From the moment Maria Colacurcio stepped onto the stage at WorldatWork’s Workplace Equity Forum ‘22 in Austin, Texas, she implored the more than 200 people in attendance to seize the moment in creating a more equitable workplace.
Colacurcio, CEO of Syndio, focused primarily on how organizations can become more equitable in how they pay their employees but underscored the significance of being equitable in all facets of the workplace.
Colacurcio posited that workplace equity is fundamentally about trust, and HR folks in attendance should serve as the conduit in facilitating that trust between leadership and employees.
“The folks in this room who decide to champion workplace equity will be the champions of the entire workplace,” she said.
In her keynote speech, Colacurcio highlighted the rapidly changing attitudes employees have on pay, noting that Syndio’s research indicates employees want more transparency on how they are being paid and why. Additionally, employees are more active in posting their salaries on job sites to gain insights into how their peers are being paid in comparison.
“Imagine a workplace where employees didn’t have to wonder whether they are being paid what they are worth,” she said.
What’s more, pay transparency legislation is being implemented across the United States, which requires companies to share salary ranges on job postings. This increased transparency can cause internal and external equity issues if done incorrectly, Colacurcio noted.
Organizations can alleviate this concern by utilizing data and analytics to understand where pay gaps exist and how they can be rectified. However, Colacurcio noted, these internal pay equity analyses must be done more frequently than they have been in the past due to the extreme economic conditions of the past couple years that have no doubt exacerbated pay equity issues.
“A one-and-done pay equity analysis methodology is dead,” Colacurcio said, suggesting that organizations pivot to a quarterly analysis to ensure they remain vigilant in paying equitably.
Colacurio also emphasized that where internal pay equity issues are arising for organizations is with starting salaries, which has been exacerbated by the extreme market pressures of the past couple years. Companies will have to work to alleviate these pay compression and equity issues with existing employees, but Colacurio reiterated the need to get starting salaries right for incoming employees so as not to further complicate those efforts.
“Starting pay is where the gap begins and it’s tough to fix over time,” she said. “Getting those pay practices right and being more transparent in how you’re paying and why will go a long way to rectifying this issue.”
Colacurcio concluded her speech with a call to action: fundamentally change the relationship between leadership and employees by implementing processes and strategies that lead to a more equitable workplace.
“Change triggers backlash,” she told attendees. “So, change requires commitment, and it requires proof. This is your moment — seize it!”
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