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Pay Transparency Directive


Europe has been a leader when it comes to passing laws that protect individual privacy and support pay equity for years, and a new law taking hold will require a large number of companies to publish salary ranges just a few short years from now. It’s all pretty detailed - and probably pretty confusing to a lot of Americans - which is why we invited Maria Colacurcio, CEO at Syndio and Anita Lettink, future or work speaker & HR tech advisor, to the podcast. We have so many questions, and it’s a good thing they have all the answers. If you’re doing business in Europe, it’s a must-listen. And if you’re in North America, it could be a crystal ball into the future.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:


Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.


[music]


Joel: Oh, yeah. It's your mom's favorite podcast, AKA the Chad and Cheese podcast. What's up boys and girls? I am Joel Cheeseman, your co-host, joined as always, the jelly to my peanut butter, Chad Sowash is in the house. And today we welcome Maria Colacurcio, CEO at Syndio and Anita Lettink, future of work speaker and HR tech advisor. Ladies, that's a mouthful. Welcome to the podcast.


Maria Colacurcio: Thanks for having us.


Chad: From all over. Now, Maria, where are you at right now?


Maria Colacurcio: Well, normally I am in Bellevue, Washington, outside Seattle, Washington but right now I'm in Redwood City, California, so, you know.


Chad: Okay. Same coast. Same coast. But we have Anita, who's all the way across the other side of the pond. Now, you're in the Netherlands. Where at in the Netherlands, Anita?


Anita Lettink: I live close to Amsterdam.


Chad: Nice.


Joel: Oh, well, that's a bummer. That must suck, huh?


Anita Lettink: Yeah, that's really bad.


[laughter]


Chad: Well, let's go ahead and do this. Let's go over, let's do some Twitter bios real quick. Just really short about you, long walks on the beach, what you like to do, all that other fun stuff. Anita, go ahead and go first.


Anita Lettink: I like to travel. I like to read and I do a lot of public speaking, as you said, HR tech and payroll advisor, and currently writing a book on equal pay.


Chad: Shocking. Imagine that. So where's your favorite place to travel to?


Anita Lettink: Oh, good question. I like San Francisco. I like New York, was there last year and this year I went to Slovenia where I had never been and that was awesome.


Joel: And where's your least favorite, whether it's based on the city is shit or the people are assholes?


Anita Lettink: I don't know. I don't have a city where I think I never want to go there again because, there's always something... I mean, the moment you're at the airport, it feels like vacation, at least for me.


Chad: Yeah. We'll give you a long list about ones here in the States that you just don't wanna mess with. So Maria, over to you. Give us a quick Twitter bio about you.


Maria Colacurcio: Okay. I, as you said, am the CEO of Syndio. So I am obsessed with all things workplace equity, which is important. I also am obsessed with these crazy fitness competitions that started in Europe. So they're on trend with our theme today, which is Europe, the EU directive. And they involve running, pushing a heavy sled, all sorts of crazy stuff. I'm just, I love it.


Joel: Are you old enough to remember American Gladiators?


Maria Colacurcio: Yes.


Joel: So there's a great documentary called Muscles and Mayhem, I think, on Netflix that documents...


Chad: She's writing it down.


Joel: The rise and fall of American Gladiators. It was awesome, as someone who was there.


Chad: Are you a big CrossFitter? Is that what I'm hearing?


Maria Colacurcio: No, it's not really CrossFit. I think CrossFit's starting to come into the sport. It's called HYROX. And my friend's daughter was like, if you have to spell it, it's not a sport. [laughter] There's that opinion.


[laughter]


Joel: HYROX is what I say at the bar on Friday night.


Maria Colacurcio: All right, but it's running, you run at about 8K, so you run a kilometer and then you do some sort of thing and it's pushing a heavy sled, doing lunges with a sandbag on your back, and then you run again. So it's a lot of running. So what it does is, for us littler folk, I'm only 5'4", it kind of balances it out because I might not be as good on an erg or a rower or a ski because I'm not as heavy, but I can make up for it on the run. So it feels equalizing and I'm all about equity.


Chad: So it sounds like equity to me, which goes right into today's subject. What a great segue, Maria.


Joel: I thought she was gonna say, do a 1K and then chug a beer. I wasn't expecting push something else.


Maria Colacurcio: I mean...


Joel: There are those.


SFX: How could anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.


Chad: There are that.


Maria Colacurcio: And they do pay their male and female winners the same. So that's another big plug for the sport.


Chad: Very happy. You can thank women's soccer for that. Okay. So let's go, we're gonna go ahead and delve directly into today's EU directive on transparency. We also wanna talk a little bit about the US and how we're being impacted, but I think it's important to set up some context for those listeners who don't really understand the problem, let alone this new directive. So let's get into some causation real quick. The gender pay gap basically defined as, my definition, as men getting paid more for doing the exact same job as women are doing. In the US, the newest Pew research shows that compared to White men, White women get paid 83 cents on the dollar, Black women, 70 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic women 65 cents on the dollar. So how did we get here? How did we... How did this huge gap, this huge pay gap, actually form? How did it happen?


Anita Lettink: Yeah. So there are several reasons for the pay gap. Traditionally, men negotiate better than women, that has always been thought. But what new research actually shows is that male bosses are more inclined to give men who negotiate a higher salary than women who negotiate. There are all kinds of reasons why this has happened. Other reasons are, for instance, women taking a career break because they're the ones to have children, obviously, and interestingly enough here is that there's also a fatherhood bonus. So if you are a man with children, and research has shown that you get higher raises simply because employers think that you provide more or you have more stability in your career. So those are two reasons.


Maria Colacurcio: I think a big part of this is because companies are not yet realizing that they are accountable for this. And it's incumbent upon the employer to make sure they're analyzing pay equity to ensure they don't have disparities that are because of gender, race, or ethnicity. So one of the things that drives me nuts is when people start talking about negotiation, for example, if you are dinging people because they're not a good negotiator, that is not the person's problem, that is your problem as an employer because negotiation is not typically something that you want to say is a reason you pay what you pay. So I think one of the things that's really interesting with all these pay transparency laws that are accelerating really quickly around the country and around the world is that companies now have to be pretty responsible for understanding why they pay what they pay. And in the past, when you look at the way pay equity analyses were done, they were this archaic clunky backward-looking thing, and nobody really understood why it is they pay an engineer X or another engineer Y. And so the more accountable you make employers on that, the better it will get.


Chad: So Anita said something that struck me, where let's say for instance an individual's been "mommy tracked." We've heard of that before, where obviously they've gotta go out. You're having the baby, you're having your 12 weeks or the amount of weeks that you're gonna have and therefore you're automatically set back. At that point, are we actually identifying this in organizations or to be able to help them stop doing this? Or is this a part of the equation and/or formula they're using and they think it's okay and it's right.


Maria Colacurcio: Yeah. I mean, I can take this first and then Anita I would love to hear your perspective. So one of the things we see all the time is an organization will say they pay for tenure. So they pay for time enrolled. That's one of the reasons why they pay what they pay. And if you look at the detail in the pay policy analytics that we offer in our product, what's really interesting is a lot of times men and women will start out making the same. Sometimes women even start out making more, but over time what happens is that men's pay increases and women's pay flat lines or goes down. And a lot of times it can be attributed to parental leave. So also men are more aggressively negotiating retention increases and women aren't, or maybe they're hitting a promotion cycle while they're out on leave. So they're missing that cycle and they're not actually getting to take advantage of it because they're gone. So they're passed over. So these are all things that a company can easily prevent if they're doing analysis and using software to make sure they deeply understand what their pay policies are doing or not doing. And trust me, I mean, I've had seven kids, so...


SFX: What?


Maria Colacurcio: Yeah. I have seven kids.


Chad: You like, you're in your mid-20s, how do you have seven kids?


[laughter]


Maria Colacurcio: Oh you're the best, man. That's why I'm wearing your shirt. It's the shirt that makes me look young. No, I mean, that's six parental leaves. So you add all that time up and that's a lot of time. And so you've just gotta really understand how that's impacting folks and use analytics to make sure you're not having that pass over effect.


Chad: What are we seeing in Europe around the same conversation?


Anita Lettink: We have the exact same conversation...


Chad: Really?


