a result of I need compensation to be one of many unbelievable elements of working at Buffer. Cash isn’t all the things, and all of us want sort and sensible colleagues, a psychologically protected surroundings, and to work on difficult and attention-grabbing issues, with a purpose to be fulfilled at work. Past that, nonetheless, cash actually impacts life decisions, and that’s finally what I need for each Bufferoo; the liberty to decide on their very own way of life and make decisions for themselves and their households’ long-term well being and happiness. It’s vital to me that individuals who select to spend their years at Buffer could have the liberty to make their very own decisions to have an incredible life. And, for our teammates who reside in a lot decrease cost-of-living areas, a Buffer wage may find yourself being really life altering. I’m actually pleased with that consequence.

The choice was additionally impacted by the path that I consider the world goes (and, the path we need to assist it go). Distant is in full swing, and it’s more and more breaking down geographical borders. I consider this can be a great point. Wanting forward 10 and even 5 years, it appears to me that we’re going to see an enormous rebalancing, or correction, that’s going to occur. I consider it’s vital to be forward of all these shifts, and be proactively selecting the trail that’s applicable and energizing for us.

What subsequent?

Our plan is to ultimately get to at least one single location band, primarily eliminating the cost-of-living issue from the wage formulation altogether. This might be attainable as soon as we are able to afford to make this variation and maintain our dedication to profitability. So, this might be pushed by the long-term outcomes we create from our arduous work, creativity out there, and dedication to clients.

What questions does this spark for you? Ship me a tweet along with your ideas.


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