Empowering Managers

A Critical Step to PREP for Pay Transparency

PREP Blog Series: Promote | Refine | Empower | Pivot

We are at the forefront of navigating complex changes within our organizations. One of the most significant shifts in recent years is the move towards pay transparency. With legislation evolving and employee expectations rising, pay transparency is becoming not just a matter of compliance, but a critical component of building trust and engagement within our workforce. 

Empowering our managers is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of preparing for pay transparency. Managers play a pivotal role in this transition, and their empowerment can make or break the success of your pay transparency initiatives. 


The Role of Managers in Pay Transparency

Managers are the primary touchpoints for employees regarding compensation discussions. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey reported that 75% of employees indicated their direct manager is their primary source of information regarding their pay.

Direct managers are the ones who most frequently:

  • Communicate pay decisions
  • Provide context for pay structures
  • Address employee concerns and questions

Therefore, their understanding, confidence, and ability to communicate effectively about pay are crucial.

Why Empowering Managers Matters

1. Building Trust: Transparent communication from managers helps build trust. When employees see that their managers are knowledgeable and open about pay structures, it reduces suspicion and fosters a culture of trust.

2. Reducing Miscommunication: Pay is a sensitive topic, and miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings, dissatisfaction, and even attrition. Empowering managers with the right tools and information ensures that they can convey accurate and consistent messages about pay.

3. Enhancing Engagement: When managers can explain how pay decisions are made and how employees can progress, it enhances employee engagement. It makes employees feel valued and understood, which in turn boosts morale and productivity.

4. Legal Compliance: With new pay transparency laws being enacted, ensuring that managers are well-informed and equipped to handle these changes can safeguard your organization against potential legal issues.

Steps to Empower Managers

It is unrealistic that all Managers will be the same in their abilities and approach.  But to strengthen and empower your management team as a whole, we recommend investing in:

1. Education and Training

At a minimum, Managers should be trained on when to have pay conversations with employees, what to cover, how much they can say about how compensation is determined, and what questions or scenarios to pass to HR. This investment alone will put your organization ahead of the majority of companies.

2. Tools and Resources

To guide managers’ pay decisions and support effective communication around pay matters, HR can offer a variety of practical tools including:

3. Encouraging Two-Way Communication

Consider how you keep managers informed about changes in legislation and pay policies. Is your communication clear, compelling, and engaging? Are you addressing why managers should care about this topic? Are you clearly outlining expectations regarding the role individuals play in pay transparency and how you will hold them accountable?

Creating space for peer-to-peer discussions, where managers can discuss and share practices that have worked for them, you visibly support your managers and ensure learning is disseminated


Facilitating pay transparency is pivotal. However, HR cannot achieve this alone. Empowering our managers is not just beneficial—it is essential. By equipping managers with the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need, we can ensure a smoother transition to pay transparency, fostering a more transparent, trusting, and engaged workplace.

Let’s take proactive steps today to empower managers, paving the way for effective pay transparency.

Ready to take the next step? Our Compensation Solutions team specializes in providing the tailored training and resources your managers need to lead confidently in this new era of pay transparency. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help you empower your managers and transform your pay transparency efforts.

I champion stronger solutions through sharing of diverse of perspectives, experience, and expertise. To engage with me on Pay Transparency and The Modern Workforce or Effective Pay Practices, let’s keep talking.

Kathleen Jinkerson, VP HR & Total Rewards Solutions

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