Let’s talk about the tendency for trendy companies to underpay employees because of their perceived coolness. It’s not uncommon for popular companies to expect employees to work for less money just because their brand is considered cool or has the potential for success.

I mean who doesn’t want to have a cool brand and successful business? However there’s a fine line when it comes to the ethics of employee compensation.

It’s not uncommon for employers to ask candidates to believe in the company’s vision and work hard, with the promise of success, growth, or investment down the line. But here’s the catch – this is YOUR company, not theirs. They won’t buy into it the same way you do, unless they have a stake in it.

Expecting your team to work for less because your brand is “cool” sets you up for failure …

It’s essentially asking employees to offset the company’s underfunding, with no clear upside for them in the long run. This raises ethical concerns and can feel like companies are exploiting their workforce.

So, why is this wrong? Well, it boils down to fairness. Employees deserve to be compensated fairly for their time, effort, and expertise. Underpaying them based on the perceived coolness of your brand is not only unjust but also detrimental to long-term success.

For job seekers out there, my advice is simple …

Unless you see a REAL outcome or long-term upside, think twice before joining a company that lowballs its employees. Look for a company that’s well-funded from the start, with a robust product or service that speaks for itself.