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Company policies about employees talking about compensation?

The title is pretty self-explanatory. I have employees talking about compensation and one is suggesting the coworkers are getting unfair deals . I usually err on the side of transparency but this employee is attempting to drive a wedge between a very talented artist and our company. I'm revising our company policies as we speak and wonder if it is worth including a clause about employees not discussing compensation or just trusting the organization... Maybe everyone is being treated fairly so anomalies like this will ultimately sort their way out? Or is it the policy that fixes this issue?

Thanks in advance

30 Replies

Peter J Accorti
14
0
Peter J Accorti Entrepreneur
Director of Sales Engineering at Resonate
Personally I think a policy is a bit of a stretch here. If people want to talk they'll talk. A policy of, "trust the company" also strikes me as a bit odd. First it's not really a policy but a belief. I don't see how it's enforceable or anything like that. I do wonder if you have a problem employee though. I don't think you need a policy to talk to a person about divisive behavior.

Peter
Dale Cook
13
0
Dale Cook Entrepreneur
CTO at Voxy
If you are in the US you cannot prevent employees from discussing their salaries - it's illegal to do so on a Federal level. That said lots of companies have these clauses but they are unenforceable, and reprimanding or firing an employee because of it can, and probably will, cause you trouble.
This seems much more like issue of management and no amount of policy setting will fix this.
John Seiffer
2
0
John Seiffer Advisor
Business Advisor to growing companies
You can't fix every problem with a policy. And I'm not sure from your description what the cause of the problem is. No matter what you do you can't please everyone.
John Seiffer
0
0
John Seiffer Advisor
Business Advisor to growing companies
One more thing - there's more to compensation than money. In some people's mind it represents how much they are respected, for some people it represents hierarchy or social status, for others recognition. There are all kinds of emotions that play into this stuff and how you handle other aspects of your leadership and your management can affect how people react to compensation.
Gabe Ripley
1
0
Gabe Ripley Entrepreneur
Owner, TattooNOW, Off the Map Tattoo, and Tattoo Gathering
I don't mind as much them talking about their deals with us, but sowing the seeds of "Your deal isnt fair". I did read up a little more and it seems a company may be able to stop them from chatting about it on company time, but I am not looking to curb the talking about their compensation, as much as being divisive and splitting the staff off from the company. The co workers are comfortable and think our arrangements are fair, so it doesnt seem like damage is being done, but the location is 3,000 miles from our HQ, so it is tough knowing a team member is actively calling our company unfair...

I would agree then that policy wont work, and dealing with the employee about the negative behaviors is the solution. Our company has grown, and quite a few problems have come out of our lack of a "no romance in office" policy, and so now that we are tightening things up will have one. The company has grown quite a bit so knowing what things need to be policy and what needs to be managed is crazy.

Also thank you for your insightful answers.
Joe Albano, PhD
4
1
Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
Employment policies are tricky and influence your culture in more ways than you might imagine. The point is that although you MAY be able to do it - consider the bigger question: Is it a good idea to do it?

If you are in the US you may want to read:http://www.govdocs.com/can-employees-discuss-pay-salaries

Beyond that, policies like what you are suggesting may do more harm than good, inhibit discussions that you want to have happen, drive workers away, and imply that you have something to hide.

Leadership means handling difficult relationships, challenging conversations, and hurtful feedback. What is your organization doing to increase its capabilities there?
Gabe Ripley
0
2
Gabe Ripley Entrepreneur
Owner, TattooNOW, Off the Map Tattoo, and Tattoo Gathering
No policy is an easy answer, I was more coming at it from the other end, which is when their discussions turn to one staff telling others their deal isn't fair (without bringing this feedback to me) what is the proper recourse? How long can this be allowed to happen? I work hard for everyone every day, and when this staff member is doing this I have no desire to help them be a success. I plan on explaining how giving his feedback to other staff members and not me (as owner) only creates friction with staff and does not allow me to address his concerns. It is unacceptable in our company, and if he does this again could be dismissed...?
Gabe Ripley
0
0
Gabe Ripley Entrepreneur
Owner, TattooNOW, Off the Map Tattoo, and Tattoo Gathering
I dont stray away from any difficult conversation, but we are talking about a location on the other coast so we are limited to a few weekends in person, and monthly skypes (sometimes two times a month). I have had numerous conversations about bringing negative feedback about the manager or business directly to me because this staff talks around the studio all the time and it frustrates his co-workers. We have gone through the 5 dysfunctions of a team book together, and are in the process off implementing the advantage structure a bit more. There is no question there are management issues, we have grown quite a bit and are hustling to keep it all together. The group of people are pretty amazing, and as we solidify our organizational structure and health it will be exciting to see the effects.
Brian Vorpahl
0
0
Brian Vorpahl Entrepreneur
Sales and Applications Engineer
I agree with Peter Accorti. I think, as a manager, you also risk alienating yourself as being too controlling over a grey area that may not be your business.
John Seiffer
0
0
John Seiffer Advisor
Business Advisor to growing companies
Gabe,
I've only run my company from 1,500 miles away so what I say may only be half applicable to you [grin] but you have to do a lot of things differently to build a solid culture when there's a lot of distance. Plus it sounds like you're growing fast. When companies grow their organization needs to be different not just bigger to get through the growth pains.

From what you're saying there may be more going on than can be handled on a forum like this. I'd be happy to chat direct if you want.
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