WIM Special: Adobe’s Donna Morris On Achieving Pay Parity

WIM Special: Adobe’s Donna Morris On Achieving Pay Parity
SHARE
THIS



Donna Morris, Adobe’s EVP of customer and employee experience, is not afraid to make bold statements. And what’s more, once she’s made them, she’s made a habit of evolving the statement of intent to reality.

In 2012, after a particularly gruelling flight to India, Morris was feeling frustrated with annual performance reviews. The process was so complex, bureaucratic, and paperwork-heavy that it ate up thousands of hours of managers’ time. It also created barriers to teamwork and innovation, since the experience of being rated and stack-ranked for compensation left many employees feeling undervalued and uninspired.

Even though she hadn’t yet discussed the idea with Adobe’s CEO, her peers on the leadership team, or her own team, she announced, “We plan to abolish the performance review format.” Her revelation made the front page of the Economic Times of India, and a major disruption was underway. She headed back to the US determined to catalyse change and help create something better for Adobe employees and the company as a whole.

Morris and her team solicited feedback from all across the company, and after months of work and many iterations, Adobe introduced Check-in, an informal, ongoing dialogue between managers and their direct reports that has employees feeling more engaged and empowered.

So when she says that by the end of 2018, Adobe will have pay parity in every country it operates in you tend to believe her.

In this instance, pay parity isn’t to be confused with closing the gender pay gap, that’s a far more complex and involved process. However pay parity, is an absolutely commendable and necessary step on the way to achieving that goal.

Morris is lucky in that she’s already achieved an enormous portion of the goal of pay parity: 80% of Adobe’s workforce can tick the parity box. That’s because its two biggest countries of operation, the US and India, have both achieved parity.

“I just don’t know how you drive innovation if you don’t have a diverse and inclusive workforce. That’s one. Second, if you look at your customers, your customers are just as likely to be male as they are female. Third, how can people think it’s fair to pay people differently based on a characteristic,” Morris asks.

“In the US, we’ve also declared that people of colour, and from non-white backgrounds, there’s no pay differential,” she adds, acknowledging diversity and inclusion goes well beyond gender.

The trick, says Morris, is to pick your battles. There are so many factors that go into the pay gap problem – from career paths to hiring practices to career opportunity – that it can seem a bit overwhelming to solve. However pay parity was far more achievable, but not something you could do as quickly as Morris could say it.

Now, on the cusp of realising her new goal, Morris has laid bear her strategy and tactics so others can follow suit.

Many of Adobe’s customers and partners, working on their own pay parity initiatives, have asked Adobe how it does it. So, in the spirit of making progress, Adobe has made public the three steps its implemented to reach pay parity.

Define jobs

Before a company can compare individuals’ pay, it needs to be sure that the comparisons being made are appropriate. For Adobe, that means ensuring employees are matched to the appropriate job families and levels that best reflect the work they actually do. For some companies, this rigour might already be in place; but Adobe had historically taken a very broad approach to its job structure.

As a result, it was difficult to compare pay when individuals performing different jobs and requiring different skills and capabilities were grouped in the same job family. For example, it had no job distinction across marketing managers, regardless of whether they focused on brand marketing, search engine optimisation or event management.

Recognising this was a barrier to performing an accurate review of its employees’ pay, Adobe embarked on an exercise called “job architecture.” This project entailed a review of the job families Adobe was currently using to determine whether they accurately reflected the roles and responsibilities employees were performing.

As a result of this project, it introduced many new job families and employees were classified into jobs families and levels that better represented their actual work and scope.

It was a long and painstaking process, but this foundation was essential to making appropriate comparisons, both internally and with external market data.

Review and adjust

Once Adobe had the appropriate job families in place, and employees were aligned to the job families and levels that best represented their scope and responsibilities, it reviewed pay across its job structure in the US and India.

Adobe made individual pay adjustments as needed, and fortunately, there weren’t that many. As you can expect, these pay adjustments were greeted as a pleasant surprise.

While it has now addressed 80% of our employee population, the remaining 20% is spread across more than 30 countries.

That presents different challenges relative to its review, which Adobe is working through now.

Maintain over time

Achieving pay parity at a point in time is important, but you also need processes to maintain it, especially as you continue to grow and hire.

