Work relationships can transform careers — especially when co-workers vote on pay raises.
At Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison website, employees vote on some salary increases, according to CNN Business. Those seeking a raise can argue their cases to colleagues and, hopefully, receive their buy-in.
Transparency is at the core of this business tactic, says Squaremouth. The company has been using peer-reviewed raises since it was founded in 2003 and shares all salaries internally.
In addition to the group-vote raises, all employees receive an annual cost of living raise, based on inflation. In January, that increase was 2.1 percent. Separately, workers can receive merit-based raises. These come directly from managers and are mostly used for promotions or when employees get a new job at the company.
When employees request pay raises, colleagues typically have until the end of day to reach a verdict. All votes hold equal weight and employees must provide an explanation for their decision, which are not anonymous. To receive a raise, an employee needs to secure a majority.
Once a decision is finalized, the employee requesting a raise receives the feedback from their colleagues.
"That eliminates anyone from saying 'no' for a personal reason," says marketing and sales director Megan Moncrief, adding that peer-voting is mainly for big jumps in pay.
Since joining Squaremouth in 2013, Moncrief has received three raises through the group vote. Her first request was for a 22 percent raise, she tells CNN Business.
In her five years at Squaremouth, Moncrief has also received two merit-based raises. Coupled with her three peer raises, she has managed to more than double her salary.
The company, which has offices in Indiana and Florida, has tweaked the voting process as it expanded. Employees now vote by office so they're dealing with a more "targeted audience."
Thirty nine out of 41 peer-review raise requests have been approved since 2010, although they're sometimes smaller than requested.
Other perks at Squaremouth include unlimited paid time off, a $200 bonus on your birthday and free beer on tap.
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