Closing the gender pay gap could result in cost-saving benefits and revenue-boosting opportunities in the areas of compliance, employee engagement and making your organization an attractive destination for top talent. But in order to gain the expected ROI, finance leaders should consider making key investments in data capabilities and the compensation budgets required to close a wage gap.

This is part two of a two-part series that explores the importance of addressing the gender pay gap for financial leaders. Part one explored why closing the gender gap matters for compliance and engagement.

How Salesforce Leverages Big Data to Close Its Gender-Based Pay Gap: A Case Study

Do you have the ability to collect, analyze and act upon your existing employee-related data? Having a robust HCM system in place that can capture, share and support data-driven decision-making can be foundational for addressing wage gaps.

Salesforce is an example of an organization committed to leveraging HCM and big data to close its pay gaps. The organization acquired 13 businesses in 2016, and its aggressive global acquisition strategy added a layer of HCM complexity, according to Fortune.

Despite its aggressive growth and talent acquisition strategies, Salesforce has committed itself to reviewing its gender pay gap on a regular, ongoing basis and can do so fairly easily with the right systems. "Every CEO needs to look at if they're paying men and woman the same," said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. "That is something that every single CEO can do today." But good intentions aren't enough, you'll need data capabilities too.

Once you have the data capability in place to analyze your pay equity performance, you'll need to perform regular pay audits to identify gaps. Finance leaders are at the forefront when the results of these audits point to discrepancies in pay between men and women. Put simply, fixing pay equity issues requires having the budget available to make any necessary changes to close identified gaps. Salesforce, for example, allocated $3 million to close pay gaps identified in its initial gender pay audit.

Salesforce's efforts to close its pay gap should not only engage existing employees, but also serve to attract new ones. Salesforce's gender pay initiatives help make it a more attractive employer for in-demand female tech talent.

The Need for Pay Audits and Pay Adjustments

Generating the positive impact you seek in closing pay gaps (employee engagement, attracting new talent, reduction of legal risk, etc.) starts with developing the data flexibility required to monitor your performance on pay equity, as well as allocating a budget to making any necessary pay adjustments, depending on where the audit data leads you.

The gender pay gap likely won't be solved by performing pay audits alone. Gender pay equity should be part of a larger effort to attract and engage a workforce that's increasingly diverse and worthy of equal pay for equal work. In order to support ongoing efforts to ensure pay equity, you should have a data-driven, comprehensive HCM platform in place. This takes commitment, investment and persistence, but the payoff can be massive — making your organization a magnet for top talent that can enable you to outcompete and outgrow your rivals.

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Tags: pay equity big data