Mastercard's Ginger Siegel on Real Ways Small Business Owners Can Improve Pay Equity Policies

April 6, 2021
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Small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic—and women-owned small businesses have been hit even harder. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, women-owned small businesses have less optimistic revenue, investment, and hiring plans when compared to male-owned small businesses. Still, even despite these challenges, there are a number of impactful ways small business owners—even those with limited resources—can help close the gender pay gap.

To help tackle all your burning questions about how small business owners should be assessing equal pay policies, measuring compensation biases, and retaining working mothers, we tapped Ginger Siegel, the North America small business lead at Mastercard to answer your inquiries in real-time. During a virtual mentor session at our Equal Pay Day Summit presented by Mastercard, she shared some #realtalk on real ways that small business owners can improve their equal-pay policies.

In case you missed it, we’re sharing a few of the Q&As from this eye-opening Equal Pay Day mentor session. Read on for Siegel’s sage advice.

Q: As a small business owner, how should I assess my pay policies and procedures?

“When you think about the assessment of your wages and what you’re going to pay, it really should be done in the context of overall employee policy. You want to think through things that are of major importance to employees. Monetary compensation is one, but it’s not the only factor. You want to ensure that you create an employee policy that takes into account issues like maintaining a balance between work and family, reducing job stress, and looking at the type of health and retirement benefits you offer. Then, as you structure your performance reviews, make sure that each employee is aware of expectations and those are equal expectations for equal jobs.”

Q: How should I communicate pay equity processes internally?

“Making sure your organization has a very clear view on how you’ve established jobs, how you’ve established duties, and how you’ve established overall functions is critically important. You should also review employee compensation on a regular basis and separate compensation reviews from performance reviews. As a small business owner, you need to understand how your compensation is going to be built in place to provide equal pay for equal work, disclose salary ranges for different positions and levels, and, of course, advocate for your people, encouraging them to be open and honest when these discussions take place.”

Q: It’s no secret that women are exiting the workforce when they have children. What policies and procedures should I put in place to prevent this from happening?

“We know discriminatory hiring practices and promotion decisions that prevent women from gaining leadership roles and highly paid positions are actually sustaining the gender pay gap. And it’s not only the pay gap—but it’s also the opportunity gap. During COVID, 305 million full-time jobs have been lost, many of them held by women, so this issue is critically important. As you’re building out your business’ policies, ensure that there’s a lot of focus on helping female employees who may be taking more of the burden in terms of the home life, by creating a work-life balance to ensure that your female workers can have the access to help they need and can also have some flexibility.”

Q: How can I actually measure compensation differences to see if there’s a bias?

“In order to ensure that there isn’t bias, this can’t be a one-and-done situation. There has to be a constant constant focus on looking at your pay, looking at all of your employees, and making sure that these things are consistently held equal. It really starts with job descriptions and really ensuring that your job descriptions are not based on who has the job but based on the job.”

If you’re experiencing FOMO and want to know the answers to all the questions Ginger spoke to in this session, you can join C&C Insiders to get access to all of the mentor sessions, workshops, panels, and keynotes from our Equal Pay Day Summit and all of our past events. (Yes, you read that right!).

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