Big data CEO rights women’s pay

Equal payWe recently spoke with an organisation that wanted to improve on gender balance, but was reticent to conduct a pay audit – for fear of what they might find and therefore open themselves up to liability. With this disappointing exchange in mind, we were then heartened to read about Chris Cabrera, the CEO of Xactly, a cloud platform that manages the incentive compensation initiatives for more than 700 customers. Using the big data this afforded them, Xactly compiled nine years worth of sales compensation data to highlight the wider issue: the gender favouritism in employee pay that often goes against actual performance. To no one surprise, they made some staggering discoveries when mining the compensation data of 700 companies.

As Cabrera explains in Talent Management : “Not only were men being paid more, on average, women were actually performing higher — making their sales quota three percent more often than their male counterparts. Seeing this data made me wonder if this could be happening right here at Xactly, and I was shocked to see it was. There were a small number of employees, both female and male sales representatives, who were being paid incorrectly based on their performance. Within days of receiving this information, I had worked with our HR and accounting teams to get this corrected.”

Equal pay is a tricky topic for many companies; particularly those who suspect there may be inequities they’d rather not recognise. However, ignoring the issue and refusing to conduct an internal pay audit will not protect organisations as ‘I didn’t know’ is not  a plausible excuse. We hope to see more leaders like Cabrera ask the tricky questions of themselves, and rectify an unfair situation as needed.

How to redefine an existing role to be flexible working: Create a Team Roadmap

Planning for flexible workingToo frequently we see clients object at making certain roles flexible with the argument: ‘But Tim’s always been in the office’ or ‘I don’t think Sarah’s team would know how to cope if she wasn’t always around’. Sorry, but ‘we’ve always done it this way’ is no longer an excuse forward thinking organisations can use when thinking about staffing. Planning for flexible working is only going to increase as Sara Hill, CEO of Capability Jane found when they looked in depth at the issue:

  • 79% of women stated that working from home for all or part of their role would be desirable.
  • 64% wanted flexible working.
  • 60% wanted to work part time (3 days a week).

It’s time for a team approach to establish a plan for the change towards flexible working. A proactive leader will gather the affected team together and get them to assess:

  • the role of the individual.
  • area of responsibility and the effect a change will have on the team.
  • how to combat the challenges or stumbling blocks.

If managers focus on these basic fundamental points they can create a flexible, tangible working map to act as guidance for assessing and establishing flexible roles within an organisation. The roadmap and process can even be used for other employees. Sara Hill believes it’s vital to document the set up process; listing facts that make it work and the obstacles that hindered the implementation of flexible working. This document can act as a benchmark for policy to use within the company as a whole.

No money for pay rises? Increase engagement without increasing wages

Our sister company, The InclusIQ Institute, wanted to share their popular article with us. We see successful leaders who keep employees happy by giving them regular raises and promotions. However, as monetary reward is only a small part of why people work, we are impressed by leaders who are able to motivate teams even during the lean periods – when raises are impossible to give.

Here are the factors they focus on:

  1. Consistent Values: We can’t visit the lobby of a corporate client without seeing a banner proudly proclaiming their values. However, in sessions, the employees confide core values are abandoned during tough times. Leadership values seemed to apply in good times, but dwindle or even disappear during times of stress. Employees put in more if company values are followed at all times – even if it calls for tough decisions.
  2. Long Term Focus: Ace teams see the tough periods; belt-tightening and cash flow issues as a temporary problem. Their leaders maintain focus on long-term objectives. Employees don’t mind going through difficult times when they believe there is a brighter future ahead.
  3. Continuous Communication: As a Forbes article on ‘Seven Ways To Increase Employee Satisfaction Without Giving A Raise‘ comments: “People tend to communicate less during bad times, when in actuality, they need to communicate even more.” During tough times, good teams increase communication and share important information. Apart from any good news, it is also important to share the reality of the current situation with team members. No one likes being condescended to; they can handle the truth.
  4. Opportunities for Development: Successful teams use slower times to learn new skills and build new capabilities. Leaders should not cut training and development as encouraging employees to take up stretch roles boosts employee satisfaction and inspire loyalty.

