Edgility’s Co-Founder on How Organizations Can Work to Close the Gender Pay Gap

In March, just in time for Women’s Equal Pay Day, Edgility Co-Founder Allison Wyatt sat down with Carrie Fox, host of the Mission Forward podcast. In the interview, the two discuss pay equity and its relationship to the gender pay gap. This is the third time Edgility has been interviewed on the Mission Forward podcast: if you missed Co-Founder Christina Greenberg’s interview in the fall, we highly recommend reading or listening to it. 

An Equity Mission

Allison’s passion for equity began before Equal Pay Day existed. As a student in a rural area, she saw firsthand the disparities in educational opportunities between rural and urban, wealthy and poor neighborhoods when she earned a place at a local private school. This sparked a passion for balancing the academic landscape. Allison’s early work in talent management showed her that closing wage and opportunity gaps could hugely impact not just the education sector but hiring practices and economic outcomes across all industries. As the co-founder of Edgility, Allison has become an expert in equitable compensation practices, including steps organizations across all sectors can take to close the gender pay gap. In her work today, she maintains a strong empathy for the challenges non-profit organizations face when working towards pay equity. 

Three Steps to Fair Compensation

Fair compensation is about equal pay for equal work, but the factors determining what work is “equal” and what pay is “fair” are multifaceted. Here are Allison’s top three tips for working towards pay equity and closing the gender pay gap in organizations of any type and size.  

Engage the Whole Organization

It’s common for decisions about pay to be made by a select few senior leaders. This leads to less equity and, often, less buy-in. When working with clients, Edgility leverages surveys, focus groups, and even philosophy task force sessions. In all cases, we seek to engage diverse cross-sections of the organization at all levels and backgrounds. This increases buy-in and smooths the transition process during implementation. 

It’s important to note that equitable compensation is not only about pay but also about what staff values in an organization. What do they already appreciate about the work environment and the current talent management practices? It’s not uncommon for organizations to struggle with their employee evaluations. Many workplaces have uneven assessments (i.e., performance reviews that vary greatly depending on the leader in charge). Before adding anything, improving or fixing what is currently in place is essential.  

Any organization looking to increase pay equity and create fair compensation, whether working alone or with an equity partner, needs to involve all levels of the organization in a way that showcases the opinions and priorities of all employees and takes into account what is currently working and what needs improvement. This is the best way to ensure your changes have their intended impact. 

Be Transparent About Your Fair Compensation Policy

Pay transparency is central to pay equity but can be intimidating for many organizations. An often-cited reason? A lack of research. Companies need to know the market rates to feel confident posting what they’re offering, which requires their due diligence. They also need a clear salary structure. Without one, it can also be hard to know what percentage of the market rate your organization will utilize for each role. Having a clearly communicated rationale for your salary structure leads to confidence for your internal team and credibility for prospective employees. 

Additionally, many states now require companies to post salary ranges for their open positions, but even organizations that are not required to by law should implement this practice. Not only is it best practice to improve compensation fairness and close the gender pay gap, but it also makes the organization more competitive. Potential employees don’t have to guess about their compensation, leading to more applications from qualified candidates. 

Look Beyond the Market 

Research about current market rates only goes so far in eliminating gender and racial pay gaps. Because so many wage gaps are already present in the marketplace, companies that follow the common practice of looking at the market range and replicating internally may unintentionally perpetuate inequities. This is specifically true for jobs that are undervalued and predominantly held by women and people of color. Jobs such as teaching, caregiving, and nursing, to name just a few, are often seen as “female” jobs and are paid less even though they may require just as much skill or education as someone working in a role seen as “masculine.” Thus there are two key strategies to help close gender and racial pay gaps. One, look at the cost of living wage floors, rather than just the cost of labor or the current market rate. Two, compensate based on the skill and expertise necessary to be successful in a job, regardless of the job title. 

Edgility, and Allison Wyatt in particular, is passionate about this approach because it is good not just for the staff at a client organization but also for the market as a whole. Once an organization has established compensation based on a living wage, it becomes a data point in other organizations’ research, bringing up the benchmark values across the market. To maintain the gains, however, organizations must perform a yearly wage gap analysis. 

How Can We Close the Gender Pay Gap?

Closing the gender pay gap requires disrupting the status quo of compensation practices. Edgility works to create compensation programs that remove problematic current practices and replace them with equity-centered ones. Of course, a newly designed compensation program will not account for all of the factors that influence the gender pay gap, such as the reality that people who identify as women are more likely to reduce their hours or leave the workforce entirely to compensate for the additional labor that comes with taking care of children or elderly family members. Still, fair compensation is critical to closing the wage gap within your organization and across the country. 

If your company is ready to rethink its compensation program, get in touch with Edgility

Allison Wyatt

Meet the expert:

Allison Wyatt

Co-Founder & Managing Partner
  • Builds Equitable Organizations
  • Talent Management Support
  • Closes Wage Gaps

Put your values to work. Act on equity.

We believe equity isn’t a box to check. It’s a daily action. Someone’s unique identity isn’t something to overcome–when paired with the right opportunity, it becomes one of their greatest professional assets. We exist to empower social impact organizations to recognize and overcome unconscious bias, racism and sexism so they can build a workforce that reflects and strengthens the communities they serve.