From midnight today, UK companies with over 250 employees or more are legally required to have submitted data on their gender pay gap to the government equalities office and for this to be made public online.
Today’s deadline is a prompt, not just to comply with the law, but to turn these numbers - no matter how dire - into opportunity.
UK legislation requires you to submit your data only. There’s no requirement to produce a comprehensive report on salary or bonuses, but you will want to manage the message around the data.
This is your opportunity to communicate to your community, own your results and make a commitment to change.
So, what should you say?
- Explain where you are
Reflect on where you are and why. Compare your figures to your competitors, your industry and the national average. Are you ahead of the game? Or behind your peers? Talk about why that might be.
- Own your gap
Everyone starts somewhere and transparency is key. Be honest and straightforward. What do you currently have in place to ensure you are supporting your female colleagues? Where would you like to be? A year from now, how will you know you have improved?
- Go beyond gender pay reporting
In a year’s time, you’ll need to submit your data again. You’ll want to show progress, but some of the drivers behind the gender pay gap are long-term and complex. So what things can you talk about that contribute to gender equality and diversity and inclusion as a whole?
But, it’s not just about talk, it’s also about measurable progress. So, what can you do?
- Be a change-maker
Many changes such as blind recruitment screening or unconscious bias training sit firmly in the domain of your HR colleagues. What quick communication wins will help you demonstrate action and maintain momentum?
- Listen to your employees. Understand what they care about. Send out a survey or put together a focus group with a cross-section of employees from across the business. You can use this evidence base to prompt small changes which add up over time.
- Check your language. If you are inclusive with your language when communicating to employees, it will inspire an inclusive response. As a communicator, you’re able to set the tone for the rest of your organisation by embracing gender-neutral language.
- Create a mirror for the future. Do you spend time agonising over which diverse imagery to use? Typically we’re over-reliant on inadequate photo-stock in this space. Start creating an image bank that reflects the realities of where your organisation is as well as where it wants to be.