I just happened across a piece called Psst…This is what your co-worker is paid, that talks about a small but growing number of private-sector firms that are letting employees in on closely held company secrets including company financials, staff performance reviews, and even individual pay.

In the piece, Kimi Mongello, the office manager at SumAll, a company founded on an all-disclosure principle, says that having the figures in the open “alleviates co-workers’ curiosity and anxiety.”

To that sentence I would add, “…and replaces them with shock and fury.” Look, it may just be that my experience is unique, that I’ve always just happened worked in places where some employee inevitably has an issue with the quality of another employee’s work.  But I don’t think so.

Unless you operate from a strictly commission standpoint, employee reviews and subsequent salaries are going to be somewhat subjective. The employee one manager sees as wonderful and super productive, could be the same person co-workers see as all-show-and-no-action. To find out that a co-worker you don’t have much respect for makes as much, or more, money than you do could be devastating to your morale.

Of course, full disclosure on salaries would be a good way to eliminate salary discrepancies based on gender but I don’t think many companies who practice such goofiness would be the ones to offer full disclosure. (Unless you’re like one the VP at one company I once worked for who cluelessly advised me to give a male employee a bigger performance-based raise than a female employee because she was married and wasn’t responsible for supporting a whole family.)

What’s your take on this?