Today is Equal Pay Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of the gender wage gap. This day highlights the need for “Equal Pay for Equal Work.”
At Gauge we’re committed to pay equality. In 2015 we signed the Glassdoor Equal Pay Pledge, publicly committing our company to pay equality. But as we saw in several high-profile scandals in 2017, a promise means nothing without follow-through. How does Gauge live up to that pledge in our daily business?
In today’s article, we’ll discuss the state of the wage gap in the USA today. Then we’ll give you a peek behind the curtain to see how we use our payroll and our policies to actively support equality and diversity at Gauge.
Equal Pay: Beyond Gender
In 1996 Equal Pay Day was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE). NCPE is a coalition of organizations aligned around a big goal: achieving pay equity for all Americans, regardless of factors like gender or race.
The early April date was chosen because it symbolizes how far into the year the average woman must work to earn what men earned the previous year. In other words, to make the same pay an average man would make from Jan – Dec 2017, the average woman must work from Jan 2017 – April 2018!
Viewed in this light, the wage gap is pretty stunning—but it still only paints part of the picture. Pay disparity goes far beyond gender lines. Take a look at these statistics.
As you can see, income inequality is a problem facing many demographics. Employers in the US have a lot of work to do to end pay disparity.
Diversity at Gauge
If you ran into our team at, say, a Savannah Bananas game, you may not be able to tell much about our diversity at first glance. But not all diversity is obvious. For example, I live with a physical disability that’s mostly invisible (unless you catch me on a stormy day, when I might be limping a bit). The people on our team come from an array of backgrounds, with several faiths, family situations, physical abilities, and personal circumstances represented.
As I noted earlier, Gauge made a public commitment to Equal Pay in 2015. But a commitment is useless without follow-through. What do we actually do to ensure we’re paying each person fairly?
How Gauge Closes the Wage Gap
We use a few methods. Each involves research and reporting. As our People Dept. Lead, one of my responsibilities is compensation research. When we open a new position here at Gauge and when we’re planning raises, I use the salary tools below to research compensation. That data informs our financial decisions.
- Fair Market Value
First, I research the average salary for the position using the salary tools at Glassdoor. Glassdoor’s compensation figures are based on data reported by real people currently working in that position. We search by position and location, and then we refine results by years of experience, company size, and (if enough data is available) by industry. This gives us a clearer picture of the position’s Fair Market Value.
- Location, Location, Location
We pay special attention to the location when we’re determining compensation. About two-thirds of our team works on site in Savannah; the rest work remotely from cities across the USA. Cost of living in Savannah is relatively low. What would be a generous salary here would be peanuts in, say, New York City or San Francisco. So when we consider a new salary figure for a remote team member or a job candidate, we research the Fair Market Value using their location. We also use the Cost of Living Calculator at Payscale to build a location comparison chart. What I love about this tool is that it tells you how much you would need to make in a different city in order to maintain your current standard of living. This gives team members and candidates deeper insight into the practical, real-world value of the compensation we offer.
- Compensation Snapshots
After we’ve done this research, we build a personalized report for the team member or job candidate. We call it a Compensation Snapshot. This report includes:
- The Fair Market Value of the position in Savannah (or the team member’s city), plus the Fair Market Value for other locations for comparison
- Cost of Living Estimates for Savannah (or the team member’s city), plus other locations for comparison
- The actual Monetary Value of benefits like Health Insurance, Simple IRA matching funds, and Paid Time Off
- The Total Annual Value of the entire compensation package, including Salary & Benefits
We use the same process, tools, and data to determine the salary for every Gauge team member, regardless of their background. After all, there’s no filter on these tools for gender, race, sexual orientation, or physical ability. By using a consistent, data-driven approach for everyone, we eliminate the possibility of unintentional bias creeping into our compensation decisions.
Then we communicate all of this information to each team member. More transparency in our decision-making process helps us build trust between our team members and our leadership, and keeps everyone on the same page.
Beyond Monetary Value
Equal Pay Day is all about facts and figures. But to get a truly accurate picture of pay disparity, we have to look beyond gender. In the same way, to get an accurate picture of workplace equality we have to look beyond cash compensation. Gauge supports diversity and equality on our team through both our payroll and our policies. Here are some examples of the latter.
At Gauge, we’re not big on hierarchies, but we do have a formal leadership team. This is a small group of key team leaders who work together to identify major challenges, make big decisions, and chart the course for the company’s future.
Our leadership team reflects the gender demographics of our staff pretty well. Excluding cofounders Mark and Daniel, we have 18 full-time team members. Six of those are women. Our leadership team consists of Mark, Daniel, two male leaders, and one female leader.
While we value diversity, leaders aren’t chosen for their gender or background—we just make sure no one is overlooked from consideration for those reasons. The leadership team members also come from an array of backgrounds and family situations. Having diverse perspectives among our team and our leadership is a huge asset to our company.
Our business hours are 9am-5pm Eastern, Monday through Friday. Most of our team works that schedule regularly. But sometimes personal or family situations make that schedule difficult.
We offer our team the flexibility to shift their work hours as needed. This flex time can be used on a one-off or an ongoing basis. For example, this morning I had an acupuncture appointment, so today I’m working from 11am-7pm. Another team member could shift their regular workday schedule to 7am-3pm, so they can more easily care for a child or an elderly parent.
Work from Home
In the same vein, we offer our Savannah team members the freedom to work from home when it would make them more productive. For example, if I’m having a high pain day, getting to the office and back can sap my energy. It makes more sense for me to work from home and put 100% of my energy into my tasks, instead of spending 30% of my energy on just getting around. The same principle applies if another team member has a sick kid at home, needs to really focus on a project, or just needs to meet the cable guy.
Every year, Gauge is closed for nine predetermined holidays. These are the traditional “business holidays” in the US: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Christmas, etc. But the standard business holidays typically only include religious holidays from the Christian faith. To accommodate other faiths, we allow floating holidays. Any team member can take paid time off to celebrate a religious holiday without deducting it from their vacation pay.
Constant Communication & Improvement
As I often explain in our interviews, at Gauge we put a heavy emphasis on being a healthy, well-rounded team of healthy, well-rounded people. We have to, because the success of our company depends on it.
Our ultimate goal is to build strong, long-lasting relationships with our clients and their customers. To do that, we have to build healthy relationships between our team and our clients. We can’t do that unless we first build healthy relationships between the individual people on our team. And we can’t have healthy team relationships unless we each have healthy personal relationships with our own friends and family.
Equal pay is a part of how we nurture relationships to achieve our end goal. Being a healthy, well-rounded person is incredibly difficult if you’re not being paid fairly. We use objective data to make sure we pay everyone fairly, according to their skills and work.
We also recognize that each person on our team has their own unique story, background, and workplace needs. We make sure our workplace policies give every team member the flexibility they need to build healthy personal relationships regardless of their background.
Naturally, there’s always more we can do to create a fair, healthy workplace. Perhaps the most important things we are is keeping communication lines open and always looking for ways to improve. These practices and policies make Gauge a stronger company because in the long run, they make us stronger people.