What is up with Start-up Employee Pay?


Hiring new talents  may be a painstakingly technical, and difficult process for start-ups.  Decisions on why, and how to handle the payment of new employees must be carefully considered. This must be done to ensure corporate consistency, and guarantee policy transparency to employees on the long term in the organization. Start ups must develop a coherent philosophy on how to compensate employees. These ideas must be implemented, and maintained over time to reflect the policy direction of the organization.

The prevailing circumstances in the job market has seen more employees getting laid off, and hiring freezes especially due to issues of recession, and technological advancement. This has made the issue of compensation all the more important.

Since companies may now be hiring fewer employees, the implication of getting the hiring process right has become crucial.

Complete is poised to assist start-ups at the early stage to articulate, and implement a comprehensive compensation model which has cash, equity, bonuses, and other benefits well spelt out.

Complete’s multidimensional approach attends to the plurality on employer to employee questions such as negotiable, and non negotiable offers, options accompanying the question on raises, and bonuses, performance based rewards or general rewards etc. All these questions bother around compensation, and by analysing them, employees can identify the approach that will best suit their organizational goals.

One of the products Complete presents to applicants applying to its client’s companies is an interactive offer letter. This has already become a standard tradition. Complete has now gone further  by presenting this same type of product that describes compensation to the employees. This product will help them understand what their recruitment package entails.
Complete was part of Y Combinator’s 2022 winter cohort. The company was cofounded by former Google employee Mavram and Zack Field, an Engineer whose work profile includes late stage start-ups like Opendoor and Uber.

Co-founder Mavram who was a team leader at Google is no stranger to the delicate issue of employee compensation. Similarly, Field who has worn the hat of both private, and public employee is as expected knowledgeable about equity compensation. This knowledge is most likely from personal research, and practical experience on the field.

Most of Complete’s early stage clients lack the advanced employee hierarchical structure, or organizational setup that can be translated into compensation orientation for employees. So the issue of compensation, and total rewards isolated from the philosophies that define this employee cadre, and structural setup can be the starting point for early stage start-ups to give compensation orientation to employees.

Complete recently announced raising a seed funding to the tune of  $4 million through Accel, Y Combinator, and the trio of Calm, Stripe, and Opendoor (angel investors).
Employee compensation really needs to be simplified, and Complete is not alone in this quest. Some other companies offering similar products on compensation include OpenComp although this is more or less targeted at high growth companies. Compound a company backed by YC is another company giving out compensation orientation to employees.

Why is demystifying compensation and helping employees understand this issue so Important? It is a veritable tool for establishing trust between employers, and employees. The currency of this trust at a job cannot be overemphasized. When companies are expressive, and transparent about their compensation philosophy, this simple strategy grants the organization an advantage over its identifiable competitors. It is left to see whether Complete’s supportive focus will remain restricted to employee compensation, or whether the company will incorporate other aspects of administration, and recruitment into its program.

Early start-up founders are usually encumbered with decisions bothering on employee compensation. Complete’s aim with their product is to guide founders through the process, and clearly highlight what impact preferred decisions will have on business. The idea is to forge a guiding philosophy on employee compensation. Employers retain exclusive rights on what aspects of these philosophies are to be articulated, and expressed to their employees.

The issue of employee compensation only seems inconsequential to ‘unserious” businesses. The widespread conversation already generated by this very knotty issue is already telling on Complete and the company will inevitably need to expand its team from the current five-person show to accommodate more design and engineering personnel. This is the only way to keep up with the ever increasing customer demand the company’s product is generating.

Some of Complete’s clients currently include Vercel, TruNorth and Convex, and many more which has had Complete analyse thousands  of dollars in salaries for its many clients.
The long game for Complete is to have most companies articulate an explicit compensation philosophy that can even be easily accessed on their platforms. A future where start-ups have the career page or privacy policy of their website clearly articulate their position. This would hopefully become what is obtainable globally.