Women’s Equality Day: How Zions Monitors Gender Pay Equity
A national observance is a time to reflect on Zions Bank’s efforts to combat the wage gap.
August 26 marks Women’s Equality Day, when the U.S. commemorates the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment, prohibiting states and the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex.
In the 99 years since the passage of the amendment, not only has the government expanded protections for women’s equality, the business environment has likewise evolved to bolster more equity for women.
Zions Bank’s Senior Vice President and Diversity officer Neelam Chand believes the national observance is a time to reflect on equality in the workplace. “The right to vote was a springboard for women to more fully participate in society. Over time, as more women entered the workforce, industries have had to address equality — including wage gaps — and enhance growth and leadership opportunities for women to stay competitive,” she says.
Zions Bank and Zions Bancorporation have several standard processes in place to help ensure employees are paid appropriately for their hard work and performance.
“Our goal is to be the premier employer of choice,” says Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson. “It is personally satisfying to me to know that we are doing our very best to pay all employees fairly and equitably within their roles with the company.”
He takes salary equity seriously in part because he made a pledge to do so.
"My vision for Women’s Equality at Zions is ultimately the same vision I have for all of our employees. We have made extraordinary strides in creating a workplace that is respectful and inclusive of everyone, particularly women. My vision is that we continue to build upon the strong foundation that has already exists so that we can all be the fullest expression of our best selves at work; supporting our bank, our families, and our communities."
A champion for equality in the business community
Tired of negative news coverage about wage gaps for women in Utah and Idaho, Anderson would not settle for bleak state rankings. He convened business, civic and academic leaders to work together to combat the trends.
He asked former state senator Pat Jones to be the CEO of a new organization launched in 2015 dedicated to enhancing opportunities for women in Utah — the Women’s Leadership Institute. Founded with initial funding from Zions Bank, the organization is housed in the the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.
To launch the new organization, the Women’s Leadership Institute developed a seven-point commitment called the ElevateHER Challenge that outlines ways organizations can bolster women’s leadership in the state. At an event in the spring of 2015, dozens of business and civic leaders — including Anderson and Zions Bancorporation Chairman and CEO Harris Simmons and Utah Governor Gary Herbert — formally accepted the ElevateHER Challenge. To date, nearly 250 companies have committed to bolster women through the public pledge.
Among the ElevateHER Challenge commitments Anderson made was to “Monitor pay by gender and close identified gaps.”
"My vision and hope for the extraordinary female colleagues in our bank is that they continue to fill prominent roles of leadership and influence throughout the organization. My commitment is that women, in Zions Bank, be recognized as company and industry experts and top contributors."
How Zions Bank closes pay gaps
Zions Bank’s Human Resources Department monitors pay equity among employees across the company every six months, analyzing potential disparities in pay based on gender, minority status, and other factors. The HR Department provides executive vice presidents with reports that show salaries among employees in each division and makes recommendations for adjustments if needed. In conducting this analysis, job-related considerations are taken into account. Specifically, pay disparities due to varied education levels, industry experience, performance or tenure with Zions Bank are considered appropriate.
When the company identifies a disparity in pay that cannot be accounted for in these specific considerations, the Human Resources team works with leaders to discuss and correct the inequities appropriately. These actions help us reward people fairly regardless of gender or ethnicity and substantially limit the likelihood of unfair treatment based on gender or ethnicity.
"Women’s Equality at work is a journey that starts with hearing women, progresses to providing women equal opportunities to succeed, and culminates in women being rewarded and recognized with the same frequency, methods, and magnitude as men. Zions committed to progressing on this path long ago and understands that the more diverse and inclusive our employee base is, the greater strategic advantage our company will have as an employer of choice. Onward!"
Additionally, Zions Bancorporation’s Corporate Compensation team regularly participates in several industry-specific market surveys to help guide their decisions related to annual merit increases. These merit increases are intended to maintain equity in our local market and in the financial services industry.
The company tests and evaluates pay differences with a goal of rewarding all employees fairly by providing equal pay for equal work.
While non-discriminatory pay systems are a legal requirement, they are, perhaps more importantly, a good management practice. By evaluating compensation data on a regular basis, the organization can attract the best employees, reduce staff turnover, increase commitment and reduce absenteeism.
"Zions Bancorp has a dynamic and experienced team of women in ALL levels of leadership. My vision is that we continue to build a community that celebrates and embraces diverse perspectives amongst men and women; and that we recognize all individuals equally for their commitment to our organization and our customers."
Supporting Women Throughout the Business Community
In addition to Zions Bank’s support of the Women’s Leadership Institute, Zions Bank also provided seed funding for the creation of a similar organization, called Idaho Women in Leadership. The organization’s events and programs demonstrate how men and women can work together to positively impact companies’ bottom lines.
Through its ties to groups like Utah Women’s Leadership Institute and Idaho Women in Leadership, Zions Bank is driving positive change — not just within the bank, but the entire geography where it operates and across various industries.
By building relationships with nonprofit groups, chambers of commerce, and industry organizations such as Utah, Idaho and American Bankers Associations, Zions Bank is using its business leadership to strengthen equality beyond its own organization. This includes the sharing of ideas and building alliances, creating a compounder effect within its markets.
Heidi Prokop is Communications manager for Zions Bank.