Talking about money can feel super uncomfortable. Imagine how awkward it would feel to ask a co-worker how much they make. The conversation becomes even more risky when you consider that 23% of companies ban discussion of salary and 38% discourage it.
Yet salary transparency is growing in popularity. More people are sharing compensation details with each other. Resources like Glassdoor, Salary.com and PayScale.com have further legitimized salary transparency.
Believe it or not, this could actually be a good thing.?Salary transparency can improve your workplace in four ways:
Increases your negotiation leverage
Decreases the gender and race pay gap
Forces better HR practices
Increases engagement (i.e. you’ll like your job more)
1. Transparency improves your negotiating power
Before you joined your company, salary consideration was likely near the top of your list. Were you terrified of asking for more than what was offered? You are not alone. Turns out that many groups, like the majority of women and people in technical fields (e.g. engineers), don’t feel comfortable talking about salary.
Or maybe you really needed the job and didn’t want to rock the boat by asking for more. If you fall into these buckets, you could benefit the most from salary transparency.
One of the reasons companies have the upper hand in salary negotiations is that they know what everyone in the company is paid. They have an idea of what?s fair. But you don?t. A tech startup isn?t going to pay the same rate as Google. You may think you?re getting a great deal, but you have no frame of reference. Even resources like Glassdoor and Salary.com are far from perfect.
Salary transparency improves your ability to negotiate a better salary …or it might not. Remember, salary transparency works both ways. If you’re looking for a big jump in salary and it’s out of the published range, you’re going to have to make a very strong case.
No matter how you feel about the gender pay gap, it?s real and observable. In fact, the breakdowns of gender pay by race and state are staggering and symptomatic of more complex societal issues. There are steps we can take steps to close this gap.
Dane Atkinson of SumAll practices extreme salary transparency. He makes all employee salaries public for anyone to see.
?Salary transparency is the single best protection against gender bias, racial bias or orientation bias.??~ Dane Atkinson, Founder, SumAll
Salary transparency lets everyone know what their company thinks their contribution is worth. What would happen if the entire office learned that the women were paid less than the men? Suddenly, there is hard data that cannot be denied. If your office culture lends itself to seeking this kind of transparency, it can create a more equitable and trustworthy culture. Even if your office decides not to do it, now you know the kind of office you?re working in.
So.. why did he get that salary anyway?
89% of companies set aside funds for salary negotiations. And yet, only 30% of women even bother to negotiate.
Pay differences are of course oftentimes justified. Top performers deserve top salaries. If you’ve exceeded performance expectations, pay differences make sense.
But that’s not the only reason why people have higher salaries. As it turns out, many companies adopt an art over science approach when it comes to compensation. Unfortunately, that can result in compensation imbalances.
For example, studies show that men are significantly more likely to engage in salary negotiations. That alone can widen the pay gap.
3. Salary transparency forces HR to be really good
Every company tracks their employees’ salaries. But not all of them track why those salaries are what they are. If your entire office knows everyone’s pay, everyone will know when those pay rates change. HR will have to make sure that the reasons for those changes are sound. Your collective knowledge makes management accountable to all of you.
Managing compensation is one of HR?s most important responsibilities. If you think talking about it is hard, imagine trying to justify a pay gap of $20,000 between two employees in a similar role.? Transparency creates incentives for HR and management to work together to determine salaries fairly.
4. …it also increases trust and engagement
Think about it. What kind of company would you trust more: one where salaries (or salary ranges) were made public or kept secret? If everyone was on the same page regarding what it takes to make it to a certain position with a certain salary, then everyone (employees and the company) would be more accountable to each other.
That being said…read your employee handbook
Some of you are at companies that forbid or discourage disclosing your pay.?You should be familiar with your company’s policy and the consequences of violating those policies. If salary transparency is that important of an issue for you, consult your HR handbook, your HR team, or a labor relations professional, and decide how far you want to go with it.
