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Be The Change: Why We’re All In for Pay Transparency in 2023

The new year has arrived, and it’s time we start talking about money. No, not a press release touting the results of your organization’s year-end fundraising appeal; rather, the conversation we need to have involves a topic too long considered taboo in the workplace — compensation.

Salary is a key indicator of how organizations demonstrate the value of their best assets — their employees — yet the pay practices of many employers have remained cloaked in secrecy for decades. Meanwhile, study after study has shown that increasing transparency about salary information has multiple benefits for the workplace — from increased trust and retention to advancing pay equity. And while there’s no shortage of research pointing to the problem of pay disparity, the wage gap for underrepresented populations persists, even in the nonprofit sector where a commitment to equity is commonplace. (For a deeper dive into the data, check out this fantastic roundup from the National Council of Nonprofits.)

This image from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows the current wage gap among U.S. workers, according to data provided by Payscale.

A growing movement for pay transparency is countering this antiquated approach to keeping salary information on the down low, and we at the DRG Group are here for it! That’s why, beginning this month, our Gigs board will accept only postings that include salary information. While we applaud the increasing number of laws requiring employers to publish salaries in job advertisements, we also recognize the need to amplify this practice with more urgency than many governments or organizations will pursue on their own.

Integrity is a core value for the DRG Group, and taking this step is a necessary part of fulfilling the commitment to our ongoing work in pursuit of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In turn, we hope it serves as inspiration for crucial conversations in your organization — because living the values espoused in our DEI statements means sometimes leaning into the discomfort that results from challenging the status quo and committing to a better, more equitable work environment for all.

Pay transparency is one step toward this improved state of the workplace, and there are benefits to proactively addressing compensation structure even if a requirement to do so is unlikely in the near future. Longtime followers of DRG know we love taking inspiration from outside the nonprofit world, and Indeed’s profile of how DISH Network navigated its implementation of salary transparency offers helpful insight to those of you ready to tackle the topic in your own organizations. Key takeaways include the importance of performing a pay-equity audit, developing a communications plan, and establishing clear definitions for every aspect of the work.

As you do, know that we’ll be here, as always, providing inspiration and resources while cheering you on. After all, it’s a new year and opportunities abound to be the change we wish to see in the world. By the way, this popular quote, most often ascribed to Mahatma Gandhi, may in fact be attributable to others, as outlined in this fascinating piece from Quote Investigator — a fitting reminder of the ample opportunities also available to question what we think we know.

We’d love to hear from you about the changes you’re championing in the New Year. Drop a comment below to let us know and together let’s make a meaningful impact in 2023! Matthew S. Helmer, aka The Unicorn, brings more than two decades of nonprofit fundraising, donor relations, and constituent engagement experience to his role as Consultant and Strategist with the DRG Group. Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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