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If you told me some years back that I may believe that "transparency" is not a good idea, I would have argued with you to no end. For years I believed that "pay and rewards are powerful and effective communicators of organizational directions and values". Also, when we worked with executive teams to develop 'reward strategy' it seemed logical to assume the leaders would want to spend their reward dollars getting the 'message' to the workforce. Working with others, I did research on 'pay secrecy' with the bias that an 'open' pay solution was the best course to follow.

Now I wonder about that to be honest. My assumption had always been that 'paying for performance' was a 'good thing' as long as you used measures within the influence of the workforce that help organizational goals. But how many organizations actually even try to reward performance through reward design? If we could 'open' all the reward solutions so the workforces would 'see in', what would we actually be communicating? Would it be 'good stuff' or not? Anybody help with this one???

Jay, pay for performance is always a critical issue to kick around, but frankly supplemental to understanding how your salary is determined and why. That's where transparency progress is so urgently needed -- and continues to be embarrassingly in low supply. Data continues to show that employees either don't know how they are paid, or don't understand what little information they are getting about this.

I think the reward and recognition communication and administration issues are far broader than an issue of transparency.

Hi Margaret:

So the logic of an open pay system is to give everyone information on how their pay (and I assume the pay of others) is determined. And the conclusion is that the workforce is better served if they know what factors, and the process itself, currently is no matter how bad the news might be.

I had always assumed the organization would first 'fix' the pay determination process and then communicate the 'news' as a 'before and after event'. That is the way we always tried to do it to be honest with you. Some of the 'before' pay determination solutions we ran into over the years would have been terrible news to the workforce to be honest with you.

In your 'formula' then, it is better to know the 'terrible truth' than it is to wander around in darkness looking for the answer.

Thanks. You and I could chug a couple of beers talking about this one. Interesting to me anyway.

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