Answering Your Questions about BC’s Pay Transparency Act
All the latest HR news, including compensation, employee engagement, performance measurement, DEI, & retention with consultant Judy Slutsky.
Demand for top talent remains strong in British Columbia’s labour market. We turned to HR Consultant Judy Slutsky for an update on trends. She provided expert advice on compensation, employee engagement, performance measurement, DEI, retention, and more.
Pay Transparency Mandate Places Pressure on HR
Pay transparency is in the spotlight in British Columbia and Judy is recommending that HR departments remain on their toes.
“It’s important for HR Professionals to ensure that internal salaries are commensurate with other positions within a company and that your business is not offering a higher salary to a new recruit than a current employee earns in the role,” says Judy.1
B.C.’s new Pay Transparency Act brings in new requirements for employers around job postings and reporting of employee wages and pay equity. All employers in B.C. will be required to comply with several measures outlined by the Act, designed to eradicate pay secrecy and make employers accountable for pay gaps in their workforces. The legislation aims to eliminate pay discrimination and secrecy which means that employers can no longer strike individual deals with candidates or employees involving compensation.
As of November 1, 2020 Many of BC’s largest public sectors employers are required to make their salaries public, with other private employers to follow in the coming years.2
Judy Slutsky, CPHR, provides guidance to business on conducting a compensation analysis considering factors like industry benchmarks, internal job roles and salaries. Judy is often called upon to conduct job evaluation and determine salary ranges for each position.
“ Conducting a compensation analysis is both an art and a science,” she says. “You have to understand job and salary benchmarks as well as what the organization is trying to achieve with each role. As Vancouver is a very expensive place to live, pay continues to be a main motivator for both recruitment and job retention. Employees have options and they’re not staying with an employer unless they are paid fairly”
Employee Engagement Surveys Correlate with Productivity, Retention
Employee engagement is another major factor in retention, says Judy. Employers are making a concerted effort to better understand the motivators that keep their staff productive and prevent them from entertaining external job offers.
“Employee engagement surveys are big right now,” she says. “Staff members are being asked if they get enough recognition, whether they have friends at the workplace, whether they feel their job matters, and what their perception of the company mission is.”
Judy explains that engagement metrics are important indicators of productivity and loyalty.
“Engagement scores correlate to performance. And if people are not engaged, eventually they’ll leave the company,” she says.
Development Opportunities are a Strong Employee Motivator
Not surprisingly, opportunity also remains top of mind for employees.
“From Millennials to those approaching retirement, everybody wants opportunities for professional development and job advancement,” says Judy. “If there are invisible barriers that prevent some people from job advancement (Ceiling effect) people will leave.
We see job applicants site lack of career advancement and professional development as key factors in leaving a job”
Measuring Performance Key to Success
Another aspect of HR that keeps Judy busy is performance evaluation. According to her, companies that formalize and track employee performance expectations will be better poised for organizational success, better equipped to assess compensation, and more able to justify the value that each role brings to the business.
What’s more, she suggests this will help with retention.
“Top and average performers want to ensure that everyone at work is contributing equally and that poor performers are identified and managed appropriately,” she says. Read our previous article on creating an incentive program here.
Importance of Formalizing Performance KPIs
Judy says that management will often intuitively understand what needs to be achieved, but are sometimes guilty of failing to articulate performance expectations properly. She says that a formal effort to do so is a worthwhile effort.
“It starts with relationships,” she says. “There has to be a job description, key performance indicators, and ongoing feedback and communication. It’s not sufficient to sit down once a year with an employee and discuss in general terms how they perceive their role in the company – these discussions have to be specific and ongoing throughout the year.”
She believes that a written scorecard can be created per individual and per department to drive success. All performance metrics are not static and take into account changing goals and labour market conditions. What’s more, performance feedback is a two-way process.
“Feedback between the employee and manager is the most critical factor in job success so that both parties understand what the goals are”.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goes Beyond Simple Statements
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three closely linked values held by many organizations that are working to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.
When DEI became a prevalent topic several years ago, Judy observed that initially business addressed this topic with a corporate policy and/or a recruitment statement. Now DEI is a more recognized and pervasive way of doing business. Businesses who have adopted DEI values in their business operations are better able to respond to challenges, win top talent, and meet the needs of different customer bases.
“Senior HR professionals are well positioned to initiate a DEI audit to highlight how well your business is supporting diverse and underrepresented employees. It identifies areas where you might be ahead of the curve but it also outlines any challenges or concerns that may exist.
Acknowledging Diversity of Holidays
One way that diversity efforts manifest is in the celebration of publicly recognized holidays.
“Many employees are gaining confidence to approach their employers to share their beliefs and celebratory customs” says Judy. “This cultural shift has given everybody a great opportunity to speak up and feel represented in holiday celebrations.”
Judy acknowledges that the situation can be complicated, given that some cultural holidays/celebrations can occur during busy company operations, but says that organizations are tending towards accommodation.
No company wants to be accused of discriminatory practices that can impact employee engagement and recruiting efforts.”
Judy expects businesses to be increasingly flexible in recognizing different cultural holidays.
1 Direct communication with Judy Slutsky
2 Finance, Ministry of. “Pay Transparency Laws in B.C.” Province of British Columbia, November 14, 2023. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/gender-equity/pay-transparency-laws-in-bc.