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How Salary Transparency Empowers Employees – And When Not To Use It

Many companies resist the idea of sharing employee salaries, but this information public could be the most empowering thing those companies have done.




In a 2016 Glassdoor report, only 36 percent of employees surveyed worldwide said their companies were transparent about salary – but almost twice that number, 70 percent, agreed with the statement that open discussion of pay boosts employee satisfaction and overall business success.

In fact, social media company Buffer has proven the positive effect pay transparency can have on a company. When Buffer set up shop, its leaders decided to post all employee salaries on the company’s public blog.

Everyone – from the CEO to an entry-level worker – could see what his or her colleagues were taking home.

To many readers, this level of salary transparency may seem problematic, but in fact Buffer grew its staff from 10 to 65 employees in six years. Company officials say conflicts around salary are rare. When all employees can see how much worth the company places on any given role, no one wants to be called out for slacking off.

Another interesting point: A recent PayScale survey of more than 70,000 employees found that people surveyed said they were less likely to quit their jobs when they understood how their pay was determined. Even employees making below-market wages can be persuaded to stay when the reasons for the discrepancy are transparent.

Related: How To Structure A Fair Salary That Will Motivate Your Sales Team

In the PayScale survey, 82 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with their jobs once they understand why were being paid less than they might be at a different company.

Salary transparency is not for everyone

Salary transparency isn’t the best strategy for all companies: Some executives simply aren’t comfortable making pay information so public. This is often true with startups, which sometimes struggle to pay employees competitive salaries.

Many entrepreneurs, whether they’re connected to start-ups or long-time companies, work on a shoestring budget; so when funds are limited, they instead offer unique employee benefits.

In addition, salary transparency may be a bad idea because it can raise conflicts based on assumptions about finances, abilities and how much someone is doing at work. While one employee may take longer to complete a task than another employee, the output might be the same.

In these circumstances, making salary data public could create animosity.

The practice could also inadvertently punish your rock star employees. If they have to fix a problem created by someone who makes more money, they may feel undervalued.

The most important factor for entrepreneurs, then, is to keep the team focused on keeping the company’s doors open – because conflicts combined with a loss in productivity could lead to no pay cheques for anyone.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Setting Your Own Salary

How to instill confidence in employees in other ways


While salary transparency is not always the best option for every startup, there are other ways to boost employees’ confidence in their pay rate. Here are three:

1. Salary ranges for each position

salary range offers a minimum and maximum pay rate for each role, as well as several mid-range rates. Such documents, listing companies’ pay figures based on market-pay studies, are often similar in describing employees with comparative responsibilities in a given region of the country.

And they can be reassuring to job-seekers: Because most job-seekers today conduct online salary research, salary ranges based on regional and market factors assure them they’ll be compensated appropriately.

My own business takes a salary-range approach and offers percentage-based bonus structures to employees. This means that workers are compensated based on the percentage of tasks and projects completed within a specific time frame.

2. Project management software

Clear communication about tasks and responsibilities can streamline an organisation and keep employees informed about who is completing which tasks. Knowing that everyone is being productive helps employees see that, regardless of the numbers on a pay cheque, everyone is earning his or her keep.

Project management software can help entrepreneurs relay information to their teams efficiently and keep clients informed. Clearly laying out a company’s tasks and assigning them to the correct person can ensure that everything is distributed evenly and in an organised manner.

My team’s project management software allows us to see what’s on everyone’s plate so we know what everyone is working on – and who’s not producing. We also assign time frames to each portion of a project. Once a project is marked “completed,” we know who worked on what across the project’s development.

Related: The Salary Dilemma: Should You Be Open About Employee Pay?

3. One-on-one meetings

Nothing beats an in-person one-on-one meeting, especially with so many of us communicating digitally. Face-to-face meetings help build strong relationships with employees and show individuals they’re valuable to the company.

I’ve always had an open-door policy, but I found that employees sometimes feel uncomfortable interrupting me during the workday. So, I started hosting regular one-on-one meetings with everyone, allowing me to get to know each person and gauge his or her individual satisfaction levels.