Salary transparency may sound radical, but there are companies putting this in place right now. There’s early evidence that salary transparency is associated with higher work performance, which your boss should absolutely love. Even big companies are adopting this model. Whole Foods believes salary transparency improves the workplace so much that they’ve had this policy in place since 1986.
Members of the startup community have also reaped the benefits of salary transparency. Namaste Solar?is a solar energy company in Boulder, CO that began with an employee-owned co-op model. Not only are salary ranges transparent, but employees also get equal voting rights on issues as important as board member placements. The result? They are one of the only profitable solar companies in the country, and they’ve been around for 13 years.?Namaste’s founder, Blake Jones, has credited his company’s success to that high level of transparency.
There’s something to be said for Namaste’s success and the trust that seems to have been built into the company’s culture via this level of transparency.
One of the biggest fears people have when they even think about talking about salary? Reactions from co-workers. One of my old professors said it best when she said ?people don?t ask why you?re making that much money. They?re asking why they?re not making that much money.?
But before you march into HR or your boss’ office:
Do your research. Find out the pay range for your role and your geography using the online resources in this article. Keep in mind: location makes a big difference.
Try bringing up salary with a few people you trust. If they are co-workers, read your employee handbook first.
Don’t forget to count benefits when comparing to others. That bonus pool, healthcare package and free gym membership are worth something.
Make sure your own contribution is up to par before asking for more. Build your case.
A lot of times, you?ll find that pay differences are justified. Most companies don?t mean to sow discontent with their pay policies. But if you find something is off, discuss it with your superiors. Just be sure to do it in a skillful way. Learning how advocate for yourself and, by extension, the good of the company is one of the best skills you can master.
Why old phones end up in a drawer (or landfill) forever
Have you ever tried to recycle old electronics for cash? Turns out?it actually costs money to get rid of hard-to-recycle electronics. No wonder our old phones end up in a drawer forever. Now think about all of the new electronics people purchase every year. Where are the all of their old phones going? It doesn’t paint a pretty picture for our planet.
The good news? You can now turn your old electronics into extra cash and help the planet at the same time. We found a company that helps reduce electronic waste by buying, fixing and selling electronics secondhand.?
Decluttr?simplifies the whole process. And it doesn’t just apply to old electronics. Sell your old phones, CDs, DVDs, games, Blu-Rays, books, and even LEGOs on Decluttr?for extra cash, while helping reduce planetary waste. If Decluttr can’t sell your old electronics, they simply use them for parts to help repair other phones.?How cool is that? This company helps us reduce and reuse our waste.
How it works
For electronics: provide the condition of the product and receive an instant price quote
For other items: enter barcode on CDs, DVDs, Books and games and receive an instant price
Decluttr will pay you the day after the item is received at their warehouse
Payment method: check or direct deposit?
Shipment: pack into box, attach free shipping label and ship your items
Check out the “How it works” video on Decluttr’s website for more information. They’ve made it really easy to by and sell used items.
There are 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age every day in the United States. The average American couple over 55 has less than $125,000 in their retirement account. Even with social security, these funds are not nearly enough to cover living expenses, let alone the increasing cost of healthcare. Couples over 65 will spend an average $275,000 in out of pocket medical expenses. The good news? Home sharing is a widely accessible tool for creating passive income.?
How Home Sharing Can Help
Have you ever heard of intergenerational home sharing? Europe has been doing this for years with great success. Here’s the basic idea: older folks looking to stay in their homes are paired with younger people looking for a place to live. There are benefits for both sides.
Silvernest?is a home sharing platform designed for empty nesters. It takes all of the hassle and risk involved with finding housemates out of the process. Their matching engine connects you with people that fit your specific criteria.
Benefits of Home Sharing for People and Planet
Helps empty nesters and retirees stay in their community and homes.?That means they can continue to enjoy the coffee shops, parks and?friends and family that they know and love.
Helps create new passive income (this becomes especially important in retirement).
Helps people find housing while benefiting from the wisdom of our older generations.
