The third step toward pay transparency is a cost/benefit analysis. How much time and money are you actually going to commit throughout the year to giving employees what they are asking for: "A better understanding of what fair pay is for their position and skill."
Oddly enough, in this case your cost/benefit analysis should start with costs. Yes, that breaks the rules because you are starting out without a defined goal, but I've got a good reason for this recommendation. In my experience people usually set their initial communications goals so high that they quickly become disappointed because they can't pull them off, given the time and money involved.
There's no need -- and there's little benefit -- to finding out that full-blown open-book management is unrealistic for your company. On the other hand, there's a lot to be gained by getting everyone excited about having more information and insight into their compensation. Better to begin by deciding how much time and money you are willing to commit, which will enable you to define the level of change you can realistically pull off.
Keep in mind as you sort this out that we're talking about not only HR's time and money, but also every executives' and managers'. Every step you take toward pay transparency is going to involve managers and be led by executives.
For example, suppose your initial goal is to help employees understand how their salary range has been determined and why it is competitive. Employees will need to have centralized access to information so they can trust that everyone is being given the same information. Executives and managers will need to become subject matter experts who can conduct technically correct discussions with employees throughout the year. (After all, they will need to support your choice of salary data without quibbling.)
To pull this off effectively, employees, managers and executives will need explanations of midpoints, surveys, etc. which can be made available online. Most important will be the one-on-one discussions that occur throughout the year, though, so manager training and FAQs will be needed.
Think your employees already understand how their salary range has been determined and so on? Time for a reality check. What clues have you gotten from employees about whether they believe they're being paid fairly for their position and skill? Transparency also means you're making your best effort to be not only open, but also understood, so that your decisions are supported.
Odds are, you still have a ways to go -- so what's the best investment from your employees' perspective?
Everything you do in compensation is communication, so why not do everything better? The popular ebook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication @ https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunicationbelongs on your summer reading list. Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to create this DIY guide to compensation leadership. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, communications and leadership to topics like the CEO Pay Ratio and performance management discussions at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, Margaret was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson.