How much do you earn? Do you know the salary of your boss and close colleagues?
The answers are almost certainly ‘I’m not telling’ and ‘No’ – but is it possible that open salaries are the inevitable consequence of truly open and honest communication?
Henry Stewart – author of The Happy Manifesto and MD at training company Happy Ltd – certainly thinks so. At his company, what everyone earns is public knowledge within the business.
Henry (and yes his salary is known to his employees) says: “The whole approach is about building trust and about people being clear about everything.
“In most organisations one of the problems with communication is that people are only told what they need to know. There’s secrecy around salaries.
“If people know what other people earn and why they earn that, they will then better understand what they need to do to earn more money.
“People earning more because they’re the boss’s cousin or they go drinking with the right people just won’t do any more.”
The approach is not unusual in some other countries. For instance, in Norway everyone’s salary is publicly available online from your next-door neighbour to the prime minister.
“It leads to managers being much more careful about how they allocate salaries and more clear about what employees need to do to earn more, which is make a more valuable contribution to the company.”
In the most recent staff survey at Happy Ltd 94% approved of the open salary idea.
“I occasionally get people come and argue that they should earn more and sometimes they’ve got a point,” he admits. “I’ve even had some people come and say ‘So and so should earn more – have you seen what they’re doing?’
“The main argument against is that people say we can’t make it open because salaries are unfair – and the obvious answer is make them fair!”
Henry talks much more about why it’s important for employees to be happy – and how to make it happen – in April’s edition of InsideOut (cover pictured above), the online magazine for members of IoIC.
It's available NOW in the 'Membership' section of this website. Simply log in, and then select 'PDFs of member publications' from the drop-down menu in the 'Membership' section.
Other features this month include why gamification in comms is at a tipping point, a chance to create your ‘futurestory’, a discount offer on a dramatic comms event, and an introduction to two new regional directors at the Institute.