top of page

Where Does Your Organization Fall on a Pay Equity Transparency Spectrum? 

How openly you communicate about pay practices and how transparent your company decides to be about pay depends on a lot of factors. On a spectrum, how transparent you are in your communications will depend on your organization’s values and existing culture, as well as legal considerations. Whatever you decide, think of it as a long-term strategy. Your pay equity work may challenge and inspire you to increase transparency over time as you gain confidence and build a strong culture of trust in your organization.

Scroll down to answer a few questions and see where you sit on a pay equity transparency spectrum. 

Important Considerations

  • Culture: Your organization’s values, existing culture, and leadership style heavily influence the right level of transparency.

  • Legal Matters: Prioritize protecting confidential and legally sensitive information.

  • Trust: Greater transparency requires establishing and maintaining a high-trust environment.

Question 1: How transparent is your organization more broadly?

Feel free to follow along this exercise by selecting the checkboxes. Your selections are not recorded.

Information flow is primarily top-down, with established channels for employee feedback and questions. Focus is on sharing legally mandated information. Example: Pay ranges are shared in compliance with legal requirements, and employees are provided with resources for clarification.

Management chooses what information to share and when. Feedback channels exist but may not be consistently utilized. Shares information seen as beneficial to employee morale or productivity, while other data remains internal. Example: Project updates shared on a need-to-know basis, some strategic goals are outlined but not the full context behind them.

Regular, open updates on organization’s direction, strategy, and challenges. Strong emphasis on two-way communication with a focus on building trust and encouraging employee investment. Example: Holds meetings or town halls with Q&A sessions where leadership addresses employee concerns directly.

Almost everything is open, including salaries and strategic planning, barring legally sensitive issues. Emphasis on maximum trust, aiming for an environment where information isn't a source of power. Example: Most information that is not legally sensitive is viewable by all employees.

Question 2: What training would your organization need to implement to be more transparent about pay equity efforts?

> Defining Pay Equity: Defining terms, explaining why pay equity matters, outlining organizational goals and any applicable legal requirements, sharing information about unconscious bias and its impact on pay. > Sharing Compensation Philosophy: Breaking down how compensation is determined, the factors considered, the use of market data, and internal salary ranges. > Understanding the Pay Equity Analysis Process: Explaining how the organization assesses pay equity (tools, frequency) and how findings are used to make adjustments if necessary.

> Communicating About Pay Equity: Training managers on how to discuss compensation, handle difficult conversations about pay gaps with empathy, and how to communicate pay equity efforts to their teams. > Building Inclusive Teams: Training leaders on recognizing and challenging practices that might contribute to pay gaps, and how to build a team culture emphasizing fairness and equity.

> Understanding Pay: Helping employees decipher pay stubs, understand the value of various compensation elements and benefits, and learn how performance factors into compensation adjustments. > Incorporating Employee Feedback: Conducting surveys to assess employee perceptions of pay equity.

Read suggestions for ways you could be transparent through internal and external communications - remember to check with legal counsel as needed

What Should Your Approach to Pay Transparency Be?

Transparency Spectrum
Key Practice
Communication limited to impacted employees
When you uncover pay discrepancies, you share essential information about pay adjustments to affected employees and their managers.adjustment.
Explaining the reason for the adjustment to each impacted employee and manager, and whether it is a permanent or one-time
High-level updates to all employees
High-level updates on pay equity initiatives, framed positively.
Publish high-level pay equity results in an internal blog or newsletter and have the CEO or head of human resources direct employees to that disclosure.
Detailed updates for all employees, some executive sponsors
Regular reports on the state of pay equity within the organization, including demographic breakdowns.
Leadership addresses both successes and challenges and outlines actions to close gaps.
Vocal leadership support and regular updates shared internally and externally
Internal salary data available to all employees (except in legally restricted cases). Open discussions about how pay decisions are made across the organization.
Organization publishes more detailed pay practices and pay equity results on external facing company websites, and in annual reports, ESG reports, or on social media platforms.
bottom of page