By: Nathan Hutto, Chief Operating Officer; Jenny Rabinowich, Managing Director, People Operations; and Katelyn Reinert, Manager, People Operations at Last Mile Health
Salaries and benefits are some of the most tangible ways employers communicate value and worth to their employees.
However, equity, transparency, and accountability often take a backseat in organizational compensation strategies. Employers may keep pay practices secret and pay their employees inequitably. Employees often do not understand how their pay is set. And many job seekers do not know if their job offer is fair or competitive.
In these situations, the employer holds all of the information and power, while employees and job candidates hold very little. We want to change this.
These traditional pay practices erode trust between employers and employees. They reinforce structural inequalities related to gender, race, national origin, and ability. And in the social sector – particularly in the international development sector – traditional pay practices ignore our shared commitment to equity, fairness, and justice.
Today, Last Mile Health is proud to share our completely redesigned compensation model. In this new approach, we prioritize pay equity, transparency, and increased accountability.
While no compensation model is perfect, we believe the changes unveiled today represent important progress for Last Mile Health and the international development sector in general. By deepening our commitment to pay equity and transparency, we are attempting to democratize access to resources and information across Last Mile Health and beyond.
What are the specific ways this model improves compensation equity and transparency?
- We have made this model fully transparent, so that everyone has access to all information. The only thing private are Last Mile Health’s individual employee salaries. Please review our 990 form to see executive salaries.
- We have increased benefits, especially for employees in lower salary bands in our program countries. Specifically, we have increased overall program country benefits and have made almost all of them flat rate rather than a percentage of salary.
- We will place salary ranges in all job postings.
- We have eliminated salary negotiations, as research shows that salary negotiations disproportionately benefit employees who are white, male, and/or more senior in their careers, and that women and people of color are often penalized for negotiating their salaries.
- We have introduced an independent, internal committee that will review promotions and compensation data to ensure fairness and transparency. These data will be shared with our employees and the public in the coming months.
- We have met the principles and standards associated with Project Fair, an INGO collaborative that aims to help development organizations maximize their contributions to decent work, sustainable livelihood, and poverty eradication.
Why are we increasing transparency so much? Most employers worldwide keep compensation practices secret. Many reasons are used to justify this, but none withstand scrutiny if you are interested in advancing compensation equity. We have made transparency a key feature of our compensation model for several important reasons:
- Transparency increases equity by ensuring that all employees have equal access to information about all components of our compensation model.
- Transparency increases accountability to our employees, our donors, and the public. Employee pay and benefits are our largest expenditure and, as a philanthropically-funded and tax-exempt organization, we are duty-bound to be clear on how that money is spent.
- Transparency improves efficiency in recruitment. Candidates will no longer spend time applying for jobs that do not meet pay expectations. Hiring managers and our People Operations team will no longer interview candidates for whom our compensation is a barrier.
- Transparency will improve our sector’s pay practices. Other organizations can adopt ideas and practices from our compensation model that will advance equity in their organization. Or they can adopt the entire model!
- Transparency will foster an increased sense of trust among our employees and reassure them that they are being compensated fairly. We have seen early signals of this in recent employee engagement surveys.
You can learn more about our compensation model on our website, where you will find a detailed overview, frequently asked questions, country-specific resources, and a range of supplemental materials related to research and methodology.
If you are a current employee, we hope this helps you understand why you are compensated as you are. If you are a job candidate seeking employment at Last Mile Health, we hope this gives you a sense of our values and commitments to our employees. If you are a human resources professional, we hope you will take any ideas that you find valuable and use them in your own organization.
And if you are a leader in the social sector, we hope you will join us in advancing compensation equity and transparency everywhere.