These discussions often naturally drift to the topic of compensation because of our bonus structure. And here, I want everyone to feel rewarded for putting in effort, just as  I want everyone to have the opportunity to correct or self-evaluate when there’s an obvious lack of productivity.

Overall, the most important thing entrepreneurs can do for their companies is show employees how much their contributions are valued. This is particularly vital in the early stages. That’s why instilling confidence in employees about what they’re being paid and why can be essential for attracting the best talent and keeping it around.

This article was originally posted here on

Daniel Wesley is a Florida-based entrepreneur whose degree is in nuclear medicine. His work has been featured in many distinguished publications, including Entrepreneur and Time magazine. He is currently the chief evangelist at and writes for both Credit Loan and


Company Posts

Keys To Simplify Payroll Compliance

Human resources departments across the country cite compliance as one of the top challenges they face. As an SME owner, it’s up to you to ensure that your company’s personnel business practices adhere to the current laws.






Keeping accurate records to document your company’s compliance is just the beginning, says Ania Strydom, Compliance Specialist at Sage. 

1. Why is payroll compliance so important?

Payroll is the biggest expense for most employers. Employers must comply with all labour and tax laws that govern the payroll to avoid financial and legal risks and to protect the employees and the business. The risks of getting it wrong include:

  • Censure
  • Interest or fines by authorities
  • Imprisonment in cases of fraud or extreme negligence.

Payroll fraud is one of the most common white-collar crimes in the business world; what’s more, inaccurate payments and non-compliance can cost a business dearly.

Related: How To Get The Most From Your Payroll Solution With The Sage Academy

2. What are the implications for staff if a company is non-compliant?

non-compliant-companyThe payroll is one of the most crucial links in the employee-employer relationship. Late or inaccurate wage and salary payments, or inaccurate calculations of other earnings (such as overtime), deductions (such as PAYE and UIF), and contributions (such as retirement fund or UIF contributions) can be extremely damaging to the morale of the workforce.

By law, every employee is entitled to a payslip and tax certificate (IRP5/IT3(a)). Employees need payslips for purposes such as applying for personal or home loans. Accurate and easy to understand payslips will boost employee satisfaction and trust in the company, with a positive impact on business performance.

What’s more, employers must make sure UIF contributions are correct so that employees get the full amount they are entitled to if they need to claim.

3. How will the company’s growth prospects be affected if the company is non-compliant?

While an efficient payroll system enhances staff morale and boosts an organisation’s reputation, mistakes in record-keeping and compliance can result in punitive penalties and hurt the company’s brand. Compliance mistakes with payroll can be expensive and potentially catastrophic which subsequently results in business risks.

Related: How Do I Go About Valuing My Business?

4. How can a business ensure it is payroll compliant?

South African tax regulations and labour laws are and continue to be more complex. Keeping track of all the payroll legislative requirements can be challenging, but the risks of non-compliance are high and businesses can no longer rely on spreadsheets and other manual methods to do their calculations, report and file returns.

Automated solutions are becoming more essential for keeping reliable records, reporting and performing accurate payroll calculations.

The package you choose should:

  • Be tailored for the local tax law, labour law and regulatory environment
  • Manage all the complex calculations and regulatory reporting the business must do timeously
  • Feature automated updates to ensure the company always processes on the latest software and legislative version.

This will ensure it avoids censure, fines, penalties, interest and/or imprisonment as a result of non-compliance.

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Company Posts

Why Your Employees’ Health Is Your SME’s Wealth

Absenteeism costs R16 billion annually, according to Stats SA. That’s a lot more than it costs to sign up for a group offering that is specifically designed for small to medium enterprises.





Vital Stats

Fedhealth’s Commercial Executive, Michelle Morton explains the importance of group health cover to keep your SME’s pulse strong.

1. Why is it important for a SME to care about the health of its employees?

First, when an employee in a critical role within the SME falls ill, there’s often nobody else to fill the skills void created by his or her absence. This can have a detrimental effect on the daily operations and business output.

Second, offering sound medical aid may attract and retain the right talent to the business.

Third, choosing a medical aid like Fedhealth, which places a big emphasis on preventative health and wellness, can also assist the SME owner in cultivating a healthy culture in the workplace.

