Work from home. The end of the office. Zoom, zoom, zoom. Quit slackin’ off, I mean, get your Slack on. The great resignation. The great realignment. The death of the downtown and resurgence of the small town.
Yeah. Some of that. Maybe a lot of that.
But here’s something I recently came across regarding office culture vs virtual culture:
- Offices have limited pools from which to draw talent.
- Virtual teams can hire from across the planet.
Your 20 person development team, all collected into a big conference room, all working through this quarter’s NCTs—Narratives, Commitments, Tasks (oof, what a load of crap those things are), are here because they live within an hour’s drive of your office. They were hired because they live within driving distance. Sure they have some skills, but consistently showing up on time, getting their assigned work done, not rocking the boat—being a team player, is why your team is composed the way it is.
Now, what if you could hire anyone working from anywhere? Who might now be on your team? You could get some incredibly talented people working for you or with you.
Of course, your office-bound team all get paid roughly the same salary. Maybe 10-50% drift between junior and senior engineers. Paying the best developer three times what the worst developer gets just wouldn’t fly.
But if you could hire anybody… You’d have to pay for the best, right? Maybe the best it worth five times what your Software Engineer Level I is paid. Maybe your architect is worth ten times that.
And pretty soon, with a virtual office, you just don’t settle for poorly performing developers. Those you had to put up with with a brick office constrained by a local, limited talent pool.
And, as I’m writing this, I’m wondering why this company I work for has been on a literal psychotic spending spree when it come to developers. I’m thinking, fill the ranks and then cull the herd after you see who’s worthy, who’s worth it.
This dynamic is not one I’ve considered before. But now that I mull it over, I can see how the all-stars, previously restrained by their location and group-think regarding income, can start to demand much, much higher salaries. And work from anywhere they please.
(Not me of course, I’m the king of mediocre. I’ll be lucky to have a job come summer.)
Thoughts? Would you move if you could get paid twice or four times what you make today? Where would you go? Do you see salaries diverging more and more as the skills quotient between employees diverges?