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It’s time to sprint. Strategies to close the gender pay gap.

Source |  | Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer, Accenture

Last year, we marked Equal Pay Day on April 12. It’s calculated annually to measure how far into the new year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. So April 4 – eight days sooner – is a small victory as we inch slowly towards progress. The World Economic Forum’s most recent projection, however, revealed it will take 170 years to close the gender pay gap. We need strategies that help us sprint – not inch – toward pay equality.

Equality for all is a core belief of mine. Racial equality. LGBTQ equality. And certainly gender equality, which must extend to gender pay equality.

Every organization has a choice – to stare at the problem and try to explain why it’s ok, or have the courage to change. At Accenture, we choose to hold the mirror up closely to our own practices to make sure we’re sprinting, not inching, toward equal pay for the women and men of Accenture. Reflecting on our own journey, here are a few of the difference makers.

If we find a problem, we fix it. Immediately. This value is shared across all levels of the organization, starting with our CEO, Pierre Nanterme, and our board. To do this, we rely on a rigorous review process that looks at the pay of women and men at a very granular level across the countries where we do business. With these proactive checks, we’ve built an environment where I’m proud to say we are finding fewer and fewer discrepancies to fix. With a clear process in place, backed with data and regular reporting, companies can create a culture that values the job itself and what is accomplished, free of bias.

Give people a voice.  In the past year we’ve revolutionized our approach to performance management. Backward-looking annual reviews are replaced with real-time, on demand meaningful conversations. The change has been transformative. People have a voice through regular, honest and productive discussions about their performance, compensation and career growth. Creating opportunities for women to have these open and safe discussions about progression and pay is especially important.


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