Do you work in an environment where discussing your salary with a coworker is discouraged or even strictly prohibited?

Hiding an employee’s salary from another has long thought to be an important part of maintaining a cohesive workplace environment. It seems logical that an if an employee is known to be making less than another, that employee might harbor feelings of resentment that would carry over into job performance, right?

Not necessarily so, according to Cornell University researchers, who claim the opposite is often true. The results of the study, performed by assistant professor Elena Belogolovsky, indicate that an employee will show a decrease in performance if the difference in wages is not transparent.

The study does state that pay secrecy works better for individuals who are more tolerant to being treated unfairly but for individuals less tolerant to inequity, pay transparency shows a direct association to improved performance.

Belogolovsky says there’s no easy answer when it comes to exposing job salary because the results do indicate that personality plays a significant role in what might be best for the majority of your employees. The goal is to make all employees feel that management can be trusted. “It doesn’t matter what you think. If your employees don’t perceive it as fair, you’re in trouble.”

The next time you’re discussing pay with your boss, you might mention that you’re mostly driven by equality and you’d like to know the pay of everyone else you work with?

Let us know how that works out.

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