Why one Chicago company gives employees the same title and salary

Ask any startup employee about the perks of their job and, aside from flexible work options and a Ping Pong table, they might mention the lack of red tape. Some small companies are embracing flat structures to step farther away from the typically corporate chain of command that they see as a strain on creativity and productivity.

Flat structures remove the middle manager. That takes away close supervision and gives employees more freedom in creativity and decision-making.

Take Datascope Analytics, a five-year-old, nine-person data-science shop with an office in the Loop. Five employees share a title — data scientist — while the company’s four partners, including co-founders Dean Malmgren and Mike Stringer, are data scientists who carry extra labels. All nine have the same monthly salary.

“It’s hard to have a culture that promotes creativity and thinking of things differently,” Malmgren said. “It’s really important to get lots of input from equally valid sources.”

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