Salaries are probably the most talked about thing in the workplace. Why? Well, it is, after all, one of the top 5 reasons why people even join the workforce. So, it’s really not a matter of surprise when what you pay your employees becomes a heated topic for debate. Speaking of salary-related debates, a long-standing one has to do with the idea of salary transparency. The key question here being, “Should salary be made transparent/visible to the public?”. This is a question that has seen enough support and plenty of criticism. So, should you follow a policy of transparency when it comes to what you pay your employees? Well, we’re going to attempt to provide a practical perspective on things. Hopefully, it’ll help you make a better decision if this issue ever pops up. The honesty dilemma The primary statement made in favour of salary transparency is that it creates a work environment that is open and of course…transparent! Employees, when made aware that they are earning more or less the same as their colleagues, tend to be more trusting and satisfied. Additionally, it allows them to have a clear idea of how much they are valued in the organisation and whether they need to do more in order to be recognised. For instance, a difference in salaries can fuel conversations about why one is paid more than the other. This can lead to further discussions over the issue, where the lower-earning employee learns about how he/she can contribute to earning the same as his/her higher-earning colleague. Lastly, it also helps organisations avoid any form of bias in their recruitment or promotion processes. By forcing the employer to establish measurable metrics, salary transparency allows them to reward employees based on work-related contributions. But, there’s a problem… Like always, there are two sides to everything. Some employers feel that salary transparency prevents them from rewarding employees based on performance and forces them to pay everybody the same. This is a valid point when you consider that not all employees contribute the same. The awareness of an unequal salary can create a sense of discrimination and even lead to resentment among the lower-earning members. At the end of the day, salary transparency boils down to how well employers are at making fair decisions. Employers must establish systems that guarantee fair compensation. Employees must be provided with answers as to why certain employees earn more. The same employees must also be made aware of the qualities that warrant a higher pay. This will motivate the employees in question to work for their respective raises. If all of this seems like too much trouble, salary transparency might not be good for your organisation.
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