The recent flurry of media coverage around organisations
reporting their gender pay gaps has highlighted the need to control the
narrative.

Although the legal requirements in relation to the gender
pay calculations are fairly simple, the process to get to that point is more complex,
and it would be a mistake not to go beyond the basics and produce a more comprehensive
report.

Often, the figures being reported don’t provide an
understanding of the causes behind the gap. Digging deeper into the findings
allows businesses to put in place robust plans that will make a real difference
in future years. The detail can also provide much needed context regarding
factors that can influence the figures, like the composition of your workforce,
for example.

The press has shown a keen appetite to report the findings and,
given the expectation that there will be substantial disparities, we can expect
this to continue. With more than 9,000 firms required to publish their
statistics by April 5, we can learn from the few who have done so more
successfully – presenting the complex information in a simple way, facilitated
through comprehensive reporting.

There are three clear lessons that we can learn from the
more successful reports to date:  

1.       Think about the composition of your
workforce

Make sure your reporting takes the composition of your workforce
into account. Organisations need to ensure that the analysis is detailed enough
to factor in the variety of employee groups within an organisation, as well as the
many permutations that can affect pay.

For example, organisations can exclude employees when pay is
not at its normal rate. So anyone receiving statutory pay due to maternity,
adoption, parental or shared leave, or because of sickness could fall into this
category.

2.       What’s the story behind the figures?

Organisations can prevent people from drawing their own
conclusions by controlling the narrative. Companies can submit commentary alongside
their official pay gap figures
. By taking advantage of this opportunity,
they can explain any understandable reasons why a pay gap exists.

It also provides companies with a chance to highlight what
they are doing to close that gap. For example, it might provide an opportunity
to talk about an initiative to increase the number of female hires.

3.       Give yourself time to respond to any
uncomfortable findings

Companies are running out of time to report their figures –
and what has become clear is that we cannot simply publish the findings without
further thought. The analysis needs to be detailed and the commentary
considered.

We also need to face the possibility that we might not like
what we find. If this is the case, organisations may need to give themselves
time to think about how they want to respond. If they have programmes in place
to address gender inequality, they might want to consider boosting the resources
being put into these. This could then be highlighted in the commentary
submitted.

 

This post originally appeared on theCSuite.co.uk