The most dramatic change Adobe has made to ensure ongoing parity is eliminating the practice of asking candidates for their salary histories.

This adds some extra complexity in its recruiting process, but it is the only reliable way of ensuring that it doesn’t carry over inequities that may have existed in prior companies.

In addition, Adobe is exploring tools that the recruiting teams can leverage to help assist with offers being made and provide indicators if the offer will create a pay parity issue. It regularly monitors to ensure that pay stays equitable through annual salary increases and other shifts in the business.

Pay parity is never truly done – it’s an ongoing state of balance. It is continuing to learn, especially as we embark on the global stage of our journey.  In the spirit of Equal Pay Day, we hope that sharing our approach might help others who are also tackling this important challenge.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Adobe Donna Morris Pay Parity

Latest News

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing

me&u, Australia’s first and leading mobile ordering and payment platform, has appointed Clementine Churchill as Head of Marketing as they continue to drive rapid growth and expansion in Australia and new international markets. A highly experienced marketing leader and recognised industry thought leader, Churchill joins me&u from My Muscle Chef, one of Australia’s top rated […]

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy
  • Marketing

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy

MILO is on the search for Australia’s best made MILO, calling on fans to share their creations for the chance to win #TheMILOCup, via Ogilvy Sydney. This integrated campaign follows on from the success of last year’s ‘Hot v Cold’ campaign, which encouraged Aussies to settle the debate on whether MILO is best enjoyed hot […]

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes

New research from Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, has found that LGBTQ+ representation in ANZ remains low and stereotypical. It’s 2021 – this needs to change – especially in marketing and advertising. In partnership with GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation, Getty Images has launched a full-spectrum Guidebook in direct response to […]

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR
  • Media

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR

Natural historian Sir David Attenborough is one of the most commanding and respected storytellers in the world and now the iconic series, David Attenborough Life Stories, is available on LiSTNR as part of SCA’s recently announced partnership with the BBC. David Attenborough Life Stories is a series of talks on the natural histories of creatures and […]

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions
  • Media

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions

Menulog has doubled down on its marketing support for restaurant partners, with the promotion of Senior Marketing Manager, Rami Tamer, to a newly created role of ‘Head of Partner Marketing’, as well as the promotion of former-Blue 449 Performance Manager, Jaryd Buggins. In the new Head of Partner Marketing role, Rami will lead a team […]

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst
  • Media

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst

ARN has announced Barry Drinkwater will be handing over his content director reins at 97.3FM and 4KQ to respected radio executive, Alisson Longhurst. Drinkwater has had a stellar career in radio spanning more than four decades, and was acknowledged as one of Australia’s Top 20 Content Directors by Radio Today in 2020. He began his radio career […]

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive
  • Media

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive

The Australian commercial radio industry has joined a global working group of broadcasters, carmakers and tech experts collaborating on the innovation of radio in Android Automotive. Android Automotive is Google’s infotainment operating system which is being built into new connected cars. Industry body Commercial Radio Australia is part of the working group, led by the […]

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health
  • Media

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health

For the third consecutive year, Triple M’s No Talk Day will return on Thursday July 1 to raise awareness around men’s mental health and encourage courageous conversations on Triple M’s 45 stations across the country with support from partner Beyond Blue.  From 6:00am – 6:00pm on July 1, Triple M is encouraging listeners to clear […]

Businessman using tablet payments online shopping with speed icons customer and data network connection on virtual screen.
  • Marketing

62% Of Shoppers Doing Most Of Their Purchases Online: BigCommerce And PayPal Report

Consumer shifts in how and where people buy products evolved significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new opportunities for retailers to use new channels, fulfilment strategies and payment options, according to the results of a new survey out today from BigCommerce and PayPal. While a majority of the 3,000 consumers surveyed from the United States, United Kingdom […]

New Talent Agency, Liquorice Plants Roots In NZ
  • Marketing
  • Media

New Talent Agency, Liquorice Plants Roots In NZ

The brainchild of co-founders Gina Williams-Folau (main photo) and Greer Bland, the talent agency Liquorice was born out of a desire to make things easier for brand managers. Liquorice offers social talent for brands wanting to hit the sweet spot with Kiwi audiences. Launching with a roster of big names on board including Millie Elder-Holmes, Athena […]