Power of workers to negotiate wages and equity

Last November, 4.5 million workers resigned in search of new opportunities. Many are looking for more transparency, fairness and a company that shares their values.

If you’re one of these workers or are considering quitting your job, it can be difficult to know how to start using this new leverage to get the job that’s best for you, and you can’t always rely on the hiring managers. do the right thing.

Even with this new power, it is important to embark on a new job search, salary negotiation and exploration of new potential. employer values with a project. It’s never been more acceptable for potential employees to ask tough questions about workplace equity.

Start by paying

Fair pay is the foundation of fairness in the workplace, and no compensation decision is more important than your starting salary. If there is a pay gap on your first day on the job, it will widen over time and will often impact other elements of your total rewards (bonus, which is usually a percentage of base salary; 401(k) savings, etc.) for years to come. But how do you know if companies are committed to paying you fairly?

First, do your homework. When reviewing postings, look for companies that include salary ranges. Do some research by looking at comparable jobs, chatting with friends, and checking out sites like Glassdoor to get an idea of ​​your role’s worth in the market.

Second, if you’re interviewing with a company that hasn’t shared the pay scale, ask. The legal landscape is moving in the direction of forcing companies to disclose it. In places like New York and Colorado, employers are required by law to proactively disclose salary ranges for positions, forcing employers across the country to address salary transparency head-on if they want to hire. in these leading markets. In many other markets (Maryland, Cincinnati, Washington State), you must request these pay scales, but employers are required to provide them to you.

Third, IIf the company you’re interviewing with is reluctant to share salary scales, don’t worry: it might not be the company for you, and now might be the time. practice your talents elsewhere. You have every right to explain that you want to ensure that your role will be assessed competitively and within your expectations. Otherwise, you don’t want to waste their time (or yours!).

Learn about fair and equitable rewards

The starting salary sets the stage, but today’s companies need to ensure fairness throughout an employee’s career. There are specific questions you should ask a potential employer once you’ve made sure they’re approaching your starting salary and rewards fairly.

1. What considerations go into how jobs are evaluated? You’ll want to hear straight answers: maybe market data as well as the role’s impact on achieving business goals is important. Perhaps they are focusing on getting people back to the office and emphasizing that in-office roles are seen as more important than remote roles. Companies value jobs and employees in many ways, and that’s okay; what you are looking for is clarity. If the company won’t disclose this, or worse, doesn’t know the answer, you might want to move on.

2. How is performance assessed and rewarded? Again, you’re looking for clarity here. You want to hear that there is a formal performance review process, that performance goals are captured and monitored, and how performance is rewarded.

3. How transparent are they on fair compensation across the organization? What do they share about the racial or gender gaps that exist, and what process do they use to resolve them?

Obtain clarification on the commitment to equity of opportunity

The next step is to clarify what the company does to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and grow within the company. You probably read about a different company’s new DEI initiative every day, but find it hard to discern what’s performative and for PR versus what’s real and tangible.

So, ask your employer or your interlocutor:

  • What are the guidelines for promoting employees?
  • How do you ensure equal access to advancement and promotion opportunities?

Their answers will tell you a lot. What answers are you looking for? Ideally, you want to hear that the company is clear in promotion criteria; has criteria that are not too rigid and allow for multiple paths of advancement; and that they measure and monitor access to opportunities.

Promotion opportunities should be visible to all employees, as should pay scales. Ask questions about how the company ensures that employee promotion systems and processes are consistent, fair and accessible to everyone.

As an extension of this, learning opportunities should be visible and accessible to all. Learn about rotation programs, leadership training and skills development opportunities. This will tell you more about the experience you can expect as an employee, the company’s vision for the role of its employees in their continued success, and their commitments to developing long-term, engaging relationships with their employees. Developing your skills is another form of their investment in you.

It’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable asking these uncomfortable questions of a potential future employer. But remember: pay equity and FDI are in the control of a company, and it’s up to them to get it right if they want your valuable skills and services. So don’t be afraid to ask your current or potential employer if they do compensation analyzes and how they monitor employee movements and opportunities. And if they do, ask them if they are transparent with their employees about the results.

It’s no longer plausible for corporations to hide behind legal smokescreens and progressive platitudes, so don’t let them.

The truth about pay transparency and pay equity is that they are issues for a larger conversation about workplace equity and whether your company truly values ​​you for who you are and what you bring, without bias. If you’re not paid fairly, chances are you won’t receive the same opportunities for promotion and advancement. Businesses need forward-thinking strategies to address these issues, and there’s no greater motivator than hearing directly from employees and future employees.

Maria Colacurcio is the CEO of Syndio.