Good leaders know that if you can’t walk your talk – why should anyone else? How have you seen strong teams cope well during a down period?

Do bonuses create deceitful employees?

Crossed fingersIn the last four months, we’ve worked with no fewer than 6 senior women who were considering leaving their jobs. Let’s make no mistake, these were jobs where they were getting favourable reviews, where they were well-respected but for some reason or another, their ‘heart wasn’t in it.’ When we unpicked what was missing, there was a dismay  they had risen, but were often surrounded by people they felt routinely stole others credit or who were ‘in it just for themselves’ – particularly when it came to bonus time.  This dissatisfaction was increasingly at odds with how the women wanted to lead and work.

Perhaps not surprisingly, research shows that ‘deceitful’ organisations where this type ‘every man for himself’ behaviour is commonplace, have hugely unproductive cultures.  According to research by D. De Cremer on ‘Self-sacrificial leadership and follower self-esteem: When collective identification matters’ published in the journal of Group dynamics, Theory, Research and Practice in 2006, these organisational cultures are hotbed of problems. De Cremer found employees in deceitful organisations have much less commitment to them. They express greater dissatisfaction, less trust amongst colleagues, poorer performance, higher turnover and an unethical organisational climate.

These types of organisations are much more common in English speaking countries and less so in Northwestern European countries. While these countries have many cultural differences, one key disparity that may be related is the level of childcare provided by businesses and the government. Additionally, family leave is more likely to be shared by both parents, thereby decreasing the chances that new mothers are seen as soft targets in the distributions of bonuses.

If you are looking for a way to foster teamwork and efficiency, get rid of or at least significantly reduce your current bonus offerings. Create smaller spreads in the bonus gap between the biggest winner and the last ‘loser’. It’s vital people don’t have so much to individually gain from fighting for credit and sabotaging colleagues, and can spend time actually working. Only then will your organisation see a reduction in sabotage, politicking and maximisation of effort.

To avoid sabotage amongst colleagues, should we do away with bonuses? And if not, how do we create a smarter bonus system?

How to recognise and work with a narcissist

office politics, working with a narcissistOliver James’ latest book; “Office Politics” exposes a truth we all recognise – that the modern office is full of ‘triadic’ people; those who exhibit narcissist, machiavellianism and psychopathy. Plus, the more senior you look in any organisation the more likely you are to find them! While this may not be a huge surprise, what did surprise us was how much prevalent these characteristics have become over the last 30 years.

Recent research found that in 1979 just 15% of US graduates showed narcissistic traits, but this had raised to 24% by 2006, with the greatest rise amongst women. In 1979, men were much more likely to be narcissists, but by 2006 women had caught up. Talk about the wrong kind of equality!

Narcissistic leaders are fairly easy to spot but can make your life hell if you fall foul of them. They are attracted to sectors or roles that are high-stakes and where being a ‘big character’ and swagger is actually advantageous. In their personal life, they may struggle to hold onto lasting romantic relationships.

These are classic signs:

1. Attention-seeking
2. Exaggerated self-esteem
3. Taking credit where it’s not due
4. Courting high status friends and partners
5. Chasing public acclamation

So how do you manage a narcissist if you work with one? Careful use of flattery is probably the best tactic. Too frequent and they may suspect you of being disingenuous, but flattery has proven very useful as it aligns very much with their own worldview. Make it a goal to find out what identity has the most meaning for them. What do they seem most proud of? Your job is to make them show how that identity works well with what you need from them.

One Partner in a law firm we worked with repeatedly talked about how he prided himself on being ‘tough, but fair’ – it was almost a mantra for him. We were able to get him to see how better managing the two women and one Muslim man on his team, by spending more time with them than he had previously done, fit the ‘fair’ version of his self-identify. Once he got to know them as individuals, the way he had for the other three men on his team, he was more willing to sponsor their efforts for promotion as it was the ‘fair thing to do’.


Image via Pinterest

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...