Friday, September 30, 2022

Action Strategies: Transparency – Too Much Thing?

If you’re like most people, hearing words like “transparent” and “open” and “honest” elicit positive feedback. Who doesn’t think these are good values, and good practices to maintain?

amy lindgren
amy lindgren

Um, me Granted, I set it up so I could have my say. Of course I would prefer to deal with someone who is honest rather than dishonest. But I reserve judgment when it is transparent and open. In my experience, those are the qualities that people like best when they have more power in a situation.

As an easy example, think of interviewers who insist on knowing a candidate’s current salary or desired salary, while not sharing how much a position is being offered. This is a power-balancing scenario, in which the candidate feels pressure to disclose in the hope of moving forward in the recruitment process.

Fortunately, some states have banned this candidate question on the grounds of “historical salary bias.” It describes the practice of making a lower offer based on the fact that it still represents an increase in the salary the candidate is now receiving. Not surprisingly, fewer candidates tend to be women or minorities, who can be stuck with a permanent pay gap, no matter how far up the ladder they climb.

These issues are gaining attention as the new generation enters the workforce, bringing a culture of openness to social media “out loud” from a lifetime. Websites like contribute to this trend by providing a platform where individuals can describe their salary or other job details.

So on the one hand, we have laws that prohibit employers from requesting certain information from candidates. And on the other hand, on the world wide web we have workers themselves voluntarily disclosing similar information.

These are not exactly opposite scenarios, as one involves voluntary sharing and the other describes a certain coercion. Coercive practices will almost always be the wrongdoing. But this does not mean that voluntary transparency is also the right path. As it turns out, the best answer may be nuance, not black and white.

Although there may be more, the following four areas are good places to go slow when it comes to disclosing information, especially at work.

Salary. Besides your boss, your spouse, and the human resources department, who else knows how much you get paid? In the old days, the answer would be “none”. Even union shops and public sector jobs typically present this data as a limitation without giving an exact salary to a particular employee. These days, the answer is unclear, as discussed above. This may be showing my generational bias, but I lean towards the old-fashioned concept of keeping this information close.

Health Conditions. Is it safe to disclose that you are living with depression or diabetes or ADHD? This is a tough call. On the one hand, sharing the diagnosis with your boss or HR representative can help you gain protection and accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. On the other hand, it can also trigger adverse actions, such as kicking you out of major projects.

Family matters. Men with children were considered stable while women with children were considered distracted at work. Is it really gone? Assuming the (sadly) answer is no, one lesson I learn from this core bias is the employer’s concern about family duties that negatively affect work responsibilities. It’s not a defensive stance, but that doesn’t make it any less real. In that light, it may be safest to cancel the overshare trend.

job search. Well, duh, isn’t it? Who thinks it’s smart to share your job search with your current employer? Seriously, I sometimes do. When there is nothing to lose and those involved will benefit from knowing, transparency may be the right call. But if those conditions are not met, a confidential search is still the best plan of action.

With all these caution lights off, how do you know when to disclose something and when to keep your own advice? As with everything, weighing the pros and cons can help. Questions to ask yourself may include: Do I need help, and would I tell others to let me get it? Could this revelation backfire? Do others need to know?

Whatever you choose to do about sharing information, remember that the decision is yours for the most part. Even when you’re feeling pressured, if revealing something makes you uncomfortable, you probably don’t need to.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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