This week’s NEEOPA Forum, an interactive session on Understanding and Addressing Pay Equity, couldn’t have come at a better time with Equal Pay Day falling last Thursday 8 September 2016.

NEEOPA Executive Committee members Fiona Hitchiner, Sageco and Sonja Braidner, Fire and Rescue NSW opened our event and welcomed Asha Hum and Helen Karatasas from WGEA.

WGEA first shared with the group an overview of the 6 Steps of the WGEA Guide to Gender Pay Equity with the group. Jacquie Milne, MSD Australia outlined the pay equity journey MSD has been on since 2012. As 2015 WGEA Pay Equity Citation holders and Pay Equity Ambassadors, Jacquie was able to share insights from the journey so far – including that a multipronged approach needs to be taken (starting conversations with employees and managers, gaining senior leader buy in, and integrating pay equity reviews to become business as usual), HR teams need to be resilient in order to make progress – not every conversation will be easy, and that the business case is clear – organisations that focus on addressing pay equity will be the results in their business, in employee engagement and in innovation efforts.

Each table group then broke out to focus on 1 of the 6 Steps of the WGEA Guide to Gender Pay Equity – here are the top 3 headlines from each group;

1. Awareness + Understanding: What is pay equity? What is the gender pay gap? Why might your organisation have a gender pay gap?

a. Gender neutral job evaluations / job descriptions

b. Men need to be supported to enable their roles as carer’s, as Annabel Crab said ‘women can only lean in if men lean out’

c. Unconscious Bias Training is required to address gender bias

2. Business Case: Quantify the benefits / Communicate the benefits of addressing pay equity

a. Linking principles and values to the business case is highly recommended, whilst risks and governance also need to come into it

b. The board and leaders need to be involved in the creation of the plan itself

c. The change plan needs to be clear, and monitored on an ongoing basis

3. Leadership Commitment: the Leadership Shadow

a. A personal commitment from the CEO is a strong starting point – e.g. becoming a Pay Equity Ambassador, making tangible commitments

b. Buy in from other leaders is a must, and the rest of the organisation

c. The objectives need to be visible, and champions in the business made visible e.g. CEO not speaking on boards unless there is a gender balanced panel

4. Identifying + Analysing the gaps: Preparing data / Data analysis

a. Leadership conversations need to be led by the data itself

b. Use the data to provide insights and context, WGEA tools can aid in this

c. Focus on the journey. Great example whereby live impact of pay decisions was shown to managers by gender

5. Set Goals + take Action: Developing an action plan / Specific strategies and actions to consider

a. Targets to be set from the beginning and communicate clearly

b. Consider training requirements, ensure communication and engagement strategy are clear

c. Review lifecycle, policies + processes to ensure neutral of gender

6. Review + Refine: Regular management reporting / Continuous improvement

a. Interrogate the data, continue to build a deep understanding and report back

b. Building gender pay equity into systems, continue to set and monitor targets on areas of focus

c. Make Pay Equity BAU

In summary - we learnt that this is a journey, pay equity needs to be built in to be “business as usual”, courage and resilience are required, we need to apply the gender lens across the complete lifecycle and look at every opportunity, we need training and most of all we need to challenge ourselves and others to ensure gender pay equity remains as area of focus for the long-term. .

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