Digital salary – the agile development of our salary system

  • Nadja Perroulaz

Liip has had a logical salary system right from the start. To make sure we keep it that way, we continually further develop this system, and always with digital human progress in mind.

In 2019, we published a brief explanation of our salary system. Now, we have some more information to add. We continually further develop our internal processes, and this includes our salary system. Adapting the familiar tools and methods used in agile software development through internal developments so we can test new features in the most efficient way possible is what we do.

Digitalisation and agile development...including in our salary system

We approach our internal processes and projects much in the same way as we approach our clients’ projects. We work in an agile way and use tools and methods that our clients are familiar with. On the one hand, this helps us to try out different technological solutions in order to provide employees with the ones that offer the greatest benefits. And on the other, it is natural for us to work in an agile way. This is how we further develop our internal processes.

Internal processes with external audits

To make sure we do not lose sight of what is really important, we often turn to external partners in order to ‘challenge’ ourselves. Especially when it comes to key topics, such as the salary system, we work not only with our employees (Liipers) but also with external professionals.

We have a multi-level procedure for developing our salary system:

  1. We conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys
  2. The salary system goes through an external audit
  3. An interdisciplinary team takes care of its further development and, like our other development teams, works using agile methods.
  4. Hypotheses are formulated and complex topics in the company are subdivided so sprints can be used
  5. Every new development is tested by the people who work in the system
  6. Once the developments have passed the tests, they are implemented
  7. The final solution is also tested regularly, as we work in a living system within a fluid organisation
    Active questioning is in our organisational system’s nature. Holacracy is a tensions-based organisational system.

Tools and methods

For these developments, we use tools and methods that are well known to us as well as in the agile world. This is why at Liip we work with Miroboards, map topics using the Kanban method and create tickets in Jira. And for our methods, we turn to Design Thinking, for example for defining hypotheses and tests.

Sprints simplify our work and help us focus

The further development of Liip’s salary system is carried out in sprints. This means that the interdisciplinary team spends specific days in the month focusing solely on the salary system. In agile development, sprints are used so that those working on the project can really focus on that particular project and move it forward. The progress of a project is measured by the sprints completed as well as the results seen in individual sprints.

The second form of measurement we use is OKRs (objectives and key results). For us, it is hard to imagine agility without OKRs. A company’s salary system is a big topic. OKRs help us to focus on the right things and prioritise. OKRs define the focus of the coming months, sprints help with planning and the individual implementation measures are recorded using tickets and Post-its.

In addition to the tools and methods used, how the team is organised is also crucial. If everyone were to work on the same topic, agility would quickly become inefficient. For this reason, OKRs and sprints are divided among project groups. All help push each other to reach the final overall goal.

‘Fail early, fail often’

No matter what product is being developed using agility, it has to be tested. At Liip, we test every single new feature and further development. This might sound like a lot of work, but actually it isn’t. We work on the principle of ‘fail early, fail often’, where we develop and test topics and then either disregard them or continue to develop them. For example, in 2020, the peer feedback system for Liipers was made accessible in such a way that everyone could see who had given what feedback. This feature was implemented and then re-examined after just a year.

An interdisciplinary team: why is diversity so vital?

You can get different perspectives from developers, board members, HR specialists and user experience experts. Firstly, this reflects Liip’s employee structure, as Liip has more developers than HR specialists and UX designers, for example. And secondly, this method incorporates both internal and external (board members') perspectives.

The benefits

Further developing our internal standards helps us to keep our working conditions in line with the latest standards. If you want to be quick on the market, you have to be quick internally too. This is the only way we can successfully fend off the competition for new talent. Always being on the ball isn’t easy, but it is part of the constant change we see nowadays and is therefore a challenge that we incorporate into all of our processes.

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