A culture of fairness and support is behind a workforce-wide commitment to pay equality at school wear supplier One and All. Founded in 1935, the certified B Corp has been employee-owned since 2015 and currently has 67 colleagues.
During the pandemic, the business asked everyone with a salary of £30,000 plus to volunteer for a reduction in pay to help lower-paid colleagues. All of them did, and that reduction, which ranged from 10% to 50%, supported a top-up to furlough which protected the lower paid and most vulnerable, allowing them to stay home and stay safe during lockdown.
Nicola Ryan, colleague support director, says: “Some organisations might be surprised by the willingness of the higher paid to take a pay cut. However our culture is one of support, togetherness and fairness. Where there are issues with pay and reward, it always starts with the leaders, and I’m disappointed when leaders claim they can’t pay a fair salary to their colleagues and yet aren’t prepared to look at their own pay and reward structure.”
A number of measures are in place to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) at One and All and avoid possible pay gaps, from running sessions with colleagues on belonging, to celebrating calendar events that are important for inclusivity, such as Pride and International Women’s Day. Proactively listening to colleagues’ stories has also been key to understanding the direct experiences of individuals from different backgrounds.
“We can’t act on peoples’ behalf without fully understanding their experiences and individual challenges,” says Ryan. “All of this needs to be supported by data monitoring and a review on pay and pay levels. Reward banding based on skill and contribution supports fair pay, while a fair profit share and customer satisfaction incentives ensure that people are rewarded fairly.”