Discussing your salary and work benefit details with coworkers can be detrimental to your career and workplace-happiness. It can also create a love-hate relationship between you and your colleagues, which can further impact on their productivity, job satisfaction and diligence.
If you are wondering if you are being paid fairly, discussing your salary with your coworkers is not the best way to go about it. Below are some of the dangers of discussing your salary with your coworkers.
The last thing employers want within their organisations is a workplace where employees have created factions that are not healthy for a work environment. There have been cases of employees being divided into groups of low salary earners on one side and high salary earners on the other side.
A workplace filled with rebellious employees will hurt you and the company because team spirit will be compromised and the ability of the organisation to achieve its goal could hit a brick wall.
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Under such atmosphere, it doesn’t take long for you and your employees to turn on each other. From this point, your employer might be forced to wield the big stick to restore sanity to the workplace.
One reason why discussing your salary can be harmful is because people tell lies. Keeping up appearance in the workplace is real – Your colleague might be lying to you about his/her actual salary and this can make you carry a resentful attitude at work.
When your coworker shares details of his/her salary with you, the truth is that the figure that he/she has chosen to share with you could be more or less than what the actual figure is. If you take this figure to be what he/she really earns and approach your human resource manager for a raise, this might be detrimental to you in the long run.
Creating the Wrong Impression
The popular mindset of employees is that colleagues with the same job description must earn the same salary. However, this is not true. Your salary boils down to how qualified you are for the role as well as your professional portfolio.
For example, if you are hired for the role of a project manager based on your qualification from a Nigerian tertiary institution and a 3-year experience, your salary might differ from a colleague who has PMP, CAPM, CSM and PBA certifications and succeeds in negotiating for a higher salary.
Finding out that your colleagues earn less or more than you can be demotivating and can seriously hurt your concentration and productivity. It could also create a situation where you begin to hold silent grudges against your colleagues especially in cases where they earn much more than you do.
A senior manager shared a personal experience of how he discovered that some members of his team were earning better than him. From the moment when he discovered about the disparity in his salary against the earnings of members of his team, he was no longer happy with leading them or the great work he was doing. He eventually asked for a raise but didn’t get it. The rest of the story went downhill from that point.
You Can Get Fired
If you are found discussing your salary in an organisation that has a pay secrecy policy, you are likely to lose your job. If the company is one of those that has this as part of its employment contract, which you are expected to sign, things get even more complicated for you.
To purge the workplace of the feeling of discontent that can be born from salary discussion among you and your employees, you can lose your job or be made a scapegoat for initiating salary-related conversations.
Another danger of discussing your salary with your coworkers is the legality of doing so. Some countries have laws that prevent employers from restricting employees from discussing their salary. In such environment, you would not have any issues doing so but in Nigeria most employers prohibit employees doing so. It is not constitutionally illegal but some organisations have their employees agreeing to contracts that prohibit them from discussing their earnings. Some go as far as having it clearly spelt out in the contract you sign and with penalties for infringing this agreement.
It is important to confirm via your work contract, the legality of discussing your salary with coworkers before doing so.
Final Thoughts on Discussing Your Salary
In conclusion, it is important to note that discussing your salary with your coworkers comes with some adverse effects. There are cases where it serves as a wake-up call to help you earn what you deserve but there are grave risks if you base your justification for requesting for a salary increase on figures your colleagues share with you.
As an employee, it is always good to channel your requests for a salary review based on merit and what you bring to the table in terms of contribution and your performance on the job. One of the worst things you can do is to request for a salary increment by citing how you just discovered that certain coworkers earn more than you. Let us know if you have ever discussed salary with your coworkers and let us know what happened and how you felt afterwards?