Pay Transparency and What Else Is on Employees’ and Candidates’ Minds

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Mar 21, 2019

The traditional employer-employee power dynamic is in a state of transition. With access to real-time information, stories, and anecdotes, employees today expect their companies to be more transparent.

Overall, this is a good thing. Companies are in a great position to build more trusting and reciprocal relationships with the people who drive their business forward. However, if caught off guard, talent leaders might find themselves overwhelmed with trying to answer tough questions across the organization.

As part of our annual Global Talent Trends Report, we decided to dive into this changing relationship. Through discussions with thousands of talent professionals, we uncovered three topics that are driving more transparency in the workplace this year. Whether the conversation surrounds pay transparency or remote work and schedule flexibility, the conclusion is simple: being more human in the workplace is fast becoming a business imperative.

Let’s take a look at three topics talent professionals should be prepared to discuss in 2019.

Pay Transparency Is Here to Stay

Over 50 percent of talent professionals agreed that pay transparency is extremely important in shaping the future of recruiting and talent. Why? According to our research, the top benefit of sharing salary ranges is to streamline negotiations, making the hiring process faster and easier. Clearly it’s a topic of interest: since 2014, the share of content about pay transparency on LinkedIn has grown by 136 percent.

Pay transparency comes in many forms. Some measures are modest, like sharing ranges for a role upon request, while others are more radical. Buffer — the social media management company — is completely open about its salary ranges, for example. The company makes internal metrics such as employee salaries, diversity workforce numbers, and overall revenue available to the public annually.

Starbucks was able to set goals to close the gender pay gap through its pay transparency policies. In fact, before it even releases a position to the public, the company sets a a target salary at the initial strategy meeting. The company also uses an internal salary calculator for many roles, allowing it to give candidates compensation clarity at the outset and limit negotiations that often contributes to gender pay gaps.

To decide what form of pay transparency is right for your company, seek input from those affected by it the most: your employees! As you draft a transparency model, provide staff with a safe space to share their thoughts and concerns. Making sure they are part of the process from the beginning can help you achieve employee buy-in and support. Prepare for these conversations by auditing your internal pay structures in advance, establishing a clear criteria for compensation, and having a good answer when employees ask why. Start small and progress at your own pace, always connecting transparency policies back to the core values of your company — and trust your staff to understand measurable compensation policies and appreciate your honest efforts.

Employers Are Taking Action to Prevent Harassment, But There’s More Work to Be Done

With more high-profile sexual harassment cases taking over our airwaves, companies are feeling the pressure to respond. Of those we surveyed, 75 percent noticed some level of change in workplace dynamics and culture during the past two years, and 80 percent said their company has implemented harassment prevention action in the past 12 months or is planning to. Meanwhile, content about workplace harassment has roughly doubled on LinkedIn in 2018 compared to the year before.

Having a very clear version of your policy online is one of the the most important things you can do to encourage victims to come forward.

To make sure you’ve got the right approach, again, start with your employees. Conduct an anonymous survey to better understand how well employees feel the organization prevents and handles harassment, identifying any gaps. Then go back to your policy with a critical eye to pinpoint those disconnects. Once you have an updated policy in place, work on training and communicating it to your employees. Most importantly, if something does come up, respond quickly and decisively. And don’t leave it at that — follow up to make sure the situation is resolved and reflect on how it could have been prevented.

Work From Home, Office, Coffee Shop. Does It Really Matter?

With video conferencing, messaging apps, and wifi everywhere, employers have more reasons to explore a more flexible workplace — allowing employees to choose where and how they work. Seventy-two percent of talent professionals agree workplace flexibility is extremely important in shaping the future of recruiting and talent. Companies that embrace work flex have a huge competitive edge — and it’s more than just a fad. In fact, job posts mentioning “workplace flexibility” increased 78 percent in 2016.

Not to mention, the option to work remotely could help increase your gender diversity. Our report found that women are 22 percent more likely than men to cite flexible work arrangements as a very important factor when considering a job.

For Dell, work flexibility is a serious business initiative that impacts its bottom line. In the U.S. alone, Dell reports that its flex practices have saved an average of $12 million every year since 2014, thanks to reduced office space requirements.

Dell credits its success to the strong partnership between HR and the IT/facilities teams from the very start. By making sure employees had the right training, technology, and workspaces for their chosen work style, the transformation to more flexible schedules was relatively seamless.

To kick off flexibility the right way in your organization, survey your employees to learn more about what kinds of flexibility they would value. Then as you begin to offer flexible options, partner with other teams, like IT and facilities, who can help you and your employees get the right support. Look to tools like IM and videoconferencing to help employees stay connected, and make sure you communicate your flex policies so everyone is aware of what’s available.

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