Issue 139 - 02 | Ending Pay Secrecy: Why Keeping Salaries a Secret Leads to Disengagement and Decreased Performance, and How Revealing Pay Information Can Actually Increase Performance

By David Burkus
Published March 16, 2016 11:00 a.m.
“Do you know how your pay compares to your peers?

Probably not.

You probably don’t talk about it much. Most Americans are more comfortable talking about their sex lives than their salary lives. And most employers are happy to keep that secrecy going. According to a 2011 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, about half of American workers said that discussing salary information is either discouraged or outright prohibited. The assumed reason behind these prohibitions is that if everybody knew what everybody got paid, then all hell would break loose. There would be complaints. There would be arguments. There might even be a few people who quit.

But what if secrecy is actually the reason for the strife, and what would happen if we removed that secrecy?”

About David Burkus | David Burkus is a best-selling author, an award-winning podcaster (as host of the Radio Free Leader podcast), and management professor. In 2015, he was named one of the emerging thought leaders most likely to shape the future of business by Thinkers50, the world’s premier ranking of management thinkers. His latest book, Under New Management, reveals the counterintuitive leadership practices that actually enhance engagement and drive performance in companies. He is also the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.

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