For early-stage startups looking to hire new talent, it’s not enough to make one-off decisions about pay as each new employee comes on board. Constructing a coherent philosophy around compensation is crucial for a company to stay consistent in the long term and provide transparency to employees — essentially, coming up with the “why” and “how” behind salary decisions.
In today’s job market, where layoffs and hiring freezes abound, getting compensation strategy right is even more important, CEO Rani Mavram of HR tech startup Complete told TechCrunch in an interview.
“Even if companies are hiring fewer roles, the importance of getting that higher right becomes increasingly more important,” Mavram said.
Complete aims to help companies, particularly early-stage startups, conceptualize and implement a firm-wide compensation strategy, reflective of cash, equity, bonuses and benefits.
“We work with them on [questions like], are you going to do negotiable offers or non-negotiable offers? Are you going to give your candidates multiple options as you think about raises and bonuses? Is that something tied to performance, or are you going to do that by default for everybody? So within these broader segments of compensation, we distill them down and then help them connect to what is right for their company,” Mavram explained.
Complete provides an interactive offer letter product for candidates applying to roles at its client companies and recently began offering a similar product to help employees understand what comprises their total compensation, Mavram said.
Mavram cofounded Complete with CTO Zack Field last year and took the company through Y Combinator’s Winter 2022 cohort. Mavram used to work on the product team at Google, while Field’s background is in engineering at various late-stage startups, including Uber and Opendoor, the pair told TechCrunch.
Mavram witnessed her team at Google grow rapidly and navigate the challenges of getting the “compensation narrative” right, she said.
“Even after I left Google, I was trying to think more about if the Googles of the world are experiencing this pain, what does this feel like to a early stage startup was just starting to have this conversation for the first time?” Mavram mused.
Field, meanwhile, saw his employers go from private to public and ended up becoming the go-to source among his colleagues for information about how to understand their equity compensation because he had done so much research on the topic, he said.