Nike gives raises to increase pay equity

More than 7,000 employees at Nike are going to see their check get a little bigger. The athletic-wear company has announced it will raise salaries for those employees and change the way it awards annual bonus to its staff. All of this is an attempt to better pay equity within the company.

READ: Pay gap In Asia – Women make less than Men

Earlier this year, Nike conducted an internal review of its pay practices. Based on the results, company leaders decided to award salary adjustments to about 10% of its workforce. The workers receiving the increase are made up of both men and women. It’s hoped the adjustments will help ensure equal pay across Nike’s global workforce and provide competitive compensation around the world.

In addition to the adjustments, the company says bonuses will now be based on company-wide performance. The previous structure awarded bonuses based on a combination of company, team and individual performances. The strategy goes into effect at the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year.

Stock-eligible employees will alsohave a choice as to how they'd prefer to receive annual stock awards: as stock options, restricted stock uses, or a mixture of both.

Nike isn’t the only company to make changes.

Within the last year, tech giant Google has reported spending $270,000 to close the wage gap for workers. The tech company reviewed 89% of its workforce and found pay differences for 228 employees. The remaining 11% of their workforce is made-up of vice presidents and above.

#MeToo Changes

The announcement is the latest in a series of changes the company has made in response to the #MeToo movement.

This past spring, a group of female employees at Nike circulated an informal survey that made clear the pay and advancement disparities experienced by women at the company. It led to the resignation of several male employees and a public apology from CEO Mark Parker for creating a corporate culture of exclusivity.

The company has also made some leadership changes bringing more women into the fold. Amy Montagne was appointed vice president and general manager of global categories and Kellie Leonard has been tapped as the new chief of diversity and inclusion.

The Impact on HR

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions has reported that upwards of 85% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Alarmingly, similar research shows women responded in the following ways:

  • 33% - 75% of respondents attempted to avoid the harasser
  • 54% - 73% denied or downplayed the gravity of the situation
  • 44% - 70% attempted to ignore, forget, or endured the behavior

That means most victims of harassment chose not to complain or confront the harasser. When it came to talking about the issue, most leaned on their family members or friends for support. Breaking it down further, only 30 % chose to discuss the situation with a supervisor, manager, or union representative. 70% chose not to talk about it with one of those individuals.

The study found most people chose to withhold the information about the harassment because they feared some form of retaliation. Other studies mentioned found victims often experienced “organizational indifference or trivialization of the harassment complaint as well as hostility and reprisals against the victim.”

In their report, the EEOC lays out a series of tasks meant to help mitigate and stop sexual harassment in the workplace.

First, change must start at the top. There must be clear leadership and commitment to “a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace in which harassment is simply not acceptable is paramount. And we heard that this leadership must come from the very top of the organization.” Leaders must “establish a sense of urgency about preventing harassment.”

Secondly, organizations must have a system in place to combat the issue and everyone must be held accountable under that system. It should include effective policies and procedures as well as effective training on those policies and procedures.

Third, leadership must back up its desire to prevent harassment with money and time. Employees must believe that their leaders are authentic in demanding a workplace free of harassment. Nothing speaks to that credibility more than what gets paid for in a budget and what gets scheduled on a calendar.

Even if HR professionals and companies come together to fix issues, the reality is culture is slow to change. There is no silver bullet that can fix everything, and it certainly won’t happen overnight. In the end, HR professionals and company leaders must work together to prevent sexual harassment. And when an allegation is made, they must take it seriously.