Anita Lettink: Here. In fact, yeah, the EU directive came about because we have this persistent pay gap in the EU, it's about 13%. We do not break it down into race, so we don't have those numbers, but in the past decade it has only gone down with 3%. Even though equal pay for equal work, treating people equally at work has been part of the EU legislations since forever. And so that hasn't helped. And that is why we now have the new EU pay directive.


Chad: Okay. So before we jump with both feet into the EU pay directive, Maria said something around negotiating and negotiating has been the, almost an American pastime. It's like if you can't negotiate for more that's your fault. Now that's been put on the individual as opposed to the employer for probably 100 years plus. So how do we get past this narrative or this thought, this thinking, this behavior to stop thinking that somebody who can negotiate is just a better employee? 'Cause that's what it comes down to.


Maria Colacurcio: Yeah. You've gotta give companies tools to address this and you've gotta give them tools to address it at the recruitment level and at the hiring manager level. So one of the things that's really common for our customers is there's a solution called Pay Finder. I'm not getting salesy, but you'll understand in a sec why I'm referencing this. And what it does is it sits on top of your latest pay equity analysis. So you're good, you've done the analysis, you've remediated, you have no issues that are because of gender, race or ethnicity. You're feeling good, but now your recruiters and your hiring managers are gonna go off and not only make a bunch of new hire offers, but they're gonna promote a bunch of people. And so how do you make sure that you stay in range with those new hire offers and those promotion offers so that you don't muck everything up and when you're looking back to do your next analysis, you have a bunch of more issues?


Maria Colacurcio: So to me it's really that starting pay, which is the biggest factor in any pay equity analysis, you have to have guidance. You've gotta guide the discretion with real-time data so that you know a range within which to stay. And if you've got that, if someone's negotiating, that's fine. But you also have that guiding light of what is the range within which I need to stay here so that I don't create issues moving forward. And that range is based on folks in your company who are already doing that same work and what are they getting paid?


Joel: Have things gotten better or worse since the pandemic?


Anita Lettink: I would say roughly the same. Maybe even a bit better because what you see with especially younger people is that they insist on seeing ranges, salary ranges in job ads. If it's not there, then they are much less likely to come and work for you. They simply want to know what you will pay or whereabout their salary will be. So I think slowly it's getting better. But what you see happening at the moment is that there are companies that are publishing these enormous ranges like we think it's...


Joel: Zero to 2 million, I think, was that Citibank that did that? Yeah.


Anita Lettink: Exactly, those types of, those acts of diligence. And with new legislation coming in you will see that go down because you simply cannot keep that up, your current employees see that, and if you start to publish ranges that are far outside what you give your tenured employees, then you have an immediate issue on your hands. So there have been some excesses, I would say but it is being normalized as we speak.


Joel: Okay. Chad and I talk all the time about how diversity and inclusion have been politicized in America. And it becomes an issue where companies just say, screw it, I'm out. I don't, I sell stuff to everybody and I don't want to get involved in this political thing. Transparency seems to like, beyond that balance of not quite political, but could fall into political sort of arguments. Where does it fall in, in European terms? Does anyone talk about this as a political issue or is it sort of a we're all on board this progress?


Anita Lettink: I wouldn't say we are all on board, but I would say it isn't nearly as politicized as it is in the US.


Joel: Yeah. So the EU directive, when does it happen? Is it only Europe? Is the UK involved in any of this? Is it only focused on gender, get specific about the directive.


Anita Lettink: So it is for every country within the European Union, which at the moment is not the UK anymore because of Brexit, so they left, they don't have to adhere except for the employees that they have in Europe, as for every company outside of Europe that employs people within Europe. So the threshhold for the first round in 2027 is 100 employees. If you have 100 employees, you will have to report annually on the gender pay gap in your company, which means for, I would say 90, maybe 95% of companies that they first have to understand what that is. So during the next three years, they will be busy calculating, adjusting, reviewing, so that they are ready for their first report, which is due by June 2027, and then they go on an annual repeat of that report. And then smaller companies have seven years before they have to submit their first report, and then they do it every 3-4 years.


Joel: And it's not just gender as I understand it, it's... You can't say just 'cause you're older, you get less. It's a wide umbrella that's influenced by this law. Correct?


