The Role of Payroll in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Positive Change

Payroll, as we know, is a core function within an organization, ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time. However, payroll professionals also play an important and holistic role in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within their organizations. This article will explore the role of payroll in DEI and provide strategies for positive change.

What are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Diversity refers to the range of characteristics that make individuals unique, such as race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and age. Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds. Inclusion involves creating a work environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and able to contribute to the organization’s success.

What strategies can your payroll team initiate to generate positive change?

1. Conduct a Pay Equity Analysis

Pay equity is a critical component of DEI, and payroll professionals can play a key role in ensuring that employees are paid fairly. Conducting a pay equity analysis involves comparing the compensation of employees performing similar work and ensuring that there are no disparities based on gender, race, ethnicity, or any other protected class. It would also be advised to look externally at companies with a similar profile in your sector to do some comparative analysis and see how you are positioned for equality when positioned against them.

2. Review Benefits and Leave Policies

Payroll professionals can review benefits and leave policies to ensure that they are inclusive and meet the needs of all employees. For example, offering family leave for all employees regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation is a step towards inclusivity. An organisation should be aspiring to meet the standard benefits and leave offerings and then develop them with some immediate and projected amends that align with the values and the growth objectives of the company.

3. Encourage Diversity in Recruitment and Hiring

We have discussed in previous blogs, the importance of collaboration between Payroll and HR, and here are more examples of how it can benefit the organisation. Payroll professionals can work with the HR department to encourage diversity in recruitment and hiring. They can help ensure that job postings are inclusive and that hiring managers consider a diverse pool of candidates. Additionally, they can work to eliminate bias in the hiring process, such as by removing names and other identifying information from resumes.

4. Provide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training

Payroll professionals can work with the HR department to provide diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all employees. This can include education on unconscious bias, microaggressions, and other DEI-related topics. By providing this training, employees can gain a better understanding of DEI issues and learn how to be more inclusive in the workplace.

5. Partner with Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that provide a platform for employees to connect and engage with others who share similar backgrounds or experiences. Payroll professionals can partner with ERGs to better understand the unique needs of their members and work to ensure that their pay and benefits are equitable.


Payroll professionals play a critical role in supporting DEI initiatives within their organizations. By ensuring pay equity, reviewing benefits and leave policies, encouraging diversity in recruitment and hiring, providing DEI training, and partnering with ERGs, payroll professionals can help create a more inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued and respected. By working together, organizations can create positive change and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

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