- Nordstrom has reached 100% pay equity for employees of all genders and races, the department store announced Thursday. The store said this milestone means that it provides equal pay for comparable work, which it believes is "essential to creating an environment where every employee feels valued and respected." Nordstrom said it evaluated pay equity by looking at base salary and assessing whether employees with similar roles, levels of experience and performance were receiving equal pay for comparable work.
- "Paying our people fairly, regardless of gender or race, enables us to deliver on our commitment to an inclusive environment where we can all be ourselves, contribute ideas and do our best work. This is an area that we will continue to invest in and be vigilant on because equality and diversity makes us all stronger," said Christine Deputy, Nordstrom's CHRO, in a press release.
- Nordstrom also expressed a commitment to pay parity, which it defined as "a way to measure and report on gender representation at all levels of the company." It said it has nearly reached 100% pay parity for men and women, which is reflective of its "strong female representation across the company."
Conducting an analysis, such as the one Nordstrom undertook, is step one in efforts to achieve pay equity and to assess inequality or bias in an organization. Taking an objective look at available data can help companies address issues like pay equity head on. What is more challenging to diagnose and address is the role bias plays in the workplace and the ways in which it impacts culture and inclusion.
Bias can creep in at many levels of an organization. Nordstrom faced accusations of bias and race discrimination in 2018 after employees in a St. Louis Nordstrom Rack store allegedly followed three black teenage customers around the store, falsely accused them of stealing and called the police to confront them. Nordstrom Rack's CEO flew to St. Louis to personally apologize to the teenagers, but the incident drew criticism for the retailer's culture and the perceived bias of the staff involved in the incident. The retailer followed the incident up with an internal investigation to determine what additional efforts it should take.
Pay equity and parity won't mean much if a culture of discrimination is allowed to thrive. Bias isn't a new concept, Deborah Munster, executive director of Diversity Best Practices, told HR Dive's sister publication Retail Dive, but how employers approach the issue and how customers perceive discrimination cases like Nordstrom's has evolved. "For the first time you're seeing an intersection between politics, diversity, inclusion and the workplace — all three of those things are intersecting."
In addition to conducting pay audits to looks for gaps, HR pros might consider unconscious bias training or educating staff on the damage microaggressions can cause to bring more equality and inclusion to an organization.