Sharing a home is one of the best things you can do to lower your carbon footprint. The less space, electricity and other resources you use, the better it is for the planet.
?Silvernest provided me with a great housemate match? he is close to my age and we get along very well. Using this system was less stressful than my previous attempts at finding a housemate. Sharing my home eases my economic worries and I enjoy the companionship.???-John Oswald, NYC, Silvernest Homeowner
Why This Platform Works
Silvernest?simplifies the whole process of home sharing.
It’s easy to create a profile and listing.
Their matching engine enables home owners to specify their ideal housemate.?
They offer background checks, leases and automated rent payment. Basically, they take care of the process from beginning to end.
Finding the Human Connection You Want
The great thing about their matching engine is that you can specify housemate criteria. That means you can decide whether you’d someone who will join you for meals, tv, games etc. Or, if you are simply looking to fill the space and stay largely independent, you can do that, too.?
Their housemate matching engine lets you specify criteria such as pets, smoking, faith, work schedule and age preference.
Whether you are looking for companionship, passive income, or a way to stay in your home and community, this could be a good option to consider.
If you?re even thinking about starting your own business, good for you. Nothing is harder than figuring out how to start a new venture, and nothing is more rewarding than getting your own paycheck. You might even want to start a business that supports great causes and promotes sustainability. And you can do that. There are plenty of successful companies that do good without compromising the bottom line. If you want your social good business to succeed, you need to honestly think through these three questions:
Just like any other business, your company needs customers. There are two different types of customers for a social-good business: the ones who love you for your business and the ones who love you for your social impact. Most of the people who walk through your door will be the first kind, so you need to offer them something that?s worth paying for and helps you accomplish your social good at the same time.
Georgetown, a Republican city in Texas, became the first in the state to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. The big sell didn’t come from the environmental impact it could have. It came from the lower energy prices and the greater price stability over the next 20 years. How’s that for some amazing benefits? Think about how you can accomplish your social good while running a successful business. Your social good benefit may not be the big seller, but your business can provide it in tandem with other benefits.
You might have an amazing idea that will change the world and give customers substantial value. But it won?t matter if you can?t deliver on your promises. Think about your idea and make sure that you can realistically make the leap from idea to successful venture.
One of my favorite horror stories is the Coolest Cooler. The Coolest Cooler was one of the most highly funded Kickstarter campaigns ever. It had all of these cool built-in features like Bluetooth speakers, a blender, a bottle-opener, a hidden compartment, and a bunch of other cool features (sweet, right?). It raised $13 million in 2014. But after only a third of the Kickstarter backers got their coolers, the Department of Justice got involved. Three years later, 20,000 people were still waiting for their coolers.
If you have a great business idea that people are willing to throw money at, you have to make sure that you can create and deliver it to them. That means your solar powered electric go carts idea had better be thought all the way out before you go ask for money.
Starting a business costs money and, if you?re like most entrepreneurs, you?ll probably have to ask someone to help fund operations. You have to accept one hard truth if you?re fundraising: No one will give you money if they don?t think they?ll make it back.?That means you have to work out the numbers to make sure that your great idea also makes business sense.
Tom?s Shoes is a great example of a business that is profitable and promotes great causes. Some of you probably wear Toms, but do you know why you pay so much for them? Part of the shoe price covers Tom?s One for One program which provides help to someone in need with every purchase. Tom?s used to just give a pair of shoes to someone with every purchase, but now they?ve partnered with charities that provide clean water, restore eyesight, and prevent bullying. If Toms can make almost $400 million a year with a business model that has purpose, creates a positive impact for society, and makes a profit, then you too can combine your passion with positive impact.
Tom?s Shoes can make money and give back to the world at the same time because they built it into their business and their prices. You can too if you think your business all the way through.
Learn more about companies that are doing well while they do good. Check out the B Corporation movement?and 1% for the Planet. Both of these communities certify for-profit companies that have positive impact on our society and the environment.
