In the second of our two-part series on ‘Money and women in the workplace’, Gender Pay expert, Michelle Gyimah, is advising employers about their role in complying with the new gender pay gap reporting requirements.
As of 6th April 2017, all private sector and voluntary sector organisations with 250 or more employees, will be required to publish specific information on their gender pay gap. If you fall into this category, now is the time to take action to start closing your gender pay gap. This can seem seem like a daunting process, but it needn’t be. We’ve prepared an initial cheat-sheet on how to do this. Employers, let’s talk money!
Step One: Collect data and build a pay gap team
You cannot fix a problem that you don’t know you have. While you may be ‘aware’ that you have a pay gap (or even blissfully unaware) it’s important to collect the data to ascertain the facts. Knowing what your pay gap actually is, allows you work with a real figure and start a plan of action to reduce it.
Next you’ll need to decide who will be in the team of people responsible for measuring and reporting on the pay gap. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has excellent resources on how to determine the scope of who will be included in your audit. This stage is crucial as it determines who will be included in your audit process. Measuring your pay gap requires resources such as your HR team, an equality and diversity expert, someone from your finance team and (where relevant) union or employee representatives. Depending on your resources you can choose to complete the work in-house or outsource the work externally.
Step Two: Analyse your pay gap findings
Your pay gap is unique to your organisation and will tell a story about your workplace. Quite often it is easy to think that your pay gap figure is only represented by the monetary gap. In many cases, yes the money is a big factor, BUT it is worth digging deeper as the pay gap figure can also be a symptom of a much bigger problem. This is why you need to determine the narrative of what the monetary pay gap figure is telling you.
Is it due to lack of flexible working for example? Is it because you do not have fixed starting salaries? Is the pay structure transparent? Is there a separate part-time pay gap? Do maternity returners get hit the hardest? Are bonuses given subjectively? Is age a factor? Is there bias in your promotion process? There is a lot of information that can be gleaned from your pay gap figure, but it requires further analyse to tease out the root causes.
Step Three: Take action
Once you’ve identified your pay gap figure and its root causes, take a stock of what this means for your organisation. Draw up your plan of action to start reducing your pay gap.
Your Pay Gap plan should include:
- Resources required: expertise, money and time
- Timescale of when actions should take place
- List of who is responsible for specific actions
- Timeline of milestones to be achieved along the way
- Key checking in dates to ensure the project is running on time
- Communication liaison person/team for employees
- Agreed communication plan
- PR plan to showcase what you are doing publicly
If you have union/employee representatives in your organisation, work with them to implement the changes you need make to reduce your pay gap. Engage your HR team as they will be the front-line team responsible for implementing and communicating the changes that will be taking place within the organisation.
Step Four: Keep communication lines open
Depending on your organisation, you may already be familiar with your pay gap – (some private sector and voluntary organisations have always published their pay gaps), but for many this is entirely new. Either way, your pay gap will be publicly viewed and up for scrutiny and for the first time ever, your employees will be able to see the pay gap in their workplace. This is likely to encourage them to ask questions about why the pay gap exists, whether it affects them personally and what you’re going to do about it. Money can be a difficult topic for discussion for some people so be prepared.
It’s best to nominate a team/group of people to be responsible for answering questions and disseminating information on the pay gap. Having this type of continuity is important for employees and will help to foster trust that you are willing to make changes to close the gap. Be honest about mistakes that you may have made in the past and be open about the actions you are taking to close the gap. Share your plans with employees, include everyone in regular updates and encourage open discussions. Here are some practical things you can do:
- Have a dedicated intranet webpage
- Answer FAQ’s
- Hold regular update meetings
- Provide regular briefings
- Encourage private conversations if people don’t want to ask questions publicly
If you need help with assessing your pay gap, then get in touch with us today. Equality Pays has collaborated with equal pay software company Gapsquare and Andrea Brewer Consulting to provide a bespoke end-to-end service to help firms meet the new pay gap reporting requirements to help make your company compliant with pay gap reporting and to make that process as pain-free as possible.
Michelle Gyimah is a Gender Equality Consultant with over 10 years’ experience of working on gender equality issues in the workplace. Michelle specialises in working with technology firms to build inclusive organisation cultures which attract and retain more women in tech.