Buffer’s Value-Driven Talent Management Strategy

At Talent Management 360 we love to come across companies and organizations with unique approaches to how they manage employees and one company that caught our eye is Buffer.

buffer-logo-darkBuffer is a relatively new company having launched in January 2013, but they’ve made quite an impact already, both in terms of their product and their talent management strategy.

What Buffer Does

Buffer is essentially an app that lets businesses and organizations manage all of their social media accounts in one streamlined place.

The app makes it easy for people to schedule their social media posts from anywhere, organize their content, collaborate with others and also view their statistics and reporting on their social media performance.

Buffer Employees

One of the really unique aspects about Buffer is that they have a globally dispersed workforce, so they have team members all over the globe.

The app company has about 25 employees right now located throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa.

This is just one of the many interesting ways Buffer conducts business and the app’s creator lays out what he sees as the benefits of a globally remote workforce. Namely he points to the fact that the team members have a great deal of freedom, he thinks it helps productivity and thanks to the widely varied time zones everyone works in, they’re able to address customer concerns and provide customer support essentially around the clock. The company reports that with more than a million users, thanks to its unique set-up it’s able to respond to at least 80 percent of the emails received within one hour.

The team also gets together three times a year at Buffer retreats and this provides not only the opportunity for everyone to get together for some face-to-face time, but it also provides everyone with the opportunity to travel.

10 Values

Along with an innovative remote working policy, Buffer’s talent management and employment strategy is also guided by 10 principles.

These include:

  • Always choose positivity and happiness
  • Default to transparency
  • Have a focus on self-improvement
  • Be a no-ego doer
  • Listen first, then listen more
  • Have a bias toward clarity
  • Make time to reflect
  • Live smarter, not harder
  • Show gratitude
  • Do the right thing

Each of these values if accompanied by more specific guidelines as to how employees can approach and practice the ideas set forth.

Open Salaries

Speaking of transparency, another unique idea practiced at Buffer is the concept of open salaries. The company’s creator said he faced the challenge of really living out the values he put forth to guide the direction of his organization and his employees, and one of the most daunting of these values was transparency.

In an effort to practice what he calls “radical transparency,” he put in a range of ways that employees could feel as if they were really getting the full story including open salaries.

In order to implement open salaries, a formula was created to determine how much employees will be paid.

Here’s the formula:

Salary = job type X seniority X experience + location (+ $10K if salary choice)

And the base rate of pay is outlined for each position as follows:

  • job type = base
  • happiness hero = $45,000
  • content crafter = $50,000
  • engineer = $60,000
  • designer = $60,000
  • Operations officer base = $70,000
  • Executive officer base = $75,000

There are then predetermined multipliers for seniority and experience and your pay is also dependent on your location, so if you’re located in London or San Francisco for example, you’re going to make more than if you’re located in Nashville, to reflect the cost of living. You can also choose between having more equity or more salary and if you opt for more salary you get an additional $10,000 per year.

Buffer’s leaders consider the salary formula to be a living document that can change and progress along with the company and the employees.

So what do you think about some of these ideas being utilized by Buffer? Do you think this represents an image of the future of talent management?

November 7, 2014   Updated :March 25, 2015      

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