Do you know why massive companies like Microsoft, Uber, or FaceBook became so huge? They were early. They dove into industries that were either non-existent or very young, which gave them plenty of room to grow and become the dominant players in those industries. Sustainable business is a young and growing trend that your idea could grow to dominate. Think of all of the opportunities and new ventures that are there to create positive impact in the world. Imagine being the entrepreneur who seizes those opportunities.
Business can be powerful force for good. It can promote sustainability?and?create wealth and value. Whatever business you decide to start, know that you can both do well and do good. You just have to plan for it and execute on that plan.
A home is such a valuable resource. It can become a hub of sustainable technology or it could break down barriers between people and create communities. These seven companies do good for the planet and put money back in your pocket.
1. Lower your Utility Bill and Use Clean Energy
This company is giving our Well Wallet readers $20 off your next power bill just for signing up to support clean energy. Have you ever wanted to power your house with renewable energy without the cost of solar panels??Arcadia Power has your back.?This company uses renewable energy credits to pay your power bill on your behalf.
You link your power bill to their platform, pay them for your power usage, and they will then pay the utility provider using renewable energy credits. So how much does this service cost? Here’s where it gets interesting. Arcadia offers a free package that converts 50% of your utility bill to renewable (aka clean) energy and a premium package that converts 100% of your utility power to clean energy for 1.5c/kWh, which will range from $5-$20 per month depending on home size.?If you want more information before signing up, check out our in-depth review?we did of their services.
You can also set up price alerts, where Arcadia finds you better deals from utility providers in your area. This is especially helpful when providers try to sneak in a higher fee. With Arcadia, you can reduce your monthly utility bill and reduce your carbon footprint.?Make your home greener and get a smaller utility bill, Arcadia is a great company to look into.
2. Get Paid to Save Energy
It?s one thing to save money on your monthly utility bill by using less energy, but how many companies pay you to save energy? OHM Connect pays you to reduce your power output during peak times. You can choose the time that works for you. You?ll get paid based on how much energy you?ve saved during that time, earning you some passive income while you help the planet.
How can a company afford to do that? Energy operators pay OHM to reduce users? energy consumption, which is cheaper and more sustainable than paying power plants to increase production. To get started, signup on their website, connect your phone or electric car, and let OHM earn you cash. To earn even more, get an OHM smart device installed on your wall.?Get paid to make your home greener.?Check them out.
3. Make your House a Home
No house can be called a home without the loving, caring people inside of it. Why not create that feeling and earn some money at the same time? Silvernest is a roommate matching service designed for boomers and empty nesters. Your parents (you?ve moved out by now, right?) can search for roommates and get matched based on in-depth preferences. Silvernest also offers background checks, prepared leases, and a bunch of other services to support good matching.
This is more than just a way for your parents to earn passive income. It keeps retirees in their homes for a longer period of time and creates a community, all while reducing cost. Silvernest helps empty nesters and retirees find the community they need to call their houses homes.
4. Break Down Barriers Between People
A lot of you probably know about AirBnB. They let you rent your home out to people who need places to stay in your area. You can rent out your place for a day, a weekend, or longer. You control the price, your availability, and your guest policy. This is a great way to use one of your assets (your home) to?earn passive income.
But how many of you know the story behind AirBnB?s origins? It?s not just about earning cash on the side: AirBnB’s origin is about creating connection. AirBnB was designed to overcome ?stranger-danger? and create genuine connections in a world-wide community. It?s easy to feel alone behind a cell phone, so it?s even more incredible that there?s an app that relieves that isolation and promotes global people-to-people connection. Sure, you can put some extra money in your pocket, but AirBnB?s real value comes from turning stranger?s houses into communal homes. They have the People part of People & Planet down pat.
