When Calvin Benton started his psychotherapy company Spill, he had the idea of paying everyone the same amount of money. He thought it would bring harmony to the team. Instead, he was forced to abandon the scheme within a year because of the rancour it created and pay people according to their seniority and expertise.
“We realised that we had to pay attention to market forces,” says Calvin. “Sometimes, traditional practices are there for a reason.”
Calvin set up Spill in Dalston, east London, to provide online counselling and therapy to companies’ employees. It helps them with problems such as depression and work-related stress. Started two and a half years ago, the firm now has more than 100 UK companies on its books, 13 full-time staff and a number of part-time psychotherapists dotted around the country.
Over the last year, Spill’s sales have grown by 40%. “We’ve seen an explosion in demand,” says Calvin.
“This is partly because of the pressures that people have been feeling, working from home during the lockdowns. Many cannot set their work aside at the end of the day and suffer from burnout. Others struggle to get motivated to work when they’re not in the office.”
In addition to work-related issues, people also go to Spill to seek help for depression and bereavement.
“More and more firms are paying for their staff to get therapy for their problems because it’s getting harder to get therapy on the NHS,” Calvin explains.
Both of Calvin’s parents are qualified psychotherapists. He specialised in computing. He put the two disciplines together to create a service where therapists treat their clients over apps such as Zoom.
One of the big decisions that Calvin made when he founded Spill was to pay himself and his colleagues an equal salary.
“There were five people, and everyone was pretty much contributing the same,” he says. “So we tried this experiment where we paid each of us an equal amount of money – regardless of experience, regardless of role. We wanted to challenge the traditional model of pay. We decided on £36,000 a year for everyone. We calculated that was a decent living wage for London.”….[ ]
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