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Concern about asking about Renumeration in the D & I Survey

Hi I’ve got a bit of resistance in running the Culture Amp D & I Survey around asking people if they are happy with remuneration etc. We are a charity of limited means that works globally and my CEO is worried about asking a question around remuneration when we are limited in being able to increase salaries for example. My argument is that if culturally this is already a bone of contention, hiding away and not tackling it is as equally damaging. At least if we bring it into the open through the survey we can then look at what we can do EG have more transparency in pay grades etc, look at market rate reviews to see where the discrepancies are and plan a hierarchy of priorities etc if/when resources allow. Has anyone else had experience of dealing with similar resistance and how to get around it?


I have some experience here, however I believe the more important question is to go back to the purpose of the D&I survey.

I would suggest that splitting the D&I survey apart from a Comp & Ben survey would give you an opportunity to get clearer results on both surveys. From the work I have done in charity and NFP organisations, the general salary question is more effectively balanced with the organisational purpose. People tend to “give” a little more in their effort rather than seek financial rewards.

If however there is a parity gap between your org and other similar orgs, then you may have to open that up and better understand how to close the gap or offer more intangible benefits. Hope that helps.

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I agree with Mark - starting by checking the parity gap is crucial in this discussion. If you can honestly say to staff that their pay rate is in the same range (especially at the top of the range!) for similar organizations makes easier for mission-fit people to commit. In the NPO I work for, we have recently begun to be more transparent about pay ranges, and it does create some initial concerns but has smoothed over with time. Checking first that staff are being paid at a rate with parity to similar organizations, and communicating this internally, might be a better first step than a survey about it.

If it is a D&I survey then the purpose of the remuneration question(s) should be about assessing parity between genders, age, and perhaps with other similar organisations. You will need to consider exactly what the purpose of the question is and what you are trying to assess and word appropriately eg, Do you believe that personal factors such as gender, age or ethnicity affects how employees are remunerated?
If the survey is an engagement survey, asking people if they are happy with their remuneration will usually result in poor results. Better questions are: Do you believe that people are paid fairly for the work they do? or How do you believe your remuneration compares with similar roles in other organisations (significantly better, slightly better, similar etc).

Thanks all for the helpful answers. I’m using a D & I questionnaire developed by Culture Amp rather than prepping our own but I will check the wording on the section on remuneration and look at whether a parity comparison with other organisations has been done or not as I agree that is a key issue to understand.

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