Michael Goldberg is Namely’s new manager of total rewards. After getting his start at Deloitte, Michael found a passion for start-ups, joining Etsy and WeWork before finding his way to Namely. His entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t end there. Michael dreams of having his own barbecue restaurant in the future. When Michael is not sporting a chef’s apron, he’s busy serving up detailed equity and compensation plans and educating employees on Namely’s offerings.
We spoke with Michael about his role and experience at Namely so far.
How did you end up in your role at Namely?
I started my career at Deloitte and Touche, coordinating global compensation and retirement benefits. I spent six years there before moving to Etsy for about three years. I joined Etsy when it was still a private company and saw them through their IPO. I managed the organization's compensation and equity program as a public company before accepting a position as WeWork’s global compensation director.
When I saw that Namely was hiring a total rewards manager, I was very interested. I had heard of Namely before and liked the idea of working for a company focused on HR and HR technology. Once I stepped into the office and experienced Namely’s culture for myself, I was sold.
What’s your favorite thing about your role?
I like ensuring company leaders have the context and resources they need to understand our entire total rewards package. If they are going through a merit review, they need to understand the compensation, equity and benefits components that form our total rewards packages so they can pass on that knowledge to their direct reports.
What does your average workweek look like?
It’s always very busy in the compensation world. At the moment, I’m preoccupied with our merit cycle. Once that winds down, I’ll focus on our comp philosophy and how we’ll approach that from the compensation, equity, and benefits standpoints. Next, I’ll think about how we want to position ourselves in the market and how we want to scale our offerings over the next two years.
Is there something that would surprise people about your job?
Compensation is unique because you work with so many different teams. Of course, you team up with HR, HR business partners, and recruiters. But you also interact with the finance, legal, tax, accounting, and leadership teams. Compensation touches on all aspects of the company, even though people don’t often expect that.
If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?
I’m not sure…The ambitious part of me would like to be the CEO of my own company. I like the idea of having my own barbecue restaurant. Sourcing the meat, growing my own vegetables, and being in charge of cooking it all is my dream.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Namely?
It’s definitely the people. Everyone is super friendly and focused on the same goals. They are all helpful and aren’t trying to point the blame or hinder the progress of the team at large. There’s an attitude that Namely is only going to get better and we’re going to be even more successful.
Do you have a favorite office snack?
Those tomato basil red lentil snack crisps. They taste so good, you wouldn’t know they are actually healthy.
What's something your co-workers don't know about you?
I used to be very athletic in high school. I ran cross-country, wrestled, and played soccer. In college, a knee injury and subsequent surgery derailed my athletic streak and I never got back into sports to the same degree. I also play a little electric guitar.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to do your job?
It’s definitely helpful to become a certified compensation professional so you have that full educational background. But the books only tell you so much. It’s hard to prepare for every situation unless you’ve seen it before and know how other HR professionals have handled something similar. On-the-job learning is the best experience for compensation roles because there are so many unique cases.
What was your best day at work ever?
Coming from Deloitte, a company with so much established structure, Etsy was the first job where I was given the freedom to own something and follow my vision. I rolled out a compensation philosophy with new guidelines and structure, which were all well-received. It gave clarity and transparency to the organization about what we were doing and why we were doing it. Giving that context helped streamline my day. I stopped receiving so many one-off questions about promotions and salary increases.
At Namely, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Namely series spotlights real Namely employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series to learn how we put HR for humans into practice.