Related: Fedhealth Brings Healthy Benefits to your Staff

2. What should business owners consider when looking for a group medical plan?

Apart from factors like affordability, a good reputation, and ability to pay claims, look for schemes that offer value-added services, such as wellness days where staff can undergo crucial health screenings, and programmes to address specific health issues.

3. What are the top health concerns for today’s workforce?

Back and neck pain are second to headaches when it comes to painful conditions affecting humans — especially office workers, who are often desk-bound for hours on end. Fedhealth offers qualifying members a 12-week Conservative Back and Neck Rehabilitation programme to help correct the problem through exercise and behaviour.

Diabetes and hypertension are also on the rise, while some employees face HIV/Aids, weight issues or struggle to quit smoking. Fedhealth provides assistance for all these diseases and health concerns.

4. How will the employees benefit from working for a company with a great group medical plan?

I believe it makes the business a more attractive place of work for employees, as medical aid is a much-needed benefit and costly if one has to pay for it out of one’s own pocket.

Related: Why Fedhealth Believes In The Power Of The SMME Sector

5. Please explain the importance of the SOS Corporate Wellness benefit

The Sisters-on-Site service (SOS Corporate Wellness) is a value-add as it brings basic healthcare to the office. This means that staff can regularly see a qualified nursing sister at their place of work for minor health issues, instead of having to take time off work to visit the doctor or clinic.

Employees build a rapport with the sister, as they see her on a frequent basis. Through the SOS Corporate Wellness benefit, they can also conduct important health screenings that might flag serious health issues of which the employees might be unaware. Sisters-on-Site can also facilitate monthly health themes to raise employee awareness on issues like breast cancer.


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Company Posts

Why HR Legislation Compliance Can Curb Business Failure

Don’t let your business reputation get dented due to non-compliance.



HR Legislation Compliance

HR Legislation Compliance

Vital Stats

Millennium Support Services is designed to afford all business enterprises the opportunity to have Human Capital Management for their business.

“It is just unfortunate that non-compliance is exactly that “non-compliance” and most small businesses reputation gets dented or even fully destroyed, in the event that they are being accused of non-compliance by employees and statutory bodies” says Sharon Tshabalala CEO of MSS.

“Small businesses have no resources yet at the same time are not exempted from compliance. So, through the use of technology we are able to provide easily accessible HR services across the board.”

Related: Human Resources Management Demystified

Millennium Support Services provides businesses with exclusive distinctions of its service, so that you can ensure that your business remains compliant.

Human Resource Policies


The advantage it has over other online HRM systems is that it offers online access to Human Resource policies based on approved legislative framework.

1Independent Representation

In cases where disciplinary proceedings have to be under taken, an independent chairperson will be made available. When disputes have been escalated to the CCMA, a Labour Relations Expert will represent the employer.

2Disciplinary Policy

The primary purpose of discipline is to encourage employees to correct their conduct and/or discourage employees from breaching standards of conduct. Depending on the nature of the breach, there are five forms of disciplinary sanctions taken against employees – either formal or informal.

Namely: Verbal Warning, Written Warning, Final Written Warning, Suspension of Salary and finally Dismissal.

3Grievance Policy

The purpose of this policy is to give guidance and to provide a framework on how to raise and deal with grievances effectively at the earliest possible stage. There are three types of Grievance which have an informal/formal procedure.

Namely: Mild Grievance, Serious Grievance and Sensitive Grievance.

Related: Is Leveraging Your Resources Getting The Job Done Properly?

4Occupational Help Policy

The purpose of this policy is to establish minimum standards and requirements of occupational health and safety for the corporation in order to reduce the risk by:

  • Identifying hazards and possible risks causing incidents and accidents,
  • Setting standards of practice, procedures and accountability,
  • Measuring performance against standards, Evaluating compliance with standards,
  • Correcting deficiencies, deviations, and set standards of procedures to be followed,
  • Creating and maintaining a healthy and a safe work environment.

HR management is a specialist field, with many laws and regulations to navigate. If you don’t have a background in this field and can’t afford to hire a full-time HR specialist, consider outsourcing this function.

Millennium Support Services – Human Capital Management made easy.

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