Workplace equity was a hot topic at WorldatWork Rewards ‘22, held May 23 – 25 in Atlanta, Georgia. With multiple sessions on pay equity, pay transparency, and opportunity equity, Total Rewards professionals were able to hear the latest best practices for building an equitable workplace. The Syndio team was excited to share useful information on pay and opportunity equity and meet so many dedicated Total Rewards team members.
Below we share our highlights from WorldatWork Rewards ‘22.
Session recap | ‘Naked and Afraid — What You Can Do to Prepare for Total Pay Transparency’
Our team presented two sessions on workplace equity at WorldatWork Rewards ‘22. The first featured Nancy Romanyshyn, Director of Pay Strategy and Partner Success, in “Naked and Afraid: What You Can Do to Prepare for Total Pay Transparency,” where she shocked the audience by sharing her entire salary history, including her total compensation in her current role.
Nancy was demonstrating the urgency with which companies must proactively prepare for increasing transparency. This is because salary transparency is becoming increasingly commonplace: Gen Z employees are much more comfortable discussing their pay than previous generations, while grassroots efforts to expand transparency — such as spreadsheets reporting salary and the TikTok channel Salary Transparent Street — are bringing compensation out of the shadows, whether or not companies are ready to control the narrative. Multiple states are also passing pay transparency legislation, as detailed in our U.S. Pay Scale Transparency Legislation Cheat Sheet. If companies aren’t clear on how they pay and whether it’s equitable, it’s time to jumpstart those efforts.
Session recap | ‘The Formula for Really Closing Pay Gaps: Pay and Opportunity Equity’
Syndio’s second session featured Nancy Romanyshyn, Abbey Garwin, Regional Vice President East Sales at Syndio, and Dana Furrow, Vice President of Total Rewards at Bed Bath & Beyond, to help companies go beyond pay equity to really close their unadjusted pay gaps.
Their advice was to look at pay through the lens of opportunity equity in addition to pay equity. That means improving equity in hiring, assessments, promotions, and retention. Dana described Bed, Bath & Beyond as being on a journey: They are beginning with ensuring pay is fair and competitive, engaging more with associates through discussions about rewards and their employee experience, and working to address opportunity gaps through additional analyses of their workforce.
Nancy and Dana outlined five steps leading companies are taking to close the pay gap, including:
- Make equity a cross-functional focus (including executives, HR, Comp/Total Rewards, People Analytics, PR/Comms, and Legal where relevant).
- Proactively measure pay and opportunity equity across all stages of the employee lifecycle (e.g. hiring, advancement, retention).
- Prioritize investments based on your biggest areas of opportunity (vs. trying to boil the ocean).
- Prepare for transparency, including not only what you pay, but the philosophy behind it.
- Track progress and embed insights into ongoing decisions.
As Nancy and Dana pointed out, all of this can seem overwhelming but you just have to start somewhere. Many companies start with pay equity because it can be faster and easier to address than opportunity equity, but all entry points lead to tangible progress that enhances your brand, builds trust, and mitigates risk.
The buzz around workplace equity
Having attended prior WorldatWork events, the Syndio team felt that this one was markedly different: this year everyone was talking about pay equity and transparency.
“In the past pay equity was more of a niche topic, but it’s now fully mainstream and on top of everyone’s mind. The sophistication of the questions we got also means that Total Rewards leaders are moving past talking about equity to taking concrete actions— and looking for solutions that make equity easier and more ongoing.”
– Abbey Garwin, Regional VP East Sales
We’re looking forward to the WorldatWork Workplace Equity Forum in October in Austin, Texas, which will be an intimate event for high-level, timely, and fresh perspectives on pay and workplace equity, as well as high-impact networking opportunities. If you’re attending, we’d love to meet with you and discuss how we can help you in your journey toward workplace equity.