People managers will have many salary discussions in their career, the gender pay gap will be a major theme. Regardless of the cause, the most important outcome for the employee is to feel valued and fairly compensated. Yet it is hard for many women to feel that way when the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings in 2018 was 81.6 percent or 18.4 percent. At this rate, if the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues as it has since 1960, it will take another 40 years, until 2059, for men and women to reach parity.
That said, and in the context of the following article, keep in mind that fair is as different for each person, as each person is different from the next. In this post, we will discuss three ways to mitigate gender pay disparity (indeed any pay disparity) and address any perceptions of inequality now and going forward.
Like it or not, today sharing is the norm so be prepared for your employees to share their salaries. Better yet, get the jump on it and publish your salary ranges for each job. This is especially important when you are hiring new people.
The key starting point with a new role is to set a salary range based on your current team members. In this way you ensure new hires are not paid dramatically differently from their peers, and that their expectations are in line with what you can offer. Then you can work with the candidate to negotiate compensation that is fair to them, based on their experience and qualifications, and your existing team.
For existing positions, as we said earlier, at a minimum you should publish your salary ranges for each job/job group (and work within them.) The ranges can be significant. But you must document each level with competency and experience expectations that are fair and defensible. This also gives you an outstanding tool off of which to base performance conversations. So, no gender pay, or any other kind of, disparity.
Actively & Consistently Review Compensation
This is NOT set it and forget it. If that's your strategy, get ready for rising turnover and declining return. Compensation reviews are not a sub-task of your Performance Review cycle. Do not draw that kind of attention to this process. It will reinforce negativity around your two most challenging people processes and exacerbate bad gender pay perceptions.
An effective process will be led by HR and Finance, at least annually, and include team members across the company who can benchmark each role and analyze the following factors:
- Cost of living by location
- Competitive salary ranges by role- by location,across locations, and across competitive industries
There are many free tools available online to help the teams produce regional and competitive data, we suggest you start with the Glassdoor salary calculator or simply Google, before paying for data which is generally discoverable with a good search. With all of this in place, your employees will all have the same annual opportunity to discuss compensation and negotiate a salary increase.
If you want to lessen the chance of pay inequality, your next move is to advocate for your team and help them advocate for themselves.
If you know that a team member is being paid on the low side, encourage them to do salary research. Support them to be armed with the facts to ask for a raise in your next compensation discussion.
This way you are giving them an opportunity. You are also giving women, who do not traditionally negotiate on this topic, an opening to do so. So, you are helping to battle the gender pay gap by helping them educate themselves to get what they deserve.
If you remain transparent, review compensation ongoing, and advocate for your employees you will make huge strides in closing the gender pay gap. Indeed, any diversity pay gap you may be experiencing. To keep the gaps from getting wider, talk to and coach your team members ongoing to ensure they feel valued and treated fairly. Keep in mind that “fair” varies throughout a person’s career, so keep the conversation going. And, as you create that cultural, gender, and age inclusive workplace – always address your team members as individuals by involving them directly in the decisions about them.
"The next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her. Believe her."
Lisa Crockett is a leader and professional development coach with more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Learning, and Performance. To learn more about her professional career visit her on LinkedIn.