As a Kenyan, there are several things that we just don’t do. These range from talking openly about money or any investment that we are in. We never declare our sources of income either, yes this does include and also sharing our salary range. As Chris Rock mentioned, money is new to black people hence we either splurge or keep it a secret. No one, not even the intern will share their salary details. We are sworn to secrecy which unfortunately ends up working against us.
The Unclaimed Finacial Asset Authority (UFFAA)in Kenya has been running advertisements on different platforms urging Kenyans to check and claim their unclaimed assets. Why do you ask? As mentioned, wealth is a well-kept secret. Unfortunately, the keepers tend to forget their mortal capacity. When death finally catches up with them, at no point will the family claim assets which according to them are none existent. UFFAA is mandated to receive unclaimed financial assets from the holders of such assets, safeguard and re-unite the assets with their rightful owners. Don’t ask me what happens when the funds are not reunited with their owners or next of kin.
A few months back, a friend of mine who is a registered lawyer found out that she is paid 100 thousand Kenyan shillings less than her male colleague. This is although the clock in the same hours and perform pretty much the same tasks. She was able to build a solid case around this and after 3 months of back and forth between her and the employer, her salary was increased. How did she get such information? She spoke openly about her salary with her fellow employee.
Salary transparency is an approach to pay and compensation that is the exact opposite of the longstanding norm among most employers, in which what the organization pays to whom is kept largely secret. The approach seeks to disclose salary packages to the public. Unfortunately, the concept is lacking in most workplaces around the globe with most people either for or against it. There is a taboo around speaking about salary transparency and unfortunately, this hurts most employees especially women. We are living in a digital era where individuals have access to Glassdoor, My salary scale and other resources that can tell what a colleague earns, instead of having to go to these lengths why wouldn’t an organisation opt for salary transparency? Are there any perks to this?
1.If properly explained to employees, salary transparency encourages equal pay and when employees can compare each other’s salary, they might realize they’re being paid market rate instead of spending their time thinking they are being underpaid.
2.Salary transparency enhances employee engagement and makes employees more cooperative and productive. Employees get to know the right people to go to for assistance and they will also work harder and pursue growth opportunities.
3.It helps companies attract good talents because they get to know what job and salary they are applying for, thereby reducing any monetary negotiations that can arise.
4. According to the World Economic Forum report 2017, a Kenyan woman is paid Sh55 for every Sh100 paid to a man for doing a similar job. Salary transparency can close the differences in pay between men and women which is rampant in most countries Kenya included. Everyone gets to be paid fairly irrespective of gender or race.
According to an article by CNBC, the disclosure of how much money employees make not only opens up communication around equality within an organization but helps workers feel more confident about whether they’re being paid fairly.
Are there disadvantages to this level of transparency? Low morale, jealousy and anger can crop up when salaries are disclosed. However, HR experts have deduced a way of tackling this and it is by explaining to employees how performance is calculated in the office. It is also imperative to show how salaries are measured out and why pay levels exist. This can be because of skill, competency or time spent in the organisation.
All in all, salary transparency and open communication are important in any workplace, what they need however is a precise structure and plan of execution.