On Our Minds
On Our Minds

Our Compensation Philosophy: Transparency, Uniformity, Fairness

Circles and quarter circles in shades of green and white against a green background that resemble a dollar bill

In this post, we’ll share an overview of our compensation philosophy and how we approach performance management by measuring impact.

Before jumping into Enigma’s philosophy, a quick 101 on “total rewards.” When we think about compensation, we generally only think about base salary, but total rewards is much more than that. Total rewards comprises a number of inputs including base salary, bonuses, equity, benefits, retirement savings, and many other non-cash compensation factors, like flexible PTO and hybrid or remote working. It’s all the forms of pay and benefits you receive from a company.

At Enigma, we’re really proud of our total rewards package. If you’re interested in a high-level overview of what we offer, have a look here.

Enigma’s Compensation Philosophy

Now that we understand total rewards, let’s dive into Enigma’s Compensation Philosophy. Here we’re guided by three principles:

  1. Transparency: We share all relevant information on compensation openly with the company.
  2. Uniformity: We use the same framework for compensation and it is applied throughout the company.
  3. Fairness: Every effort is made to compensate people exclusively for the impact they deliver.

With these principles in mind, we’ve built a performance management system centered on individuals’ impact and competencies.

Five Levels of Impact

Our top priority is to develop a successful data product and deliver on our customer commitments. The primary factor in determining compensation is the amount of impact an individual has had on enabling the success of our business.

We have five Levels of Impact. Each level represents a scaling degree of impact an individual has on achieving our company goals, and compensation is directly tied to these levels.

  • Level 1. Exhibits ownership and executes independently.
  • Level 2. Exhibits ownership and executes independently within a functional area that drives the success of a top company goal.
  • Level 3. Uses their mastery in a functional area to drive the success of a top company goal and influence their peers to do the same.
  • Level 4: Drives an area critical to the success of a top company goal and shapes the culture in their functional area.
  • Level 5: An essential driving force behind the success of a top company goal and shaper of the company’s culture.

Compensation Ranges

The compensation ranges, including both salary and equity, for each Level of Impact are shared with the company.

We have two matrices of salary ranges: one for those in technical roles (software engineering and data science) and the other for all non-technical roles. Across the tech industry, those in technical roles have higher salary ranges than those in non-technical roles. But despite differences in salary, Enigma has parity when it comes to equity ranges across both technical and non-technical roles.

An individual’s assessed Level of Impact is only shared with the individual and their lead (aka manager). This allows for a balance of transparency while still maintaining confidentiality on the individual level.

Performance Reviews + Competency Frameworks = Impact

There are pros and cons to every performance management system. Some are too open-ended, lacking enough guidance; others, too burdensome to complete, or worst of all: no system at all. We’ve worked hard to try to hit the “goldilocks” target: right-sized and easy to complete.

Over the years, our performance management process has grown and evolved. We’ve tried a variety of approaches and have been working with our current “Competency Framework” approach for 3+ years. We consistently receive overwhelmingly positive survey feedback that people feel our process is transparent, uniform, and fair. We’re really proud of this, but it takes work.

Every role at Enigma has its own tailored framework that is based on the core competencies of that role. These frameworks are crafted in consultation with the individual and team and are constantly being improved for the next cycle. We want to ensure that the frameworks measure and take into account the work our people are actually doing.

How It All Comes Together

Enigma hosts semi-annual performance reviews, which comprise a self review, stakeholder review, and a manager review. We then host calibrations at the team and leadership level. Calibration is an important part of our process because it helps to ensure everyone has been measured against the same set of standards across the company.

Lastly, we adjust compensation based on the outcome of the calibrations. Compensation adjustments, both salary and equity, work in two ways: individuals who’ve demonstrated impact are eligible for compensation increases within their impact band range and could also be eligible to move to a higher Level of Impact.

Final Thoughts

We’re proud of the transparent, uniform, and fair system we’ve built over the years and continue to invite feedback on it.

Want to work for a company that values impact, transparency around compensation, and thoughtful performance management? Check out our open roles here.

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