Anita Lettink: It's a wide umbrella, but as a company, you only have to report on the gender pay gap, but obviously when you only look at the gender pay gap, you miss out on a whole lot of things, and as Maria can tell you, you need to look at much more elements of pay and compensation in order to bridge the gap. It is not just salary and it is not just gender.


Chad: Yes. And there is my point to Maria, how do you help companies that are global organizations, they're seeing this happen in the EU, we are seeing it happening spotty through the United States, you know something like this is gonna happen in California, and everybody does business in California for God's sake, so they're all going to have to do it. So how do you start to get companies ready for this move, because many of them aren't ready. I don't know if they're not ready, they don't wanna be ready, they're trying to push back and wait until they start seeing fines to see if they even need to start putting assets and resources to this, so how are you talking to those big organizations and helping them get ready to roll this out? 'Cause it's like eating an elephant, right? You've gotta do it one bite at a time. What are those bites?


Maria Colacurcio: Yeah, and just a couple of numbers to kind of set the stage on that. So before the EU directive, there are about 18 countries in Europe where global pay reporting was required, and after the EU directive, that number jumps immediately to 32. The other element of this that Anita can talk about, and she and I have had a lot of conversations about, is this concept of career progression. So before, when you think about just a pure gender pay gap report where you're looking at your median pay gap, your unadjusted gap, and for those who don't know, 'cause these get conflated all the time, there's a difference between pay equity and the pay gap. Pay equity is looking at equal pay for equal work, so looking at folks doing similar jobs and are there disparities that you can't rule out are because of something like gender or ethnicity. The unadjusted pay gap is when you look at averages, so all your men up here and all your women are down here, and what does that gap look like? So the reporting in the UK that's been around for a while, required employers to publish their pay gap. And what's really interesting to watch is the United States, traditionally in the past, was focused on pay equity, mostly because companies have that risk of pay equity class action litigation and lawsuits. And now we're seeing this cross influence where Europe's focus on unadjusted gap is starting to influence the US, and the US focus on pay equity is starting to influence Europe.


Maria Colacurcio: So you're really starting to see this global approach, and the EU directive is really the first time we're seeing that global approach. Now, for global companies, these global pay reports are a huge nut to crack, and so what we're really recommending to companies is don't wait until you hit the deadline. What you really should be doing is conducting in-depth pay equity analysis now, fixing whatever problems you have, remediating, putting plans in place to fix your promotion numbers or how people are moving throughout your organization, so that when it is time to do the reporting, you're in a pretty good state. Because here's the thing, those reports are public and everyone from investors to employees who potentially wanna work for you are going to see those numbers, so the worst thing you could do is wait until those deadlines versus getting to work right now. And the last thing I'll say is, we've created solutions over the past year, I would say, in anticipation of this, to help companies get their arms around these global pay reports. Because one thing that folks don't realize until they start doing it, is that of the 27 countries, there could be 27 different little knits and knots in the reports that are a little bit different here and there.


Maria Colacurcio: So it's not just one version, some require career progression, some require different cuts and slices of things, so it's really important to take that into consideration as well.


Joel: Anita when you're starting to see, I mean, many of these large companies, and again, this is about eating the elephant. For me, we're in a great time where we've got data all over the place. We might not know where everything is, but being able to actually get specific types of platforms like Syndio in place to help you make sense of that, are you starting to see more companies start to lean heavier on those types of platforms to start to figure this out? 'Cause there's a lot of data, getting to it might be a pain in the ass for some, but being able to get to it and collect that data is really job won. Right?


Anita Lettink: Right. But then making sure that you're comparing apples to apples is probably the hardest part of all of this. I have been in global payroll for the past 20 years, and I have witnessed this whole move of companies trying to standardize their local payrolls at the regional level, at the global level, and that is only payroll and it was super hard and it still is super hard to do. Now, you do not only need the information from your payroll system or also from your HR system, from maybe your compensation, your time system, your succession planning, so you have lots of or data that you need to put together from different countries with different local regulations. And so understanding that equal pay for equal work works the same in the Netherlands as in Germany, as in France, as in Italy, where you have all these people...


