Pay Equity Requires Negotiation? Part 2April 10, 2008
In part 1, I discussed the signatures of companies that value diversity and equity. Part 2 identifies personal attributes that drive advancement.
On the Job
Seek a mentor. Men are more likely to develop a relationship with a mentor than women are. One probable, not-so-good reason is that there are currently more men in leadership positions. In time, we will see a more representative mix of female and male leaders, but for now, don’t lose the opportunity to get advice and counsel from a man who has the company’s and your best interests at heart.
Broaden your skills and talents. In today’s business climate, an employee’s value is a function of the variety of ways she can contribute to a company’s success. Willingness to take the risk associated with accepting new challenges is a key attribute that leads to advancement.
Prepare for leadership. Recognizing the characteristics of a successful modern leader requires some study. Some of my favorite authors are W. Edwards Deming, James A. Belasco, and Bill George. They explain that the traditional meaning of management is obsolete (we manage projects, not people) and that companies are most competitive when they eliminate power-based hierarchies by providing resources and decision authority to the teams responsible for making the product.
Be visible. If you’re not broadly known as a contributor, it’s going to be difficult for a supervisor to justify an above-average salary increase. Favorable visibility doesn’t need to be forced. It usually develops naturally when an employee readily accepts challenging assignments and develops a broad, collaborative network of associates.
Have fun. How does this relate to equity? Well, an equitable workplace cannot exist if people dread going to work and are tied up in knots when they return home. There are times when the culture can be changed to have some fun. If the culture resists change, it’s time to consider moving on. See Fish! for one set of ideas on how the workplace can be both enjoyable and productive.
Finally, the pay gap does exist, but many companies view diversity and equitable treatment as a competitively important value. Women’s interests are best served when they seek employment with those companies.