Seven motivators for pay transparency

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September 18th marked International Equal Pay Day, an awareness day started in 2019 to end pay gap discrimination. There are significant pay gaps in the US. Black women earn 63 cents, Black men earn 71 cents, and white women earn 83 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

According to the Harvard Business Review, large-scale pay transparency adoption has the potential to bridge the gap to equitable pay. But there are other significant motivators for adopting pay transparency that help elevate the success of your organization.

Here are 7 motivators to help your company embrace pay transparency:

1. Your employees are already talking

Employees share salary information. 42% of Gen Z and 40% of Millennials openly talk about current and expected salary. Hundreds of journalists revealed their salaries on a viral spreadsheet. Want a way to curb gossip? Push the conversation wide open.

2. Legislation is forcing the issue

State and country legislation is trending toward mandating pay transparency. In the US, Colorado, California, New York, and Washington have embraced it. The mandate forced some big tech companies to build pay transparency into their new employment policies, starting with Microsoft. Get ahead of the curve.

3. Employee engagement and motivation increases

Workers are more motivated when salaries are transparent. They work harder, they’re more productive, and they’re better at collaborating with colleagues. Since instituting pay transparency at Racepoint Global, we’ve seen increased employee engagement scores, decreased attrition, and zero energy expended having side conversations about salary.

4. Company-wide education on pay and total compensation

Educating senior team members, managers, and employees provides a platform to create a common language about compensation and equitable pay. A company can arm employees with accurate, data-driven pay sources vs. employees doing misinformed desktop research. Equip your managers and employees to have smart, clear conversations about expectations, value, and how that translates to pay. And, do your own PR by touting your amazing benefits and their added value. This helps your employees, especially as they look at their long term career path. Our team knows the market rate for their current and future positions as they develop and grow.

5. Work with integrity and build trust in your organization

Pay transparency keeps organizations honest and accountable. Open communication increases trust. Strive to have no daylight between what you say your organization stands for and how leaders behave. In this competitive talent market, it is too easy to inflate offers to new employees. Seek zero pay gap between longtime—loyal—employees and new hires.

6. Embrace courageous leadership

Historically, openly discussing pay and salary has been taboo territory. And committing to salary bands creates feelings of vulnerability and fear. In her research, Brene Brown shares that the most successful leaders don’t hoard power and information. They become more powerful when sharing with others. These leaders embrace vulnerability to do good work and build sustainable organizations. And, as Brown shares, “the world is desperate for braver leaders.”

7. Pay equitably.

Pay people the same value for the same work, regardless of gender or race.

Over the course of my HR and coaching career, I’ve witnessed the shift from gatekeeping information to becoming more transparent. My experience tells me that open and clear communication—especially about salary and career path—is a huge difference maker in attracting, retaining, and rewarding talent. Those who choose not to embrace transparency and pursue pay equity do so at their peril.


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