Why salaries dont need to be a secretLet’s face it: For most business owners, talking about salaries with employees is uncomfortable. It can become even more uncomfortable when employees have access to information or systems that would allow them to find out salary information about other employees.

But does salary information have to be secret or awkward? We don’t think so.

There are many reasons salaries differ.

Credentials, experience, skill, performance, tasks—these each factor into a person’s salary. If an employee finds out he or she makes more or less than a peer, let them know they are always welcome to have a conversation with a supervisor to discuss the issue.

Employers should document reasoning behind pay along with annual reviews and any other pertinent information in order to “prove” their case.

Overcoming discomfort helps you make better decisions about how to run your company.

Yes, it’s awkward for some people to know how much other people make. But if you’re hiring and training great employees, it doesn’t have to be something you agonize over.

If you do give access, you should share your expectations with your employees.

“You have access to this information, and I’d prefer you not look. But if you do, it’s confidential.” A statement like this clearly shows what you expect and puts responsibility on the employee.

If salary issues lead to conflict within your organization, address it.

As I said earlier, an open-door policy is an excellent way for a supervisor to keep track of issues that may be going on with their employees.

Don’t let salary issues become a hang-up for you when assigning tasks or projects that are important to running your company. By being proactive about your expectations and putting boundaries in place to protect your company, you can make sure access to salary information isn’t something that will threaten your business.