Anita Lettink: Is going to be very, very time-consuming. It is not hard in the sense that you cannot put all that data together, but understanding what it means and what it means in Italy when you compare it to Poland or to Portugal, that is a whole different ball game. Also, the EU directive is a generic law that needs to be adapted by the countries. And countries must as a minimum take over the EU requirements, but are allowed to have stricter regulations. It's the same as the GDPR where we all know that Germany has the most strict form of the GDPR, and therefore a lot of hosting companies put their stuff in Germany because then they're covered for all of Europe, so something similar will probably happen for the EU directive. Countries do now have three years to put that into their local legislation and then we'll see, so we're in a bit of a wait and see situation. From a legislative perspective, you know what it will be. It might be a little bit stricter but it does not mean that you can wait.


Anita Lettink: Because my feeling is that if you come out in 2027 with a report that says, "Oh wait, we have a pay gap and it is more than 5%, and we need to do something about it." That people... Your employees will turn around and say, "You knew this since 2023. You had four years to remedy this and you didn't." And I think that will be a breach of trust.


Chad: Yeah, no question. So, Maria, spending 20 years in the military. Right? I see the complexity of corporate America, and it's funny because the government usually is way too complex, but in this case, if you take a look at the military, you know what everybody gets paid. Everybody has a behavior and they don't... There's no negotiation, right? You have promotions, you have schools, you have all these things, but it fits within a framework that is incredibly transparent, probably because it's all paid by taxpayer dollars, but still there is this very simplistic model in which they have been able to deploy that helps to drive equity. Should we start cleaning the corporate system up and try to move it more towards something that's more structured and more systematic and transparent like that?


Maria Colacurcio: I think that's what these laws are trying to do in their own way, and if you come back to the States and you look at Illinois, for example, so the Illinois law that was just past included this provision of career progression, which is in the EU directive. So again, there's that cross-influence, so you've got equal pay for work of comparative value, you've got pay and career progression transparency, you've got the right to information, which plays into what you're asking, pay reporting and then a joint pay assessment. Those are really the components of the EU directive.


Maria Colacurcio: So what Illinois does, is Illinois talks about if you have a job that has a career progression, so let's say you're a machine operator and the next level is machine operator senior or lead, they actually are requiring companies to lay out the career progression and explain in detail what skills need to be acquired in order to move up to that next level. So it really takes all the guessing out of promotions and who's being promoted and who's not. If someone is promoted, that promotion is required to be posted in terms of what does it take to get into a role like that? So I think a lot of these laws are sort of circling around the exact idea that you're talking about, which is, shouldn't we just be really transparent about why it is companies pay what they pay, what skills they're paying for, how that's changing or evolving over time based on the priorities of the business, and what it's gonna take to get up to the higher levels of pay bands. And again, it's something that feels very complex today because of how just archaic our job architectures and leveling and all of those things are because they're based on an old model. But I think as we start to modernize, we are gonna get closer to something that just feels more equitable, transparent, consistent and fair, honestly.


Joel: Chad mentions the military and the military has a lot of employees. This law cuts at 100 employees which is a lot less than the military. Frankly to me, it seems kinda low for such a bureaucratic regulation to take hold. We talk about laws that have taken place in Illinois, New York and China, I like to say if you show us a 10 foot wall, we'll show you an 11 foot ladder. What are companies doing to get around this whether it's higher contract people, whether it's, oh, we're nearing 100, let's just hire people from the UK. Or let's just hire gig workers, or let's put a range between zero and 2 million in our job, or let's do it in style, like how are companies getting around this and how is the government gonna keep up?


Anita Lettink: Yeah, I don't think that companies will skirt around this simply, [chuckle] they will try. But I was thinking about something similar from a legislation perspective that happened about 10 years ago when we started to talk about work councils and works councils were put in place in companies with over 35 employees. And so everyone was looking at a handful of companies that started to break down their entities in smaller entities, never going over 35 employees. Well, if you have to break that down in all these entities, that gets costly very quickly because of all the administration and the taxes and what else?


