The Plunkett Pay Equity Framework Step 1 – Mandate Pay Equity

Written by Heather Bussing

May 28, 2022

The Plunkett Pay Equity Framework Step 1 – Mandate Pay Equity

Pay equity is getting renewed focus due to cultural commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some states are enacting pay transparency laws and laws that prohibit employers from asking about past compensation in interviews.

Assessing and improving pay equity has also become easier as tech companies have developed tools to help organizations understand pay practices internally and in the market. It's now possible to assess pay equity in your organization, identify potential issues and have the information you need to address any gaps.

At, improving pay equity is fundamental to getting pay right. Senior leaders, Kent Plunkett, Carol Ferrari, and Chris Fusco have developed a modern definition of pay equity and a comprehensive framework for evaluating pay equity. In this series, we take you through the steps of the Plunkett Pay Equity Framework.

Defining Modern Pay Equity

Traditionally, pay equity has been defined as equal pay for comparable work. While accurate, any effective analysis of pay equity requires a comprehensive solution that reflects what’s happening inside and outside your organization and promotes thoughtful discourse on why people are paid what they are paid.

With that in mind, we define pay equity as equal pay for comparable jobs that is internally equitable, externally competitive, and transparently communicated.

This holistic view of pay equity shifts compensation analysis from pure market pricing to a broader equity approach that is sustainable, fair, and designed for business success.

Step 1: Secure Leadership Mandate for Pay Equity

The Plunkett Pay Equity Framework is a continuous pay equity analysis approach to compensation management, with a six-step benchmarking and employee communication process.

The first step is to Mandate Pay Equity. This requires more than a nod or an approval. It's a commitment to an equitable pay philosophy.

Throw out the old way of thinking based on market pricing alone and where pay falls relative to the market. Adopt a more comprehensive pay equity philosophy instead, one that addresses both internal equity and external competitiveness as well as transparent communication.

Your pay philosophy should:

  • State that pay equity is mandated by both your leadership team and board of directors.
  • Communicate that your leadership team is working continuously to ensure a balance between external competitiveness and internal equity.
  • Explain the “how and why” behind employee pay and create a framework for consistency that helps you attract, retain, and motivate employees.
  • Outline your organization’s commitment to transparent communication and encourage conversations about pay between employees and managers.

You also need the right resources, which includes people and budget.

Start with a pay equity audit by a compensation expert to set the baseline and identify potential gaps.

Then, because pay equity is based on comparing people's compensation and work, it can change every time an employee is hired or leaves. You need someone to continually monitor pay equity. This is often done with attorneys who can advise the organization on risks and strategy while protecting the confidentiality of the process.

None of this can happen without senior leadership's understanding and commitment to a fair and competitive pay equity philosophy and the resources to create and maintain equitable pay practices.

Ready to become a pay equity leader? Learn about our pay equity solutions and schedule a free demo.

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about the author
Heather Bussing is a California employment lawyer and analyst in the HRTech industry. She writes regularly at and loves helping organizations prevent problems and build more human friendly workplaces. She also loves photography and posts a landscape every morning on twitter @heatherbussing.

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