Trust drives unique compensation mechanisms at Sahaj

A pay review is a mechanism adopted by various organisations as part of their incentive and rewards programme. In the tech industry, typically, this happens annually.

At Sahaj however, we believe that the process of rewarding someone’s exemplary performance should not have to wait. Ad-hoc pay revisions are common — sometimes even triggered by feedback from peers that a certain team member’s compensation deserves a raise. (Salaries are open to everyone who works at Sahaj.) There is no cap on the number of salary revisions either!

Apart from this, we have an annual pay review cycle for everyone that happens at the beginning of the calendar year — as is the norm — and yet, unlike anything I have ever seen in a career spanning almost two decades.

I have always been part of people-centric organisations with flat structures. My expectations and experiences have been shaped thus, limited to flat organisational structures and 360 degree feedback.

Throughout my career, in preparation for the annual pay review, I have followed this traditional process: gather feedback from teams, co-workers, clients and mentors I have worked with over a period of 12 months, collate it all in a presentation to be reviewed by a panel.

This would be followed by a discussion about achievements and compared against a peer group etc. At the end of this process, a rating would be assigned that would further lead to a pay revision.

I was taken aback when the annual pay review happened in Sahaj almost a year after I joined the organisation in March 2021. It was surprisingly lightweight! Gathering feedback was a breeze; Sahaj’s universe is weighted by the gravity of openness and transparency, continuous feedback is like muscle memory to us.

But this is not all! The organisation’s financial details are shared with everyone on a monthly basis with the intent of empowering every individual with information that can enable her/him to make vital decisions and navigate the business not as employees but as owners.

A month before the annual pay rise happened, during the monthly town hall, everyone learnt about the revenue, operational costs, capital costs, profits/losses etc. This helped us ascertain how much runway we had to make investments and this next part that may surprise you — decide our annual pay rise! In this company, everyone is trusted to do the right thing — it is a core value.

The % pay rise was agreed upon democratically. Every individual weighed in post an insightful discussion around each region’s economy, inflation etc.

After this, final numbers for each individual were circulated and everyone had the opportunity to approve/reject/ask for further discussions before the finance team rolled out payroll changes. The entire process including payroll changes was completed in 4 weeks — in my opinion, an incredible feat given that it was driven by the people of the organisation and not a central team in charge of people function.

In a consulting career that has given me incredible opportunities across India, USA and UK, never before have I been part of an organisation where trust, transparency and openness are bigger than just an organisational value. I would go as far as to say that trust here is a war cry, a cause that every individual strives and fights for every single day within Sahaj. I have now been part of this company for over a year and a half and I have experienced bit by bit the contours of this juggernaut; the more I know, I realize that there is more to know. The horizon keeps expanding.