Employee Retention 101: Embracing Equity in your Workforce

Written by Scaleocity

On January 3, 2022
Welcome to our fourth and final installment of our Employee Retention 101 series. If you’ve caught our other Employee Retention posts, you’re familiar with the urgent need for employee retention based on an increase in resignations among many organizations’ top talent. You’ve also brushed up on some of our suggested strategies so far, including launching a talent enablement program, honing in on talent and development, and prioritizing truly effective performance conversations.

While the number of employee retention strategies you could choose to implement is likely as long as the list of your employees, we have chosen the few that are likely to be the most broadly effective; in other words, we’re prioritizing the most “bang for your buck”. So while we could certainly continue this series indefinitely (and we’d love to!), we’re ending it here with one final strategy: embracing equity in your workforce.

If you’re an adult human with access to the news, especially in the United States, but truly anywhere – you likely are aware that equity is top of mind for many, across races, religions, sexual orientations, gender, age and all other aspects of identity. Creating an equitable and inclusive workforce is a lofty goal – but moving in that direction is a minimum requirement for retaining your best talent, and one that requires full executive sponsorship, organizational vision, and accountability at all levels.

Promoting Equity through Hiring

A few statistics on the state of the workforce today:

Interestingly, despite these statistics, diverse companies actually perform better:


While it isn’t easy to create a more diverse hiring process, the first step is acknowledging the need to create a more diverse hiring process. There are many steps to increasing the diversity in your pipeline, and simply doing research into the possibilities is a create start.

  1. Create an internal diverse hiring task force to guide your process.
  2. Expand your hiring pool by recruiting actively among target audiences through conferences, networking groups, etc.
  3. Set goals that are appropriate based on your current workforce and your industry.
  4. Look into options for technology that may help you – but remember, technology comes with challenges too, so keep your HR staff close by.

Promoting Equity through Pay Transparency

According to a survey, 51% of adults would switch companies to one with greater pay transparency. What does this mean? That depends on the organization.

Some very progressive organizations, like Buffer, post salary information for all of their employees online publicly for anyone to access. This level of true transparency forces the company to be accountable for the difference in pay between any two employees in the company, since it may be questioned at any time.

Other companies may view pay transparency as telling their employees where they are within a certain pay grade, why they fall at that point in the pay grade, and what they need to do from a performance-perspective to increase their pay. While this is not quite “transparent”, since it does not confirm to the employees that their peers are paid equitably, if the pay scales are truly applied uniformly across the staff it can be effective.

It is widely known that women are paid less than men; while many factors contribute to this, one factor is that women are less likely than men to negotiate their pay and to receive a raise when they ask for one. However, according to Colorado State Senator Jessie Danielson, insight into their pay range helps prevent this effect to some degree.

The company PayScale provides a spectrum to guide organizations on a pay transparency journey.

Embracing Equity
  1. Tier 1: Company provides employee their individual pay information only.
  2. Tier 2: Company provides employee the market data that was used to determine their salary.
  3. Tier 3: Company provides employee additional information into their compensation structure, including salary ranges and parameters.
  4. Tier 4: Company provides employee additional information regarding individual factors for determining pay.
  5. Tier 5: Employee salaries are posted publicly.


Promoting Equity through an Inclusive Culture 

Once an organization has assessed their hiring and their pay transparency, it might be easy to consider the work complete. However, unfortunately, much of the hard work is still yet to be done. As we’ve discussed in other posts, culture is not built overnight and must be nurtured and developed. In this case, equity must be promoted through an inclusive culture.

Hiring diverse employees and paying them fairly will not build an equitable workforce until they are also treated inclusively within the organization. Who is invited to the table when key decisions are being made? If an impactful project is about to be launched, who decides the team members? How are they selected? Does the team vary from project to project?

If your organization relies on the same individuals for task after task, you are set up for several risks:

  1. Those top performers are likely to burn out.
  2. Other high potential individuals who are not included are likely to find other opportunities.
  3. Your organization is missing out on new and impactful ideas.

Ensure that you have a system in place to manage the skills within your workforce, so that when an opportunity arises, you can call upon the best team of people, instead of the usual team of people. Again, prioritize diversity from the top down, and monitor your progress.

Thank you for joining us through our Employee Retention 101 series. If you read each article, you should now have actionable tips to take back to your organization to:

  1. Launch a talent enablement program, including:
  • Effective performance management conversations
  • Powerful talent and development tools

2. Implement structured career planning

3. Promote equity in your workforce through hiring, pay transparency and an inclusive culture

Of these strategies, it is essential to first assess your talent pool and determine where you think your priorities lie. Who are your current top performers, and who do you think is at risk of leaving for other opportunities? What do you think is most likely to incentivize them to stay?

If you aren’t sure, oftentimes the best strategy is to ask – set up a focus group or 1:1 interviews. If nothing else, it will help your employees to feel valued and appreciated.

Based upon the strategies shared, we’d love to hear – what do you plan to implement first? How do you think it will impact your team?

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