If you apply to the consulting firm Netzstrategen, based in Karlsruhe, Barcelona and Cologne, you will find a lot in the job advertisements that is a hallmark of a modern world of work - that is, “New Work”.

Independent work in agile teams without classic departmental boundaries.

No hierarchies.

Flexible working hours.

Home office and part-time jobs are the norm.

And everyone can have a say, even when it comes to corporate strategy or customer selection.

Such new work concepts are currently being discussed everywhere.

It is often unclear what exactly is behind the term.

In essence, as it can be summarized, the idea of ​​the “new job” is about everyone doing what they can do best and what they really want to do.

In addition, traditional hierarchies, status and power thinking and excessive pressure to perform should disappear as far as possible from everyday work.

Or as network strategist André Hellmann says: "We want everyone to have fun working for us."


Sounds good at first.

But how is this achievement rewarded in New Work companies?

What exactly can applicants expect in the new world of work when it comes to negotiating hard factors such as salary?

The question of money is by no means taking a back seat

"If you look at the New Work promise, you might at first think that salary is generally rather unimportant in the modern working world," says Vanessa Jobst-Jürgens.

For a study, the New Work consultant investigated the specific changes behind the New Work keywords.

In doing so, she found out: The question of money is by no means taking a back seat.

The opposite is the case: "New Work breaks the taboo that you don't talk about money - and more than ever the topic of how high an appropriate and fair salary should be."

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In the “old” world of work, it was true that what my colleagues or the boss earn is none of my business.

It should be different in the new world of work.

“Applicants should be prepared for the fact that they have to speak very openly about their salary expectations at New Work companies and how they see their own performance and their contribution to the company,” says Jobst-Jürgens.

"Because you will often actively participate in the decision-making process for your own salary and possibly also that of your colleagues."


It is the same with network strategists.

A few years ago, boss Hellmann discovered that some of his 50 employees were dissatisfied despite all the great benefits and self-determination.

“It was mostly about money,” explains Hellmann.

It is true that at that time he was already paying normal market salaries.

However, many of the digital, marketing, and tech consultants are highly sought after in the job market.

"Of course, there is always someone around the corner who wants to poach you and offers you even more money." Then the employees at Hellmann stood on the mat and asked for a raise.

"And then I explained: People, if you go to work there for the high salary, you have to forego many of the benefits that we take for granted - and you can not help shape your everyday life much less.

Is that what you want? "

Up to 640 euros in benefits

Do you really have to decide?

Either earn a lot of money in a traditional, hierarchically organized company - or work for less money in a more self-determined new work job?


For network strategist Hellmann, that's actually part of the truth about New Work.

"Let's be honest: In many classically organized companies, the high salary is a compensation for pain and suffering for having to endure all the status fights, the encroaching customers and unnecessary, cumbersome hierarchies."

In order to find out what an appropriate remuneration could look like, Hellmann had his employees develop a salary formula themselves.

"A task force initially assigned a monetary value to every benefit that the company offers," says Hellmann.

The bottom line was that it came to a value of 390 to 640 euros per month, which employees receive through benefits such as subsidies for insurance and daycare fees, yoga and language courses, free food and drinks, train tickets and other benefits.

"And then everyone thought about how to set the salary for the individual in the most sensible way."

If the goals are achieved, the salary increases automatically

Another result: 50 percent of the salary is based on the professional competence and experience of an employee and the length of service, as well as how much customer and budget responsibility he bears (25 percent) and how much he contributes to team coordination ( 25 percent).

The criteria that the network strategists have agreed on are therefore not that different from those in other companies.

But there is transparency: the teams talk about their goals for the next few months at regular intervals - if these are achieved, the salary increases automatically.

Each employee can also see at any time how much turnover the company is making, how their own productivity and that of the teams are developing.

“Now everyone knows how their own salary is calculated and that of all colleagues.” Since then, there has hardly been any debate about whether salaries are appropriate and fair.

"And if they do, they are managed in a much more objective and transparent manner," says Hellmann.

It gets much more complicated with the New Pay model of the Ministry Group, a group of communication and transformation consultancies with headquarters in Hamburg.

Several employee committees decide on the salary here.

A part of the salary is determined by the respective team and the specialist colleagues who evaluate the performance of each individual on a quarterly basis.


The entire workforce also evaluates the “extra commitment” of each individual once a year.

A management group of nine people assess the “entrepreneurial commitment” twice a year.

And each individual can then rate their own performance.

The whole thing is a challenge - after all, nobody was used to constantly talking about how much money their own work is worth and having a say in the salaries of colleagues.

So that nobody feels treated unfairly or under pressure, the employees repeatedly discussed the salary criteria and who had the last word on the salary.

"It took us almost two years to develop the system, there were a thousand detailed questions to be clarified," says Ministry boss David Cummins.

He is convinced that none of the New Work principles would have made much sense without a new remuneration system.

If everyone in a company works independently, it is ultimately not acceptable that in the end the boss alone decides who earns how much and what is really a fair and sustainable salary.

How do self-reliant employees fit into a corporate salary structure?

Everyone has a say when it comes to salaries - so much democracy is quite time-consuming and exhausting, even in small businesses.

It is hard to imagine that salaries are set in this way at a large corporation.

And yet: Many large companies are also committed to the topic of New Work, advertising self-organized teams and agile projects in job advertisements.

But how do independent employees fit into a corporate salary structure that is based on traditional hierarchies?

“Large corporations try to fit the new roles and working methods into their established salary systems as flexibly as possible,” says Nils Prüfer from the Kienbaum personnel consultancy.

Because the “old” and the “new” world of work usually lead a more or less peaceful co-existence in corporations.

Some teams work according to New Work principles, others stay true to classic work processes.

“In practice, you then take a closer look: What skills and experience does someone bring with them for new job titles and roles, such as that of a so-called Scrum Master who leads an agile team?

How much responsibility does he take on? ”Explains Prüfer.

"Then you compare that with classic hierarchical positions and assign the new employees and teams to the salary system accordingly."

The value of the new workers in salary rounds is rated rather generously, says Prüfer.

"Most of them are people who work on strategically important digital projects and who have specialist knowledge or know-how about new working methods that have not yet existed in the company."

There are not only advancements in new work careers


New workers also initiate some fundamental changes in the salary structures.

“This is mainly due to the fact that factors such as leadership responsibility change much faster in independent, agile teams than in a rigid hierarchy,” explains Prüfer.

For example, an employee may take on responsibility for a product or a team for a few months, but then step back into the ranks and continue to work with less responsibility in another team.

"Large companies then solve this in such a way that they compensate peaks in responsibility with temporary allowances or bonuses."

In the old world of work, someone who took on a new position would have got a promotion and a raise - and kept them for the rest of their career.

As a rule, it only went forward, not back again.

“In the New Work world, on the other hand, careers and thus salaries are much more flexible.” Technical experts can take on responsibility more quickly than before without having to wait long for someone to make room above them in the hierarchy.

On the one hand, they can make large salary jumps quickly, on the other hand, they may decrease later in terms of salary and responsibility.

The bottom line for the New Pay world is: Since there are no classic hierarchies, you can quickly take on responsibility and then earn a high salary.

And: There is much more talk than in conventional companies about who should earn how much money for their work.

Therefore, self-confidence is required - and the willingness to deal with the question of how valuable your own performance is for the team and the company.

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG.

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Source: Welt am Sonntag