Anita Lettink: So because the number is set at 100, my feeling is that this will not happen. In fact, I have talked over the past couple of weeks with some people that did this for companies with 60 employees or 70 employees and said it was no big deal, simply because people talk anyways. Everyone in a company knows what their colleagues are making or their teammates or when it's appraisal time, they want to know what did you get? And most people will maybe not say the number, but they will say the percentage, and so you have an idea of what your colleagues are making. There's ways to skirt around the official secrecy that happens at the corporate level.


Joel: As an American, I think it's cute that you think no one will get around this regulation. Maria, this one's for you. As an American as well, the market tends to be the best way to get change to happen. Indeed, the number one job search site in America recently said, we're doing pay transparency. If you don't put a job or a salary range in a job, we're gonna put it in there for you. We've heard and seen notably a lot of companies do it because they don't want Indeed to just throw in whatever number, they wanna have some control over that. Do you guys have any inkling or data around what has happened with salaries in posting since Indeed made this change? Are we seeing a lot more pay transparency, a lot more ranges, a lot more applications, which is another thing that I think Anita touched on is if you put your salary range in a job posting, you're gonna get more responses, that's a market force driving change and I think that's what we're gonna see happen. Agree, disagree. Why?


Anita Lettink: Oh, can I say something to that, Joel?


Joel: Sure.


Anita Lettink: Actually what happens is you do not get more responses, but you get better qualified to responses. You get actually less response because people self-select out, but the ones that stay in are qualified.


Joel: The quality is better.


Anita Lettink: Exactly.


Joel: Okay.


Maria Colacurcio: Yeah, and there's a lot of studies that have come out recently. I'll find the source that say Gen Z won't even apply. They won't even bother unless there's a salary range. I mean with current legislation, one-fifth of all workers in the United States are covered by some sort of pay transparency legislation today, and obviously the EU broadens that globally, so I don't know anything about with Indeed's move, what's happened since then, but I do think the more and more companies that do this, the more competitive and required it becomes. And I think it's one of these things too when you think about all of this is a brand exercise, it's not necessarily a compliance exercise. I mean it is, but it all plays back into, are you a brand I can trust? Are you a place that I believe is going to pay me fairly? And there's two sides of this, the side that nobody talks about that I think is really interesting in particular in today's macro environment with the volatility in the market and things like that, is that workplace equity is about being fair and equitable to the employee, but it's also about being fair and equitable to the employer. And the employer wants to be sure that their pay policies are driving value from the most productive folks and getting the most business performance for the company.


Maria Colacurcio: So it's sort of a two-way street in that you have to make sure your pay policies and why you pay what you pay are obviously fair and equitable, but you also wanna make sure that you're paying for the things that drive your business forward. And so I think that's the big benefit for employers in this whole conversation is let's get really clear about your best negotiator might not be your best person for the job, and in fact, a lot of studies suggest that over-confidence in an interview process is actually linked to the worst performance so it's good for the employer as well.


Joel: Is there anything that's going on? 'Cause I guess it cuts both ways in some cases. Do you fear that companies will be less likely to give bonuses or increase out? So you have two developers, they're the same title, they make the same money, one is clearly performing better than the other. An employer might say, "Well, I can't do anything 'cause we pay them both the same," whereas maybe without pay transparency you would say, "Okay, we're gonna bump up the better one," I mean do you get around it by giving a new title, do you give a bonus structure that's less transparent, like how does a company get through that for either of you?


Anita Lettink: The fact that you have equal pay does not mean that you cannot reward people for a performance. As long as that is very clear that part of pay is performance related, whether that is a bonus or an additional increase, but you have to document it and it has to be used in the overview. So it does not mean that you cannot pay someone a little bit more because they clearly perform appraisal score was four, while the other's appraisal score was three.


Joel: So developer number one is the higher performer, developer number two is the less. Well, number two now know that developer number one got a bonus, and I have to ask why, or will that be part of the law, or...


Anita Lettink: No. No. So, pay transparency means that... So according to the law, you publish pay scales, it does not mean that you publish everyone's individual, so you are transparent on the process and you are transparent on pay scales if you want to.


Joel: So I don't have to report a bonus to developer number one?


Anita Lettink: No.


Joel: OKay.


Anita Lettink: Of course no.


Chad: Of course not, Joel.


Joel: Thanks for clearing that up for me.


