Amy Spurling is the founder and CEO of Compt, winner of OpenComp’s People-first Employers to Watch in 2023 Award in the under 100 employees category. In this interview, Amy explains how Compt is building a culture grounded in equity, transparency, and belonging, starting with its first 19 employees. She shares tips that retention-focused companies of any size can start implementing today.
A little about Amy Spurling
With five exits under her belt, Amy is no stranger to company building. Over the last 20 years, Amy has led finance and HR teams at six high-growth and venture-backed companies, including Bedrock Data, Jana, EXOS, Controller, and Anaqua. As a COO and CFO, she has overseen strategic planning, corporate governance, international expansion, team development, human resources, and more.
Tell us about Compt.
Compt helps companies create and manage employee perks and stipends. We’re a Series A with funding from Battery Ventures, Harlem Capital Partners, and Slack Fund. We’re at 19 employees and fully remote.
How do you define employee-centricity?
Employee-centricity is part of our core values, which are balance and belonging. Those values guide everything we do for our team and for our customers. Our goal is to build an environment where everyone can thrive. To do so, we need balance, which means building a diverse team whose needs are supported in a way that’s personalized to each individual. Just as important is creating a workplace that supports belonging. This means we aim to be a place where every team member has the psychological safety to bring their entire selves to work.
What are the pillars of your employee experience strategy?
We don’t have official pillars, but there are things we consistently focus on and work to improve as part of our commitment to an exceptional, people-first employee experience:
- Living our values: We want everyone to feel like we live our values every day at Compt.
- Transparency: We want people to have a good sense of where we are as a company.
- Total rewards: We offer a combination of benefits, compensation, and rewards that make each person feel fully supported and fairly compensated.
- Well-being: We pay a large portion of health insurance premiums and offer personalized perks to support everyone’s unique wellness journeys.
- Communication: We communicate the right information at the right time in the right way via the right medium.
- Flexibility: We give employees the flexibility to live productive lives and do their best and most efficient work without having to trade one for the other.
- Feedback and recognition: We spend the right amount of time and effort recognizing team efforts and successes.
- Growth opportunities: Each person has the opportunity for continuous learning and development, supported by stipends and our belief that we only become better employees and better people when we’re always learning.
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How do you measure the effectiveness of your employee experience strategy?
Each quarter, we survey the entire team on how we’re performing across 10 different criteria, such as accountability, transparency, communication, speed, and direction.
We use a Google Form and always use the same questions.
We then look at the lowest performing categories and develop strategies to improve. For instance, if we see that the sentiment across the team is that they don’t have a clear sense for our direction, we work on our communication. This gives us a trending pulse on what’s happening across the organization so we can put actionable plans for improvement in place. Strategies to address lower-performing categories are co-created with members of the leadership team and/or employees, depending on the category and feedback.
We report the survey results at our quarterly company culture meeting. And we also have retro meetings monthly and quarterly to focus on OKR performance. Once a quarter, we have a stand-alone culture meeting to talk about how we’re building the business.
What do you do to optimize candidate experience?
We share salary information upfront. We don’t believe in waiting until a candidate has spent hours interviewing only to find out that we’re looking at very different levels of compensation. As part of this, we also share our compensation philosophy. We typically use recruiters, so they share the pay range on a first call with a candidate and we reiterate our compensation practices when we do the first interview.
Our best offer is our first offer. We don’t negotiate because we base our compensation packages on market data, and we don’t believe in lowballing candidates hoping they’ll accept a low offer. This also ensures we don’t have a pay gap internally across the team because data shows that women and people of color are far less likely to negotiate. We want to level that playing field.
Lastly, we’re mindful that talented people have many offers on the table at the same time. Rather than pushing candidates to sign our offer before knowing all their options, we encourage them to do their diligence. We want to be the employer of choice not because they feel desperate and have to make a decision, but because they know we want them to do what is best for them–even if that ultimately isn’t with us.
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How do you approach career pathing?
Because our team has grown nearly 3x its 2021 size this year, this is a work in progress for us. Managers currently work with the people on their team to identify employee personal career goals and interests so that we can ensure access to projects and help define potential career paths. We know we have work to do in this area as we continue to grow and scale.
How do you ensure pay equity and pay transparency across the employee lifecycle?
Not only do we manage this in the candidate process, as I explained earlier, but we review every employee’s compensation against market data every February. Not only is it possible, and highly likely, that the employee is at a more senior level than they were the prior year, but market compensation may also have moved as well. We adjust people accordingly. This means that some people receive really big salary increases year over year. We share our process and data publicly with the team and encourage discussion of compensation. What people are paid shouldn’t be a secret.
What’s your approach to Glassdoor reviews?
We encourage people to share reviews on Glassdoor through Slack and email reminders. We do this ad hoc as the team grows, too. To date, we haven’t had any negative reviews, but should that happen, we would work to understand where we missed the mark. The team survey is intended to help us get ahead of that.
We also share salaries. This is informally discussed all the time. It's part of our internal culture to talk about money in general—how much cash is in our bank account, financial metrics, hiring plans, salary ranges. Anytime we receive a new report from an external source, we share it internally through Slack and email. Data is meant to be widely available.
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What tactics are you testing right now to improve the employee experience?
We have grown rapidly in 2022. We have nearly 3x the employees as we did at the end of 2021. Because of this, we need to take a hard look at how we manage our communications and ensure the team has a balance between receiving the information they need while not being inundated with too many meetings. To that end, we’ve taken a hard look at all the standing meetings across the team and are consolidating or eliminating about 20% of them. As we plan for 2023, we’ll also be reviewing potential new benefits and any enhancements or changes to our paid time off policy.What to learn more about Amy?
Listen to Amy on the High-Growth Matters podcast: Democratizing Compensation and Benefits in the Workplace.