Transparency and Technology Can Help You Make Comp Fair

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Jan 10, 2020

The best way to show employees you value their work and contributions is by compensating them in a fair and transparent way. While this may seem like the accepted norm, 34% US workers don’t believe their pay is based on their performance, experience, or skill set.

In a tight labor market, fair pay practices matter more than ever. Fair compensation is directly linked to employee retention and boosts recruitment of top talent. As HR professionals, you often act as recruiters, performance managers, heads of learning and development, and compensation gatekeepers all in one. There’s no doubt that assuming all of these roles and managing the responsibilities that come along with them can stretch your bandwidth.

Don’t fret. You can lighten the workload and ease uncertainties around managing fair compensation with three easy steps: transparency, technology, and proactivity.

Pay transparency

Many employers would like to think their employees don’t discuss salary, but, in fact, our survey found 46% of workers would discuss their salary with colleagues. While these conversations may expose real pay gaps, they are likely not telling a complete picture of pay equity and may contribute to perceptions of pay inequity even where it does not exist.

One of the quickest ways to lose talent is to turn a blind eye to existing issues. Employees do not want to be kept in the dark; they want to know their employer understands there are issues and that there are steps in place to resolve them. While acknowledging compensation gaps may be uncomfortable, employees crave that kind of transparency, as it creates a culture of care, honesty, and trust between the C-suite and general workforce. Igniting conversations with the C-suite about the benefits of pay transparency is critical to solving pay gaps.

The first step to achieving fair compensation across all levels of your organization is to be transparent with your employees about how compensation is determined. If pay gaps do exist, acknowledge them and make a commitment to do better.


Workplace discrimination occurs perhaps most frequently through the result of implicit bias, the act of unconsciously associating positive or negative traits with a person’s race, gender, or background.

In HR, you are responsible for making sure bias stays out of decisions that affect employees, including around their pay. Even the most careful and aware HR manager can be affected by unconscious bias. To help remove the possibility of bias swaying employee pay decisions, companies today are leaning on the support of compensation management solutions. With the use of technology that guides and automates pay and promotion tasks, you can make data-driven decisions when determining an employee’s salary with assurance that the decision is fair.

Proactive promotion

As your organization begins its path to pay equity, it’s important that the actions you are taking are not only voiced internally, but externally as well. Even if your organization appears to have a long way to go before achieving pay fairness, companies that publicly announce they are taking steps to close pay gaps will be respected for their efforts both by customers and by employees.

One company doing this well is Citi, which recently launched The Moment, a multimedia advertising campaign that highlights the organization’s efforts surrounding the pay equity and senior-level representation gaps both within its organization and beyond. This level of transparency shows current and future employees that Citi is committed to treating their employees fairly and paying them justly.

At the end of the day, transparency around pay and equality efforts will positively affect employee loyalty and retention, especially among younger generations where intolerance to pay gaps is highest. In fact, 42% of Gen Zs reported they’d look to move to a company that disclosed a lower pay gap than their current employer. The longer companies wait to make fair pay a priority, the more they risk losing out on great talent.