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No, we don't have pay transparency at the Spritzler Report

It's none of your or the IRS's business what I make as CEO of the report, ...but it's a lot. Probably more than Trump makes (loser).

I'll tell you this, employees at the Report who suck up to me, buy lavish gifts, and laugh at my jokes happen to be astute and deserving of extra compensation.

Also, I want to make it crystal clear that if you're hideous to look at, I don't care. You don't get extra points for looking like a ripped softball.

Knowing Everyone’s Salaries Can Light a Fire Under Workers

Seeing a career path to advancement—and believing the process is fair—motivates employees, studies show


By Courtney Vinopal, WSJ

March 28, 2023 5:30 am ET

Increased pay transparency leads employees to work harder, as long as they believe the pay system is fair, according to several new studies.

New laws mandating that pay ranges be included on job listings have gone into effect in recent months in New York City, California and other places. In states where there are no such laws, companies still have to contend with national job boards, such as, that often put their own salary estimates on job advertisements.

The new laws mean more employers are weighing how much detail to share with their current workforces, according to human resources executives. Many executives say they are worried about the impact such information could have on productivity and morale. A prevailing fear: If workers know what their colleagues make, it could create tension in the ranks, undermining performance.

Now, a growing body of research from scholars at Indiana University, Harvard Business School and the University of California suggests that when employees find out how their earnings stack up against peers, it can compel them to work harder.

Pay transparency came to U.S. public universities several years ago, and in some cases the published salary data has boosted outcomes. That’s according to a recent working paper that analyzed the performance of academics in eight states, measured by factors such as the number of books, papers and patents they produced.

Pay disclosures spurred academics who found out they were overpaid compared with peers, according to Tomasz Obloj, a professor of strategy at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, who co-wrote the paper. These higher paid academics produced roughly 7% more articles, on average, once transparency efforts revealed salary information.

Dr. Obloj said he suspects the counterintuitive finding stems from people feeling like they have to work harder to prove they are worth their more expensive price tag.

More broadly, Dr. Obloj said pay disclosures in academia didn’t produce drops in productivity, though the study highlighted an important exception. When pay transparency revealed high levels of inequity within an institution or department, overall productivity decreased, Dr. Obloj said.

“You realize that you’re working in an environment that is not fair,” he said.

Two other studies conducted in Asia have also found pay transparency can be motivating, though workers’ reactions vary depending on the information revealed.

One study of 2,060 employees of a large commercial bank found participants worked harder after they discovered their managers earned more than they expected. Seeing a pathway for career growth, these employees logged longer hours and generated higher sales revenue, according to Zoë Cullen, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School who co-wrote the paper. When workers found out their peers earned more than they expected, productivity decreased, Dr. Cullen added.

Though surveys show employees generally support pay transparency, there’s a limit to how much information they’re comfortable with being public. When the bank’s workers were asked whether they wanted everybody’s name and salary published online, nearly three-quarters of employees opposed the approach.

A separate working paper published last year suggests employers don’t have to reveal the granular details of their compensation structure to motivate workers. University students who participated in an experimental study worked harder and performed better at a simple videogame when they found out what their peers were earning for playing the game, said Christopher Tang, a professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management who worked on the research.

But pay transparency doesn’t make workers uniformly happy, according to another paper Dr. Tang co-wrote. People who are overconfident in their abilities, and assume they make more than peers, will grow dissatisfied when pay disclosures reveal they are in line with co-workers.

Together, the findings on how pay transparency can impact workers’ feelings pose a challenge for human resources departments that don’t have sharp policies on promotions or haven’t trained managers on how to discuss compensation with their teams.

“Unless they have very good performance metrics, it could lead to a lot of unhappiness, a lot of complaints,” Dr. Tang said.

Talking about pay can be tricky, but those doing it are finding more transparency can be a motivator, according to human resources executives at half a dozen companies.

Exabeam Inc., a cybersecurity firm in Foster City, Calif., started publishing salary ranges in January. Gianna Driver, chief human resources officer, said the move prompted an employee to ask why she was on the low end of the pay range for her role. The worker, who earned $130,000 in base compensation, saw a job posting that advertised a range of $120,000 and $180,000.

Ms. Driver explained the worker was earning less than some of peers because she had recently been promoted. It’s typical for recently promoted people to start on the lower end of a position’s pay range. Making more money, she added, requires spending time mastering the job.

Despite some uncomfortable conversations, Ms. Driver said she’s seen no discernible drop-off in productivity.

“If anything, we’ve observed higher levels of engagement,” she said, adding that employees appear to gain motivation from understanding what they need to do to advance.

The upside of pay transparency is the way it shifts the tenor of discussions, said Pearlie Oni, head of people at Philo, a San Francisco-based television company.

“It allowed us to start having really frank conversations with our staff,” she said. “What it takes to make more money here, and what skills you need to acquire in order to be promoted.”

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