Q The Government is proposing compulsory gender pay gap reporting for organisations with more than 250 employees. Is it another bit of red tape or does it have any value?
A Hidden behind the proposed legislation is a real opportunity for companies to make more money, but there is a big danger that it is treated as extra red tape, with the gender pay gap becoming a national target, without us recognising how it can help, rather than hinder, management.
The exercise will no doubt prompt everyone to check that they comply with equal pay guidelines, but the gender pay gap should not be confused with equal pay. There may be many good reasons why the average earnings of the women in an organisation differ from the average for men. But the gap could indicate a real opportunity.
Great businesses are almost always full of great people and it makes a big difference if you have a culture that attracts the best people – men and women – and make sure that their talents are used to the full.
There may be nothing wrong in having a gender pay gap, in fact it would be a surprise if the average pay of all the women in an organisation is exactly the same as the men. But can you explain why the gap exists?
You could create a better business by answering some simple but vital questions:
1) Does your company have a lads’ culture that is unattractive to women?
2) Do you have a flexible approach so that men and women can fit work alongside their family commitments or do you expect everyone to work from 9am to 5pm every day?
3) Have you any examples of managers who have taken a career break and regained their original place?
4) Are you aware what arrangements your staff make for child care?
All these questions are asked with one objective: to attract the very best people.
There is a danger that initiatives such as more women on boards and the gender pay gap are seen as feminist issues, with women campaigning for a better deal. They may be surprised to discover that plenty of men, like me, already recognise that, to get the best team, you need to attract the best women as well as the best men.
Thirty years from now, women will play a much more significant role, not particularly due to KPIs and quotas, but because senior managers, most of them men, will work out it is an important part of creating a better business.
QA colleague drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney, and eats about 10 sausage rolls a day. I’m very fond of her and want her to live a long, healthy life. Should I have a word?
A I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like it if someone else told you to change your lifestyle, so don’t be surprised if your well-meant advice gets a frosty response.
We don’t dictate to anyone about their diet. Some of our colleagues are too fat, others are too thin, but they almost certainly don’t need us to tell them the facts they face in the mirror every day.
If your friend makes a resolution to change her habits and asks for some moral support, then help by sponsoring her weight loss in aid of your company charity, or contributing to the cost of a slimming club.