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Red faces at the Beeb: How to ensure you pay fairly

Better Business | Business Insights | Red faces at the Beeb: How to ensure you pay fairly

There will be some red faces at the BBC report after the publication of top stars’ salaries.

  • The BBC may be in turmoil today, but other corporations may come out far worse
  • If you aren’t happy about your staff knowing each other’s salaries, ask yourself why.
  • There are five key principles for paying fairly

Not only did the salaries reveal a rather uncomfortable gender and race bias at the corporation, it also shows some marked discrepancies in talent versus pay packet. Clearly, a few stars have better agents than others.

Were this exercise to be done by other corporations, what would it reveal? My guess is that the reality may be far worse. Would you feel comfortable if all your staff knew each other’s salaries? I suspect not. Yet there is likely to be increasing pressure for companies to reveal salary data. Plus, employers always risk that a few after-work drinks bring some irate salary demands on Monday morning.

"Check out the competition – You don’t want your staff to be lured to the business down the road for a £2,000 pay rise."

What can you do to guard against that happening?

Pay fair – If you were forced to go through a BBC-style exercise, would you be happy justifying individual salaries and why different people are paid more? Or is it simply that someone keeps asking for more and you don’t want to take the business risk of losing them? If you aren’t happy about your staff knowing each other’s salaries, ask yourself why.

Check out the competition – You don’t want your staff to be lured to the business down the road for a £2,000 pay rise. It will cost you more to replace them. A bit of gentle investigative work can help you understand how much your staff could expect elsewhere.

Know their personal circumstances – People who are struggling are more likely to be tempted away by a firm with deeper pockets. If you know someone is struggling to pay child care costs, could you offer flexible hours to help them cope?

Consider other forms of incentivisation – can you give someone a piece of the business? You may feel that it was your seed capital and your effort that brought it to fruition, but you may be grateful to have someone to share the pain.

US HR consulting group ERC offers five key principles for fair pay: Play to the market; make internal comparisons; directly tie pay to performance; share the wealth and provide a living wage. These seem like sound principles on which to base a salary structure for staff to guard against BBC-style embarrassment.

 

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