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Why Transparency is a Form of Currency with Lexi Clarke, CPO, Payscale

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this and it won’t be the last: your employees are your most valuable asset.

And while organizations have different approaches to building and maintaining a positive company culture, there are some essential components to enhance employee engagement and drive productivity and performance. 

Lexi Clarke, CPO, Payscale joins the LEARN podcast to explore why practicing transparency, investing in employees, and promoting leadership development are cornerstones for organizational success.

Compensation and transparency are a journey, not a destination

Transparency is a crucial pillar of any compensation strategy, and it’s helpful for employees to understand both their current salary range and potential for growth within the organization. But transparency extends far beyond compliance and legal requirements. 

“Compensation and transparency are a journey, not a destination,” Lexi says. “This means you constantly have to be thinking about and revisiting the different ways in which you are not transparent or the things that, as an HR professional, you might think, ‘well, everybody just kind of logically knows that.’ Transparency can be a form of currency with your employees within your organization.”

Transparency is critical to building trust with employees, but maintaining this level of openness can be challenging. 

Lexi shares some of the ways her team promotes compensation transparency:

  • Sharing salary ranges on job postings, regardless of location
  • Every employee gets a full compensation statement that shows them where they are within their range and what they can expect in terms of growth
  • The HR team shares the market percentiles and location benchmarks

For Lexi, transparency means not just sharing the information employees want to hear but being honest about decisions and processes to foster employee trust.

“Transparency goes a long way into building trust with your employees and with the organization,” she says. “I think no matter how large or small your organization is, that is so critical.”

Remote-first means reinvesting in employees

Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to work from home, organizations are still wrestling with the decision to go back in the office or maintain a remote-first workforce. 

For Payscale, the team realized that a remote-first structure offered a tremendous opportunity to reinvest money previously spent on real estate and technology into employee development and support. 

But shifting to remote-first didn’t come without its share of questions and growing pains.

“We had to pivot all of our people practices and all of those pieces,” Lexi says. “At the end of Q1, we rolled out employee and manager guidebooks. Strategies and guides to what it means to be remote first, what to expect from us in a remote-first environment, and for managers, how to manage a team in a remote environment.

“‘How do I bring people together? What do I need to do? How do I get budget approval?’ Some of those tactical pieces. And then, we started to build metrics around it. So, we just finished our engagement survey. We built a whole remote work and enablement section. ‘Do you feel well set up?’ We rolled out a stipend that folks could use for anything from, ‘Hey, I need a printer to, I would love a walking pad under my desk because I’d like to walk during my meetings during the day.'”

Some ways Payscale reinvests in employees and shifts priorities for remote success:

  • Providing unlimited access to co-working spaces
  • Creating employee and manager guidebooks to outline remote-first strategies and set clear expectations
  • Offering employee stipends

Lexi stresses that employee feedback is a crucial piece of a remote-first strategy, to determine what’s working and what needs to be changed to maintain morale and a high-performance culture.

Doubling down on leadership development

Effective leaders inspire, guide, and mobilize teams, driving innovation, productivity, and engagement. Investing in leadership development cultivates capable leaders and prepares teams to navigate challenges. 

Lexi shares why investing in leadership development is so important and impactful and her plans for offering additional development opportunities for her team members.

“I could always invest more in leadership development,” she says. “I think there’s so many facets, and it’s so important. I think more skills-based training for our employees thinking about bettering themselves within their role. We’re thinking about cross-functional movement. ‘How do I become good at X? So I can move to X role and promote continued internal mobility.’ That’s the next one that I’ve got my eyes on.”

By empowering leaders with the skills and adaptability necessary to tackle complex problems and inspire teams, organizations set the stage for sustained growth and competitive advantage.

Check out the full episode for more insights from Lexi. Subscribe to the LEARN podcast on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube so you never miss your chance to learn from the top leaders in SaaS. 

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