Maria Colacurcio: No, of course not. No. And I think that's why there's so much talk right now with our customers. For every customer that's putting in performance ratings, there's another customer throwing them out. And so it's really interesting, this whole conversation because everyone wants employees that are high performers, but this whole idea of how do we actually measure that is something that has been just a mess for decades. And I think what's really interesting about the work that we do is almost consistently when we do our first pay equity analysis with a customer, they're using performance as a control, meaning if they're using performance as one of the reasons why they pay what they pay, the next question is, "Oh, do you have a product that can analyze my performance rating to make sure that that's not biased?" And we do, so we can do that but it's all about then looking at that performance control and slicing that and making sure that you don't have the systemic problems that you tend to see with performance, which is women rate very well in performance, but their potential ratings tend to be much, much lower, it's even worse for women of color. So making sure that you're looking at that reading and taking that pretty seriously, is something I would also highly recommend.


Anita Lettink: Yeah, and I think to that point, I think that a lot of companies are throwing performance ratings out in a first go is simply because as they are understanding all these contributors to pay, they also realize how biased their current performance ratings are.


Chad: Right.


Anita Lettink: And when there is bias in your performance ratings, then obviously it's very difficult to use them when you're setting up this whole equal pay initiative. That does not mean that you cannot re-introduce it, but it does mean that you have to make adjustments and probably train your managers and look at the process itself, but afterwards you can definitely use it again.


Chad: So for me, it sounds like much like we're doing with AI today, it's explainability, because as we're looking at compliance, you've gotta be able to take this mess, this black box, which we always talk about AI being a black box. Same thing with pay, pay is a black box, nobody can see in and it's not transparent, so therefore, we've gotta be able to provide, again, a cleaner solution with explainability in there so that when you do have compliance and reports and so on and so forth, you know what the hell is going on. I've got one more question. Maria, you talked about trust, right? And how trust could actually be synonymous, should be synonymous with your brand. Have you started to see some of your clients start using that trust along with like a narrative within the actual employer brand or the total brand narrative?


Maria Colacurcio: Absolutely, so we have a certification program that's called Fair Pay Workplace, and the whole point is there's a separate alliance of experts that decides on what is the methodology, standards and tools to have a pay equity analysis that is done the right way. Because there's a bunch of ways you can do this wrong, you can disaggregate to green, you can do all the stuff that Joel said, sort of squint and say, "Well, he's a special snowflake, so he doesn't count. I'm not gonna compare him to her. I'm actually...


Joel: I'm starting to feel triggered Maria, watch out.


[laughter]


Maria Colacurcio: Yeah. The cynic, right? So we put together the certification program so that our customers could actually have the stamp of approval that says not only are we doing pay equity, we're a fair pay workplace. Certified, we're doing it the right way, everything's above board and we do it as acknowledged by this alliance of experts. So what we're seeing is that so many of our customers are now using that in their recruiting, they're putting itt on their website, they're talking about it to new candidates, to existing employees, they're doing town halls around it, they're asking us to come to town halls, and I think there is this really important measure of, you are offering me your time and your labor, and I am in return making sure that I value you for that contribution. And then I'm analyzing and taking it upon myself as the employer to make sure it's equitable. So we're seeing that really, really start to accelerate because I think companies realize that pretty soon this is going to become table stakes. So the ones that are doing it well now wanna try and garner some credit and actually use it as a differentiator while they can.


Joel: Ladies, thank you for coming on the Chad and Cheese podcast, that is Maria Colacurcio and Anita Lettink. Ladies, if anyone listening wants to connect with you or find out more, where would you send them?


Maria Colacurcio: Anyone can email me, you can email me directly. I'm maria@synd.io.


Anita Lettink: And you can find me on LinkedIn or through my website anitalettink.com.


Joel: Love it, love it.


Chad: Too easy.


Joel: Chad, that is another one in the can. We gotta make sure that you and I are both paid equally before we do any more shows on this podcast. We out.


Chad: We out.


Outro: Wow, look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese podcast, or maybe you cheated and fast-forwarded to the end. Either way, there is no doubt you wish you had that time back, valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckle heads instead. Now, go take a shower and wash off on the guilt, but save some soap because you'll be back. Like an awful train wreck, you can't look away and like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.

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