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.  

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