Accurate data powers Malt’s growth into new markets


Industry: Professional Services

Country: France

Number of employees: 500+

Malt is a business marketplace which connects brands like Unilever, L’Oreal and Allianz with highly skilled freelancers. Founded in Paris in 2013, Malt has recently seen substantial growth across Europe and into the US.

# The Challenge

This story starts in a familiar way. A growing company is keen to recruit top talent, searching for data to set its own salaries, and uncertain that they’re getting it right. 

“It was messy,” explains Richard Yarsley, Chief People Officer at Malt.  “Building a benchmark was, honestly, messy. We could look at things like GlassDoor but that wasn’t reliable and, of course, managers come in with their own ideas about what they’ve done in previous companies.” 

Post-COVID, spurred by the Great Resignation and soaring freelance market, Malt entered a period of high growth; the company has almost doubled in size during the last 12 months. “When you’re just hiring a few people a month, you can kind of manage, but the moment you try to scale, you don't have time to have long conversations on everybody's salary.”

# The Objectives

Malt already had a salary grid, but the foundations were wobbly. “We worked with our investors to build a comp grid for their whole portfolio. But the challenge was finding reliable data – especially for companies that resembled us.” 

Richard knew Virgile, founder of Figures, from the flourishing French tech industry. “I’d heard good things about him. We all had the same issue and the idea made perfect sense: get all the data aggregated to use among ourselves.”

Concerned that the current setup wouldn’t support scaling at Malt, Richard signed up with Figures to access its live data. “As soon as I was confident that the pool of data was big enough to use in France, it was an obvious step for us.”

# The Strategy

Right now, only a couple of C-level managers access Figures, but Richard says that this will evolve. “The plan is to train the whole Talent Acquisition and BHR team so they can be more independent when making salary suggestions. We want to get them to the point where they can use their external data from Figures and the internal data from our own HRIS.”

The Malt team created 11 job levels, from Intern at level 1 to Chief at level 11. This gives them a starting point for each new role. “If I'm going to recruit a product manager at job level 6, I already know the salary benchmark I should be looking at with respect to the external market positioning and the internal equity.”

Of course, this salary model still has some flexibility: “If we see candidates in the recruitment process who don’t fit into it, we'll go back to Figures again and check live. Has the market moved? Is there really a difference?”

But at its core, the new structure is fair and verifiable. “We’ve taken away the ‘word of mouth’ salary policy – I heard this or I think this – and now it’s based on concrete data.”

# The Results

No more guesswork. Using data from Figures, Malt’s compensation model is clear and accurate. “We can see the trustworthiness of the data; five stars for how reliable the data is.”

Assessing existing salaries is easier.  Figures has helped Malt to review salaries internally, too. “It's allowed us to look at our internal employees and see if people are above market, below market, or in line. We can take that into account in performance reviews.”

Managers approach recruitment with confidence.  “When we get candidates coming in with counter offers, we have internal discussions, and sometimes it's only around 3-4k difference if it's a junior employee, but if we have the data to back it up, it saves us time. It saves us money.”

A solid compensation structure increases accountability. “I think it increases that credibility internally; you know, when we say 50k we're not just putting the number out of there.  We can show [employees] Figures and say look – this is where the data is coming from.” The model is solid enough to be shared across markets and countries as Malt expands, too: “The future for us is training local HR managers to use Figures and empowering them to make local decisions.”

“When a company is scaling, you need solid foundations in your talent management cycle and that includes everything: how you hire, how you assess performance, how you reward performance, how you pay people. The sooner you've got those foundations, the better. You can scale. I believe that Figures provides a big part in that.”

Richard Yarsley (Chief People Officer at Malt)

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