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Can pay and reward transparency increase trust in the workplace?

The more I delve into the reality of working practices in Italy, the more I realise that in spite of the general tendency to embed random English words into any conversation, there is still a strong resistance to adopt different professional approaches, based on decades of US and UK-led research.

I will explain. One element that so often came into the various conversations I had with other fellow migrants living in the UK, was the lack of transparency in pay and rewards systems in our Countries of origin. Faced with clear pay offers, well defined pay grades, pay scale boundaries and performance-based salary increases, we all felt more in charge of our own destiny and more trusting in our UK employers.

Why? Well, firstly, because we could easily benchmark the skills required, the job title and the salary offered against similar jobs advertised; secondly, because it gave us the opportunity to decide if it was worth applying at all. Who would waste time going to a job interview only to realise that you are either considered too expensive or probably open to exploitation? Lastly, because we knew from the outset the salary review processes and the career path the employer could offer us. It seems simplistic but this approach turned us into self-assured, motivated assets, not reluctant, depressed and disengaged liabilities.

"Well, but this is because the UK/US are thriving economies!" I hear you say. Actually, no. Well designed HR systems are and must be fully integrated with Finance for budgeting and reporting purposes; in fact, finance departments are clearer on how to meet staff-related demands three years in advance and can supply strategic information to Senior Management for high-level decision making. HR departments are also better equipped to strategically plan the recruitment process as a whole, from cradle to grave. From creating winning job descriptions to job retention strategies, transparency leads to better talent acquisition and is effective in creating a culture of trust in the workplace.

I experienced the benefit of this as an employee, an employer and a Master degree student and whilst nothing is ever perfect, I believe than more than 40 years of research in the field and applied best practice in the workplace have something to teach us all. Has the time truly arrived for Italy to change its approach to transparency in its pay and reward processes? I truly believe so and it should not come a minute too soon.

Un po' di aiuto - keywords

to delve into = immergersi, addentrarsi

pay and reward systems = pacchetti retributivi/offerta retributiva

clear pay offers = offerte retributive chiare e trasparenti

pay grades = livelli

pay scale boundaries = minimali e massimali relativi alle paghe per livello/scatti

performance-based salary increases = aumenti di stipendio basati sul rendimento annuale

in charge of our own destiny = responsabili del nostro destino

if it was worth applying at all = se valeva la pena presentare una domanda

open to exploitation = essere aperti allo sfruttamento

salary review processes = processi di revisione annuale dello stipendio

career path = percorso di crescita disponibile all'interno dell'azienda

self-assured, motivated assets = risorse motivate e sicure di sè

reluctant, depressed and disengaged liabilities = pesi disinteressati, depressi e riluttanti a lavorare bene

thriving economies = economie prospere/Paesi ricchi

how to meet staff-related demands = come andare incontro alle richieste dettate dal personale/dal costo del personale

high-level decision making = decisioni ad alto livello

from cradle to grave = dall'inizio alla fine (letteralmente: dalla culla alla tomba)

job retention strategies = strategie per la stabilità dell'organico

applied best practice = un uso applicato delle migliori norme/strategie

a minute too soon = non deve assolutamente tardare


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