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Complete Salary Transparency – and why the research says that’s a good thing!

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shutterstock_171944915Have you ever wondered what would happen if your employee payroll information was available for all to see? Or if your employees regularly talked about their salaries?

We have been taught from a very young professional age that this is a bad thing!

I know I spent many, many years as a manager discouraging (dare I say admonishing?) people from talking about their salaries.

My thinking started to change when I caught up for coffee with Joris Luijke, HR Director of (at the time) Atlassian Software. If you haven’t heard of Atlassian, they are mentioned in Dan Pink’s video on motivation and have won about every HR award there is.

One of Atlassian’s hallmarks is complete transparency – including with pay and benefits.

Since then, I’ve debated this with myself and many of my clients. But I’ve become increasingly convinced that, contrary to conventional wisdom, salary transparency does MUCH more good than harm.

But, I didn’t have any hard evidence to back this up – until now.

This excellent TED Talk by David Burkus cites a number of studies that show pretty convincingly that companies who make their salary information available to the staff have lower employee turnover and high productivity.

When I was a recruiter I saw a number of good staff leave because they felt they were under-paid – even though I knew they were not.  Salary transparency can eliminate that.

The research also shows that having open, honest conversations with your staff about what they earn compared to others in the company can actually encourage people to do better work.

According to Burkus, salary secrecy was originally developed to under-pay employees and to save the company money. But what they are finding now is that salary transparency actually saves companies more money by creating a more stable, productive, high-performing staff. And they serve their clients better to boot.

I really enjoyed this talk by David Burkus, and I think you will too!

Let me know what you think about salary transparency by commenting below.

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