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Do Work Differently: Pay Transparently

Thank you for joining me again and for this inquiry into pay in your company. And so we've talked so far about equal opportunity being trauma informed, creating standardized processes in order to foster sustainability and equality and community in your organization. And now we're going to talk about pay in the work that I do.

Pay is one of the areas where disparity is so obvious when you see it, when you look at and that's kind of why we're talking about it right now. Because if you look at the jobs in an organization, you look at the genders of the people who are doing those jobs. Just for example, right jobs and genders because gender pay cap is like a thing that there is a ton of research on and you can see people in the same jobs getting different pay with a similar amount of experience, then you see a way that you can really make a difference.

Gender pay gap, for example, in the earlier part of the last century was just extreme. And then in the 50s it kind of gets better.It's like women are making $0.68on the dollar versus men. And then now it's like women are generally women are making I think it's like $0.95 on the dollar to men, except women who have children who are still making $0.68 on the dollar versus men. And so that's one that you can work on really easily by looking at the jobs and the genders of the people in your organization. There are so many other pieces to look at there too. So but when you're doing this inquiry into pay, oneway to go about it is to remove names, to look at jobs and to look at pay. And our jobs are all the jobs being paid similarly relative to their responsibilities in an organization where you have multiple levels so maybe you have some entry level folks, you have some managers. It makes sense objectively that managers would be making a certain amount and that entry level staff would be making a different amount and then managers would be making higher and then entry level people would be making less. But sometimes when you look at pay you'll have a manager that's making the same as the entry level people that are working for them and it doesn't make sense within the structure of the organization. So the first pass is like OK, are the different categories of people that I have making similar amounts? And if not, where do I need to shift it?

Another inquiry is into whether or not you are paying the living wage. The living Wage is a study that's done by MIT every year.It comes out in April and it tells you how much a person needs to make in your county.T. his is only in the United States, so in your county, in the United States in order to pay for their basic living expenses. So this is like food and housing and repairing your. car and medical expenses, these kinds of things, right? I recommend paying at least the living wage. And the reason for that is because if people are making between the minimum wage and the living wage, then they're more likely to fall into poverty because they're unable to afford their basic living expenses. They tend to go into large amounts of debt to live in unsafe conditions, to allow them to put up with trauma because they aren't able to afford to support themselves where they live.

For example, when I'm recording this, the living wage in my county in Santa Cruz, currently close to $28 an hour. And last year it was $21 an hour. The year before that it was $18. So we've gone up $10 an hour in order to be able to afford to live here within three years. It's a wildly huge increase in the cost of living here.And so when changes like that happen, sometimes there needs to be a really deep look at how the organization is bringing in money and bringing in resources and how those resources are being distributed back into the community. And sometimes there needs to be kind of a big shift around what's happening with the offers of an organization, the pricing structure of an organization and all of that in order to bring alignment between what you are paying people and what it costs to live where you are doing your business. And the answers to those things are different for every kind of company. And in 2022, my company went through a huge shift in all of these different areas in order to be able to ensure that it is continuing to pay more than the living wage to all of the people that work with me. So inquiring into the overall compensation structure and how it looks and is that all distributed fairly and then inquiring into the minimum amount that you are paying people and making sure that that is at the living wage or above. And if it is not at the living wage or above, if that's not possible for your company, then perhaps looking into how you are serving your clients or serving the people that you are serving and how those funds are being channeled through your company and back into the community and making some changes around those things.

One way of doing compensation that I recommend, especially if you're a smaller business and you're just starting to grow, is to pay everyone the same. So this works especially well if you have a lot of people that are all sort of at a similar level of expertise. So you decide what that minimum amount is and then you pay everyone that amount. And that way it is a more collectivist approach to pay. And when you do that, you're sort of less looking at creating a hierarchy in the future, but more creating a community amongst all of the people that are working together and creating equality and egalitarianism amongst the group.

These are some inquiries into pay that you can practice, and I'm interested to hear about how this goes for you. Looking into pay is one of the things that is so, so interesting to me. And like I said in the beginning, I think really can have a very meaningful effect on the lives of the people that work for you and the disparities that we see in society. Again, send your questions my way. If you have any stories or any concerns or anything like that, I would love to hear them.

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