How many times have you come out a salary negotiation when accepting a new job wondering if you are really being paid fairly? What happens when you know what everyone around you is making? Survey says…you are more satisfied with your job. As a manager having a discussion with an employee about their wage might be hard, but if there is transparency for decisions, those discussions become much easier. When a negotiation is left with questions doubt and suspicions linger.

Does pay transparency mean we all have to print our salaries and hang them on our doors/cube walls? There are the extreme cases, as cited in a article listed below, such as employees at Google preparing a document with their salaries to be shared with each other, or the case of Gravity Payments’ CEO setting a minimum salary of $70,000.

There are salary surveys used in many industries to determine salary ranges for various positions. Geographical inflation units can then be applied for reliable data for both employers and employees when negotiations arise. Where are these surveys?  Most employees who are in non-managerial positions do not know they exist or how to obtain access. If they do broaching the subject with their superiors may be intimidating.

Pay policies become increasingly important today as lawsuits over unequal pay or other discrimination lawsuits arise. Transparency could be requiring the median salaries of all positions be available to employees, while keeping the actual salary of employees private. Transparency could be similar to the government pay grade system where you know what grade and level a position enters.

Does pay transparency translate to equal pay?  As a woman I would say it is a good start.  If I am paid less than the median salary for my position I would want to know why – that gives me the opportunity for an open and honest discussion with my supervisor. However, it is not the end-all-be-all solution for discrimination issues.

Employee satisfaction increases as uncertainty decreases. states the top reason  employees seek a new position is to increase their compensation. When employees feel they are under-compensated (even if they are not) they are more likely to be dissatisfied. Honest discussions around pay are better measures for employee engagement and satisfaction than career advancement as well as employee recognition.

Retaining top employees will move us into the expectation of some level of wage transparency. Complete transparency is unlikely but employers must start at some level. Equal pay is a talking point this campaign, as business owners let us make changes to show we want to retain the best and the brightest of our workforce ahead of mandates – let us be ahead of the curve, let us show the world we can improve our employee relations with pay transparency.

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