5. Make Money Recycling your Old Electronics, CDs and DVDs
How many of us keep a drawer of old electronics that we never use? The truth is that it is difficult and expensive to recycle electronics. Not anymore.?Decluttr?buys your old electronics like cell phones, plus DVDs, CDs, games and books, then refurbishes them for resale on their online website. When you make a sale and ship your products to their warehouse (for free), you receive your payment the very next day.
They make the process super easy with an app that lets you scan barcodes and get an instant price for your item. And they?ve already paid out $100 million to 3 million happy customers.
This isn?t just a great way to make some extra cash. It?s a great way to recycle and upcycle old electronics, DVDs, and CDs.?You might not have much luck selling your old iPhone 3 on eBay (seriously, remember those?), but Declutter would love to use those spare parts to refurbish a newer product that could be meaningful to someone else.
6. Get Recognized for Recycling
I don?t know about you, but most of us don?t get the recognition we deserve for throwing our aluminum cans into the blue trash can instead of the gray one. Recycle Bank awards you points for sustainable practices that you can redeem for discounts, deals, or donations. Do you separate paper, plastic, and trash in your home? You’ll earn points toward your next discount at eco-friendly and BCorp companies, restaurants, magazines, and even massages and traditional places like Dunkin Donuts. Do you properly dispose of batteries? You?re better than most, AND you’ll earn points toward donations to support environmental education in schools. Turn your home into a money-saving machine and give back to the planet at the same time.
7. Get your own Private Bill Negotiator (for free)
Sometimes when I see how high my utility bill gets, I want to argue my rates down myself. Then I remember how non-confrontational I am and hide under my desk instead. Experts at Billshark will negotiate your monthly rates down for you. You only pay the Sharks if they negotiate a better deal for you. They get a cut of the savings as payment.?If you want your own negotiator for your cable bills, your cell phone bills, or your internet bills, this company will work on your behalf and save you money.
Another reason to like them: their founders worked in the telecommunications industry. That means they know all of the pricing strategy tricks used by big companies. They’re now using their knowledge to help the little guy (us) negotiate better rates. That means they are really good at what they do when it comes to negotiating your bill. Plus, they give back to the community with One-Bill-One-Hour. For every bill they negotiate, they give a child a free hour of financial literacy.
Give Back to People & Planet while Making Money
All of these companies put money back in your pocket, whether they reduce your monthly payments or earn you money. But what really makes these companies so innovative is that they do social good, too. Whether they reduce barriers between people or help you recycle, these companies strive to make the world a better place and help make your house into a home.
Get paid to save energy?? If you live in California, there is a company that will pay you to save energy. 300,000 California residents have already signed up. They are working on expanding the program to other sates.
How does OhmConnect pay you to save energy??During peak hours when we are all at home, energy operators have to boot up more power plants. This is expensive. In fact, it’s so expensive that they are willing to pay consumers to use less energy.
Energy operators pay OhmConnect to reduce users? energy consumption because it is cheaper and more sustainable than paying power plants to increase production. Ohmconnect then pays energy users (you and me).
That’s right. Local energy authorities would rather pay YOU to save energy than pay the power plants to power up during peak times.
When exactly are peak usage hours? I don’t know. But OhmConnect does and they’ll let you know in advance.
How it works
OhmConnect sends you an alert 24 hours before peak usage?times so you can plan to turn off a few lights, postpone running the dishwasher or skip the microwave during this time period.
?The time period is called one?#OhmHour.
One?#OhmHour usually lasts about an hour.
OhmConnent pays you depending on how much energy you saved during the?#OhmHour.
The process was super easy. It took me 5 minutes to connect. So far, with 2 #OhmHours, I’ve been given 675 tokens. Over time, these will add up. Julie from CA earned $800 last year, according to OhmConnect.
Want to save more energy and make more money?
Connect smart devices!?You can also connect a Wifi Thermostat, Smart plug and/or Electric Car to earn more tokens leading to more energy savings and more rewards during #OhmHours!?
Turning on dirty inefficient power plants during high energy demand times is hurting our planet. By limiting energy use during these times we can help limit this. And we can get paid!?