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Equal Pay for Equal Results

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 20/10/2015 Laura Mather
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Hearing Anne-Marie Slaughter speak at Fortune's Most Powerful Women last week was nothing short of exhilarating. I've long been a fan of Slaughter's approach to changing strategies for greater equality, focusing not on changing attitudes or rallying working women to try harder, but on changing policies and systems.
At the Fortune event Slaughter, summarized some of the critical aspects of her new book, Unfinished Business. As the New York Times Book Review said, the highlight of Slaughter's work is when she recommends policy change for serious impact. Specifically, Slaughter highlights how policy can establish the infrastructure of care for families that our country lacks (for example, high-quality and affordable child care and elder care, and paid family and medical leave) and in her endnotes she provides links to important advancements happening in each of these areas. One area she highlights, however, lacks a policy recommendation: the right to request part-time or flexible work.
Slaughter reinforced the importance of replacing a "face-time" work culture with a results-oriented workforce. Firms that facilitate flexible work see higher engagement, productivity and retention rates--not to mention better returns and greater pay equality for men and women. As architected by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) is one in which superiors manage the work instead of managing the people. The result: more satisfied, more productive, and longer retained employees.
What if we were to pass laws that say there should be equal pay for equal results? What if workers could be assured that as long as they delivered the results specified they would be paid, regardless of how, where, or when they got to those results?
Obviously, it is not simple to implement a policy like this, but I think moving in this direction would get rid of the face-time requirement that is holding our employees (and our companies) back, and move us toward a society that values results over everything else.
In both of my startups I have implemented results-oriented workplaces. The biggest concern people have is that by losing face time the group will lose a lot of the productivity that comes from working together. At my company we address this in two ways: first, we all agree on one day a week that we get together face-to-face, and knowing this time is planned is liberating to my employees. When there are non-urgent items that need to be addressed by the team, they're added to the list for our next in-person session, and we address these agenda items in a concentrated, highly productive session where everyone knows they need to focus.
The second way we address the lack of face time is through technology. We spend a lot of time on video conferencing and the team is constantly communicating through real-time collaboration tools. This results-oriented mentality has worked exceptionally well for my companies and teams, and has created a flexible workplace where people can choose where and when they work.

An example of policy that can help move the equality needle is California's signing of the Fair Pay Act, the strongest equal pay law to date, which will take effect January 1, 2016. Still, I can't help but wonder: if we were to implement policies around equal pay for equal results, could we help move more organizations in that direction?
It's time that we, as a country, take the steps to find out.

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