Salary Transparency Goes Market

Businesses have discussed and some even have tried on and off for years to share salary information with their workforce.  Most companies take the privatization approach, keeping salary info behind closed HR doors and strictly with management.  While this gives them the flexibility to make adjustments to stimulate an individual employee's work, in today's digital age, it will become harder to maximize the benefits on a case-by-case basis.  

With new digital offerings online like,,, and, employees are taking it into their own hands and seeking negotiating information that was once once reserved for the Compensation specialists at big companies alone.  Now people are publishing their salaries in self-propelled salary surveys thatare slowly building steam and credibility, and could end up backfiring on companies who operate in a close-hold salary environment and might have major imbalances.  

Thinking about it, sharing salary information is prevalent at the executive levels, particularly in public companies where it's required by the SEC and shareholders, but what about the rest of the company, or in private business? Some companies, like Whole Foods Markets, share salary information at multiple levels and use the transparency to drive expectations and teamwork.  It does demand a high level of communication and authenticity in why changes are made.  Check out John Mackey's blog (CEO Whole Foods) as a great example of a CEO explaining changes to a salary cap.  This type of exposure and consistency in communication supports their policy, keeps employees in the know, and provides a sort of corporate social responsibility in declaring it to the public as well.  

Emergency at Work - Are you ready?

Gustav, Hannah, Josephine...geesh.  As an East-coaster, of course I'm tracking the hurricanes and tropical storms coming across the Atlantic, devastating the Caribbean and Southern US.  It does beg the emergency preparedness discussion, as does the anniversary of September 11th.

With September being US National Preparedness Month, what do you have in your emergency kit?  Oh, wait, you don't have one?  What about your business?  Do you have your company prepared to respond to an emergency?  A great practice I've seen companies provide is an emergency kit for every employee.  Think the basics you need in any kind of emergency and attach it to their desk...then make sure they know about it (this is the communications part).  

I have a self-created kit in my car (water, jumper cables, one of those silver foil-looking blankets, a granola bar, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a hand-crank radio, etc), although I somehow feel that my iPhone will be more helpful.   In some places I've worked, I've had a kit at work under my desk - something like this kit , in addition to a "Grab and Go" document that told me what to do in case of an emergency. At it's simplest, I've created stickers to go on employee ID badges that everyone always has on them (to get in and out of the building) with an emergency website and numbers for employees and families to call in emergencies.

The key part of this is to communicate why it's helpful, important, a good thing, to be prepared.  During times of no concern, employees are complacent and forget about what's available to them, so consider using September -- National Preparedness Month -- to remind them.  

Here are some ideas:
  • Send out a weekly preparedness update during the month (email, display, seminar)
  • Distribute emergency kits (or better yet, install them at employee's desks)
  • Train employees in CPR, AEDs and First Aid and identify them to other employees
  • Set up an emergency call center where employees and their families can call in, in the case of an incident
  • Set up an emergency website for employees and/or the public about your business response in an emergency
  • Identify emergency coordinators by floor in your building
  • Connect emergency response to your business continuity plans
Got ideas?  Share them by commenting.