How Cockroach Labs used Pave to drive comp philosophy alignment and improve budget efficiency

SummaryKey WinsBackgroundChallengeSolutionLooking Ahead


  • Cockroach Labs are the makers of CockroachDB, a cloud-native distributed SQL database used by companies like Comcast, Netflix, and Bose to provide consistency, resilience, scale, and data locality for the modern cloud applications they develop. 
  • Cockroach Labs sought a partner to help it streamline merit cycles, track compensation in a unified way, educate managers on how to fairly and consistently award compensation increases to their team, and inform employees about total rewards and benefits. 
  • Pave enabled the Cockroach Labs team to save time and money by reducing the time it spent running merit cycles by more than 50% and making it easier to manage its budget.

Key Wins

  • Cut time spent handling merit cycles by more than 50% by consolidating and streamlining processes.
  • Broadened manager involvement in an automated, consistent, and secure way. Various system integrations improved data integrity, in addition to reducing operational overhead and human error.
  • Allowed managers to make data-driven compensation decisions with visibility and context into their entire team.
  • Supported data-driven practices, with a focus on rewarding top performers and ensuring fair compensation practices.
  • Helped manage merit budgets more efficiently and fairly. 
  • Built greater trust in the overall compensation philosophy and strategy at Cockroach Labs.
  • Increased manager and employee understanding of total rewards.


Founded in 2015, Cockroach Labs are the makers of CockroachDB, a cloud-native distributed SQL database for modern cloud applications. CockroachDB enables apps to scale fast, survive disaster, and thrive in any environment. Industry leaders across retail, finance, and media build their cloud data architectures using CockroachDB. Cockroach Labs has 440 employees distributed across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia.


Prior to 2021, Cockroach Labs’ compensation processes were primarily handled manually. As the company scaled, more than doubling in size from the start of 2020 through the end of 2021—highlighted by a $278M Series F round in 2021 valuing the company at $5B—it realized it needed to improve how it managed compensation, provide actionable insight to managers, and ensure employees felt appropriately rewarded for their work.

Amelia Skagias, Manager, Compensation at Cockroach Labs, and the rest of the Cockroach Labs’ People Operations Team immediately began refining the compensation process to meet several strategic goals. 

First, the team wanted to consolidate its four compensation cycles into one annual cycle. They also wanted to institute a small mid-year compensation cycle to capture any off-cycle promotions or necessary adjustments. 

Second, they wanted to organize compensation information on one platform that all managers could access. To help inform compensation decisions, the platform would feature information on each employee’s tenure, job level, last level change, last compensation change, most recent performance rating and more. By giving managers one place to see their entire team’s  compensation and performance data, managers become educated on internal best practices on how to make compensation decisions. By providing this information in conjunction with pre-filled adjustment guidelines based on a merit matrix, the Cockroach Labs team hoped that they could make its workflows more sustainable and scalable as the company expands. 

Lastly, they wanted to encourage employee retention, and ensure trust in internal processes. They wanted to find a compensation product that could support a transparent and data-driven approach to making compensation decisions. This helped Cockroach Labs align their compensation philosophy and strategy, and streamlined practices across the company—in turn helping employees feel properly rewarded for their hard work.

‍“We needed a partner that could help us align and streamline many different processes so that there would be more structure around compensation. As a business scales, it’s crucial to get managers more involved in the compensation process, and identifying a more robust tool like Pave helped with this.” – Amelia Skagias, Manager, Compensation


Cockroach Labs’ decided to enlist Pave to better systematize compensation practices at Cockroach. Since implementing Pave, Cockroach Labs has been able to:

  • Reduce time spent handling merit cycles by more than 50%. Pave provided a solution to synchronize employees to two consolidated cycles per year, in addition to providing data in an automated way through various system integrations. Pave has massively reduced operational overhead associated with multiple merit cycles that were previously required, while broadening manager involvement and understanding of compensation decisions.
  • Manage its budget more efficiently and fairly. Pave’s built-in budget tracker provided all managers visibility into their merit cycle budgets, allowing them to more effectively evaluate spend across their teams. The supporting data provided within Pave helped managers understand and allocate their spend appropriately to stay within budget.
  • Support data-driven practices with a focus on rewarding top performers and ensuring fair compensation practices. Cockroach Labs used Pave to disseminate information and compensation recommendations to managers. Managers simply needed to log into Pave and review the recommendations, based on a predetermined compensation matrix that takes performance rating and compa ratio to determine the appropriate salary increase. Having a holistic team view and insight into how recommendations were derived reduced confusion and back-and-forth between managers and the People team. This made it easier for managers to make fair decisions and also improved the understanding of Cockroach Labs’ overall compensation strategy.
“This was the first merit cycle where the managers actually were able to view all information relevant for compensation decisions in one central location. We could offer transparency for managers in terms of how they should reward employees and also how they can responsibly allocate their budget. It’s a huge benefit to have managers aligned and bought into the comp philosophy and how it’s executed so they can have better conversations with their employees.” – Amelia Skagias, Manager, Compensation 
  • Educate employees on their compensation. Using Pave Total Rewards, Cockroach Labs provided every employee a portal where they could see a visualization of their salary, equity, bonus structure, and position within the salary band. Offering this level of transparency has helped reduce turnover and improve employee trust and recruiting efforts. ‍
  • Save time on compensation management. The Cockroach Labs team estimates that Pave has reduced the amount of time they spend working on merit cycles by 50%. Moreover, using Pave has fostered greater trust throughout the organization regarding how compensation is managed. The team has seen a marked drop in employee questions about compensation, and managers have been able to use the compensation information in Pave to manage their budgets more effectively.

Looking Ahead

Pave has enabled Cockroach Labs to implement a systematized approach to compensation management that can scale with the organization over time. Amelia Skagias says Pave allows her to easily share the Cockroach Lab’s compensation philosophy throughout the entire organization.

“I was originally just looking for a compensation planner tool, but I’ve been really surprised with all the use I’ve been getting from Pave’s various product lines. From Total Rewards to Benchmarking, there are a ton of different use cases for this tool within our organization.” – Amelia Skagias, Manager, Compensation

Now that compensation processes have been streamlined and rolled out, the team is looking to use Pave to help employees better understand the value of their equity and amplify their existing pay transparency initiatives.


Learn more about Pave's end-to-end compensation management platform

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