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Talking about Pay: Is it best to keep your mouth shut?


Chronicles of Experience


Talking about what we earn has always been a taboo subject for no particular reason.  Most married couples are not even aware of the number attached to that all-important monthly paycheck.  It seems strange that we tend to hold our tongues about an aspect of our lives that we work so hard to achieve and that many associate very closely with success.


I think it wise that we should consider the question of talking about pay from two perspectives, namely that of the employer and the employees.  Should we be talking about pay and how would that benefit us?


An Employer’s perspective:

First off, if you would prefer your company to adopt a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach to pay, you are not paying people fairly in the first place.  Such a policy is illegal regardless so let us rather discuss how you should talk to your employees about pay.

You need to be clear on a couple of things.

What aspects of their productivity can increase pay?

What training could enhance the value their value within the company?

What is the highest potential they can achieve within the company?

Upon which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are bonuses based?


Do you know the answers to all these questions?  Well, you should.  Knowing what you value in an employee will allow you to reward those who benefit the company most.





An Employee’s perspective:

Talking about pay may seem like an uncomfortable thing to do.  The office politics judge those who speak out harshly, but it may be worth it.  Pay translates almost directly to your worth in the company.  You are in your rights to demand explanations as to why others in your position earn more than you do.  Are they negotiating better, more qualified or simply a bigger asset to the company?  If something more sinister and emotional is afoot, it is best to get out.  A boss who pays based on who he seems to like best is not one you want to work under.  You will not grow or improve and have little hope to achieve a more successful career if you stay under this oppressive thumb.

Speak out or get out!

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