How to Implement Pay Transparency: A Communications Roadmap

| June 8, 2023 | 4 min read

“I want to own my data.” 

That’s what we consistently hear from Total Rewards leaders who know they need to be more transparent about everything from salaries to pay equity to pay gaps — and who recognize that communicating about pay is a real challenge.

If you hand off your company’s pay equity analyses to a third party, you will eventually get the results of the analysis back. What you won’t get is the chance to dig into the data to explore what’s driving the outcomes. To communicate about pay in a consistent, accurate way, you need that deeper understanding. 

Syndio’s Workplace Equity Analytics Platform helps companies do exactly that. With Syndio, you own your data — and when you own your data, you own your story. You gain the ability to “get your hands dirty” and truly understand the nuances of what’s going on with the data, so that you can talk about it with confidence. That’s an urgent requirement in the pay transparency era, when companies now have to be more transparent about everything from salaries to pay gaps. 

Total Rewards leaders have always talked about their compensation philosophies, but they haven’t typically done so with the depth of detail required by pay transparency. Rewards programs were designed to manage pay within the parameters of the company’s compensation philosophy, but the details of the programs were designed for managing pay — not communicating about it. Today’s transparency era requires a whole new level of communication around pay explainability: being clear about why people are paid what they are paid.

This isn’t a job for Total Rewards alone. It’s a team effort with Legal, Comms, Talent Management, and DE&I all working together towards the shared goal of rewards that are competitive, fair, and easy to explain. 

Not sure how to implement pay transparency? While every company’s pay transparency journey is different, here is an example roadmap of what year one can look like when you’re using the Syndio platform to improve and communicate about workplace equity. 


Pay transparency roadmap example: Year one

Pay transparency roadmap example: Year one

Stakeholders Focus Area Action Items Resources
Total Rewards Align on compensation policies and prepare to post salary ranges. → Analyze compensation policies with Pay Policy Analytics for fairness and consistency.
→ Use Pay Finder to establish salary ranges that are externally competitive, internally equitable, and easy to explain to employees.
→ Consider creating narrow ranges (e.g., function- or job-based).
→ Publish salary ranges where legally required.
How to Rethink Your Compensation Programs in the Pay Transparency Era How to Set Salary Ranges that Are Useful, Fair, and Explainable 5 Steps to Build Your Job Architecture and Ensure Pay Equity All At Once
Legal Assess global reporting needs and inventory disclosure requests. → Leverage PayEQ Global Pay Reports to reduce compliance risks and ensure accurate report filings. Streamline Your Global Pay Gap Reporting Global Pay Reporting Laws Cheat Sheet
Total Rewards + Legal Establish a foundation of pay equity. → Onboard PayEQ and conduct baseline pay equity analysis (e.g., base salary, total cash, equity; performance ratings analysis.)
→ Create a baseline analysis process and protocols.
→ Outline your cadence for continued pay equity analyses.
→ Report on pay equity analysis results to leadership.
→ Conduct root cause analyses and integrate with findings from Total Rewards policy and process reviews.
The New Way to Fair PayU.S. Pay Scale Transparency Legislation Cheat Sheet
Total Rewards + Legal + Comms Develop pay transparency communications strategy. → Create your disclosure strategy.
→ Create a consistent, yet tailored narrative for every audience (e.g., leadership, board, employees, job seekers, etc.).
→ Execute on the disclosure strategy and determine what data, insights, and HR metrics to include in ESG / DEI / board reports.
The Workplace Equity Communications Playbook The Workplace Equity Communications Lookbook Four-part series: The ‘S’ in ESG5 Tips from the Experts for Communicating about Workplace Equity to Your BoardHow Boards Can Better Advise on Pay Equity [PDF]
Total Rewards + Talent Management Educate and train managers on how to discuss pay transparency. → Train managers on how to have effective conversations about compensation
→ Develop supporting materials, e.g. manager training, FAQs, intranet content.
Webinar: How to Train Your Managers to Discuss Pay Transparency Pay Transparency Training for Managers: 5 Strategies for Effective Communication about Pay
Total Rewards + Legal + Talent Management Define and validate “fairness” across Total Rewards and Talent Management through pay, performance, and representation. → Assess opportunities for connecting pay equity to broader DEI analytics and efforts.
→ Use OppEQ to conduct an assessment of representation and opportunity, including:
  • Representation analysis
  • Pay gap analysis
  • Performance ratings analysis of distribution of ratings and associated rewards
  • Representation analysis
  • Promotion analysis by demographic groups
→ Conduct analysis and forecasting in OppEQ to determine representation goals and timelines, then build plans for both cultivating talent internally and hiring talent.
8 Types of Workplace Equity Analysis Analyze Promotions to Ensure Equitable Access to Opportunities Forecast When You’ll Hit Representation Goals and Model Scenarios to Help Achieve Goals Faster


How to implement pay transparency: Next steps

Implementing an effective pay transparency strategy is an incremental process. As Ann Oleson, Director of Global Compensation at Match Group shared in a webinar on How to Train Managers to Talk About Pay, pay transparency is not something you turn on all at once. Rather, you can approach it in phases along a continuum of transparency. This requires taking steps towards a more equitable workplace — both in terms of pay and opportunity — and building a more transparent compensation philosophy that better meets today’s demands for pay explainability.

Many companies start with a pay equity analysis. A pay equity analysis provides insights not only into patterns of unintended pay differences that you can solve, but also your pay practices. By seeing how pay is being delivered, you can see the outcomes of pay decisions, test whether they align with your compensation philosophy, and build a path toward correcting them.

A pay equity analysis also clarifies the source of your pay gap. That is, once you have solved for equal pay for equal or substantially similar work, you can clearly see pay differences that are rooted in representation — that is, not really about pay at all.

In this way, a pay equity analysis and insights into the underlying data can help you gain clarity into where you stand, what’s driving your results, and where you want to to focus improvement efforts moving forward — all of which you need for an effective communications strategy.

Using the the foundation of your pay equity analysis, you can continue to build your workplace equity strategy in anticipation of growing transparency, including the following actions:

  • Develop processes that lead to pay equity-informed pay decisions, including training to empower Talent Acquisition and hiring managers to understand how to explain how and why decisions are made.
  • Dive deeper into opportunity equity. Where do you have representation gaps and what’s driving those gaps? Are your hiring processes equitable? Are you assessing and promoting people without bias? How are these factors impacting retention?
  • Consider pursuing third-party validation such as Fair Pay Workplace Certification to enhance your employer brand.


Where will your transparency strategy lead?

Pay transparency is an ongoing effort. Once you start sharing information about salary ranges, pay equity, representation, and pay gaps, then your employees, your board, and your investors will continue to expect it. The good news is that we’re still in the early stages of pay transparency, so starting to build a plan now will set you up for success moving forward. As Syndio CEO Maria Colacurcio says, “the choice is not to be transparent or not, but how far to go.”

The journey begins with taking control of your data so you have the insights you need to build your strategy for implementing pay transparency. See our Workplace Equity Communications Playbook for practical advice on identifying where you are and where you’re aiming, as well as how to prepare for what’s coming next. 



The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials are provided for general informational purposes only. The links to third-party or government websites are offered for the convenience of the reader; Syndio is not responsible for the contents on linked pages.

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