I've been working at a start up company for two years and am wondering how I and other employees should respond to a company culture that doesn't reward hard/good work. (I am working at a small startup company, <25 employees)
My concern is that the amount of work done by employees and their corresponding compensation varies wildly. Some employees stay late most days while other employees spend multiple hours surfing the web every single day (sometimes for 6+ hours, every. single. day.). Everyone has work to do and everyone is aware of the work they should be doing yet some employees are not pulling their weight. This contrast in employee productivities has been around for years, causing frustration for the employees putting in longer/reasonable hours. Upper management has been confronted numerous times by employees and managers about these frustrations yet no action has been taken.
Due to limited funding, most employees were paid below market value with sparse raises (a known risk of working at a startup). During a recent round of raises, no distinction was made between employees that had been working hard for years and the significantly less productive employees and in some cases low-performing employees received the largest raises.
I understand this site generally suggests to "focus on your own work", ignoring fellow employee levels of compensation and contribution, but I and others have become increasingly frustrated with what seems like inequitable treatment.
I'm starting to be concerned about the effects this culture has on happiness and career opportunities. Are there problems with this culture I haven't grasped yet? Does working at a company like this have broader consequences to my career trajectory within the company (promotional opportunities, raises, company under-performance)? Is this lack of concern by management common at other companies, or should I consider transitioning to a company where hard work is valued more highly?