Outside of reduced competition, two other advantages to lockstep are eliminating salary negotiations and increasing transparency. On the first, few people effectively negotiate with their employers for salary increases, and a lot of people fail to negotiate at all. Companies perform better at negotiations than workers, for the simple fact that they do it all the time compared to their employees.
The net effect of this situation is that employees – even those doing the exact same tasks – can be paid tremendously different wages.
This is one of the largest concerns today in equality for women in Silicon Valley and really throughout the United States. Studies have repeatedly shown that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries, for a host of different reasons. This difference between the genders is one explanation for the persistent female pay gap.
However, negotiations don’t just disadvantage women, but can harm the employee-employer relationship for everyone. There is an awkward moment just after receiving a job offer from a company when we are expected to begin these salary negotiations. Just as we are getting to know each other and becoming partners, we now have to argue for some more salary dollars. Lockstep salaries ensure that this relationship grows naturally instead.
The other side of removing negotiation is increasing transparency in an organization, which may reduce office politics as well. While some organizations, notably Buffer, have made all of their salaries public knowledge, many workers may still find that unappealing.
However, lockstep salaries ensure that those of us sharing the same title or years of experience are being paid the same. That knowledge can help to reduce office politics over salaries, and bring the focus of the workplace back toward the work at hand.