Pay transparency isn’t “one size fits all” - Glassdoor for Employers

Pay transparency isn't "one size fits all"

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Despite the benefits of pay transparency, many companies are reluctant to fully embrace it. Maybe you have leaders who don't support it or you're in an industry where pay secrecy is still the norm. Whatever the reasons, salary transparency is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many ways to make strides in equality, equity, and fairness and reap some of the benefits of transparency without publishing the salaries of everyone at your company.

Finding the right fit

If salary transparency is a hard "no" at your company right now, there are still ways to gain some of the benefits of transparency. In conversations with company leaders about why you want to make these moves, focus on the advantages of certain types of transparency, including:

  • More (and more diverse) job applicants
  • Improved employee retention
  • Increased productivity
  • Favorable  company brand

Here are some innovative ways to practice transparency to improve your company's recruitment, retention, performance, and perception.

Offer compensation calculators

Gitlab uses a compensation calculator to help determine an employee's total rewards package based on varying factors that derive a competitive rate for each job in each location. The calculator is available to all Gitlab employees and to job seekers during the interview process. The total rewards package includes cash, equity, and other benefits.

In a similar move, Google offers a work location calculator that allows employees to see how much their compensation might change if they were to move to another location.

Innovate your offer letter

Coda, a document/app startup, uses an interactive offer letter to allow candidates to fully understand the options and available benefits at the company, helping employees to invest in themselves proactively and intelligently instead of passively or reactively. Giving employees a complete and detailed picture of all the benefits they have available to them can help add to a culture of transparency.

Offer more frequent evaluations

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You may want to consider taking an approach of a continuous improvement plan vs. an annual pay and performance evaluation, which can drive retention. With more frequent evaluations, companies can offer smaller, more frequent bumps in pay or spot bonuses that keep the manager more in touch with performance metrics as well as challenges and successes for each employee. 

Perform pay equity audits

When was the last time your company did a pay equity audit? In a recent study,  only 22% of the largest public companies said they had done a pay equity audit over a four-year period. Analyzing pay each year can help you identify gaps and make pay adjustments as well as help drive retention. 

If your organization is large, hiring a company that specializes in pay equity audits may be necessary. In smaller organizations, HR can take a deeper dive into the numbers, perform  "like-for-like" comparisons, and investigate when pay seems unequal without good reason.

Robert Sweeney, CEO at Facet says, "If you want trust, you have to be transparent. At Facet (, we publish our salary bands in the employee handbook. We talk freely and openly about salaries and commissions. Every job posting has salary info in it. If we increase the salary for a level, all current employees at that level get a raise."

Post pay ranges

If your company isn't quite ready to pull back the curtain on specific salaries, perhaps you can work towards posting pay bands or ranges for all of the positions at your company. This is a step toward transparency without actually revealing what specific people are paid.
At a minimum, work to be transparent with pay ranges for job seekers. Including the range with job postings is already the law in several states, and other states are sure to follow. By being more transparent about salaries, you can drive employee engagement, build a stronger company culture, and foster open communication.