How to Address Equal Pay Issues in the Workplace

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By EmployDiversity

When an employee approaches you as a Human Resources Manager or Executive with a concern about pay equity, you should be able to reassure them that the company offers equal pay for equal work. At so many companies, however, that is simply not true. Working toward salary equity requires more than just workplace policies. It requires an acknowledgment of the issue, a change in processes, and a unified effort to fix it.

Understand Your Numbers

It’s difficult to truly understand pay inequity without looking at the data. Wage and compensation analysis is complex and may require that you consult with an outside expert. Hiring an external compensation expert can help show employers that you take the issue seriously and are vested in getting an objective assessment. 

Review Your Policies

Your compensation policies should reflect equal pay for equal work and clearly outline how compensation decisions are made. Having defined pay ranges for roles and years of experience can help minimize pay discrepancies. Without these, two otherwise equivalent employees could be given very different starting salaries depending on their negotiation skills and their manager.

You also need to establish the requirements for salary increases and communicate them to all of your managers. Policies like this will remove a lot of the subjectivity that can creep into decisions about salary increases and promotions. It’s important that compensation decisions are made fairly and consistently. 

Ensure Leadership Buy-in

The results from the wage analysis and the compensation policies should be communicated to all managers and leaders. Be sure to educate them on the importance of pay equity and how it impacts the company from both a legal and cultural perspective. They need to understand their responsibilities and the risks of non-compliance.

Keep Working At It

Closing the wage gap isn’t a one-time fix. Ongoing monitoring and management are essential to ensure that the changes stick. Compensation assessments should be conducted annually to ensure that there is no disparity and any issues of compliance should be immediately addressed with the applicable manager. 

Equal pay for equal work is not easy to achieve, but it is something that all companies should strive for. Closing the pay gap is something to be celebrated. It’s important that you don’t forget to share your successes. You want to tell your employees that they work for a fair and equitable employer that they can be proud of. Achieving pay equity is a major commitment, but with the right processes and policies, it can be achievable and sustainable.