Difference Makers Series: The care opportunity with Megan Rapinoe

March 8, 2023

Megan Rapinoe,  Chief Equality Officer of Trusaic and captain of the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team.

Episode details

Megan Rapinoe is the captain of the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion. On March 2, she was named in TIME’s 2023 Women of the Year list of extraordinary leaders working toward a more equal world. In this episode, Megan joins Unum leave expert Ellen McCann for a frank and lively discussion on pay equity, inclusive leave policies and other ways employers can demonstrate care for employees facing challenging times.

  • The call to "be more." After the national team's second World Cup victory in 2019, Rapinoe challenged everyone to "step outside of yourself, be more, be better, be bigger than you've ever been before." Applying this to the HR context, she said it is a charge to make an impact on your organization and on the lives of your employees. [02:46]

  • The rise of the care opportunity. Employee needs and demands for support from their employers are growing and are key drivers of attraction and retention. According to Ellen, leave is critical in this equation: "Companies focus so much on employees at work. What about those times when our employees can't come to work?" Paid leave is one way employers can support employees' whole selves, not just their work selves. Paid leave has a positive ripple effect across the entire economy and helps lower-wage workers most of all. [07:33]

  • The importance of inclusive policies. Employers show caring by implementing leave and benefit policies that are inclusive and equitable, addressing the needs of all caregivers and relationships, not just parents and children. [11:19]

  • Pay equity as a signal of caring. Equitable pay shows employees that employers care about them as individuals. For companies to focus on pay equity, senior leaders must truly care about the issue, set the tone for the organization and take concrete action, not symbolic steps. Having diverse leadership is critical as well. Trusaic, where Megan is Chief Equality Officer, provides a tool for ensuring companies meet their ongoing pay equity goals. [12:18]

  • Pay equity as a driver of attraction and retention. In a still tight labor market, employees have new power to negotiate pay. The pay equity fight won by the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team has had far-reaching effects on the environment worldwide, and women are more aware than ever of what they deserve and what they require. [19:32]

  • Steps to an effective pay-equity program. Think through where your company has been and where it wants to go, identifying areas where it is still falling short and why. Apologize for mistakes in the past. Make pay equity an authentic priority and act to fulfill your promises. According to Megan, trust and equity make for happier workers, a better company and a healthier bottom line. [23:39]

  • The importance of the employee experience. Caring and inclusiveness extend to the experience employees have while accessing the benefits you provide. Recognize that not all employees want the same experience. For example, while many employees are happy with an all-digital experience, many still want hard copies and interpersonal interaction. That said, invest in technology that demonstrates care. For example, Unum ensures quick payment of benefits by connecting with Zelle, which can deliver payments with 24 hours. [29:18]

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Megan Rapinoe headshot

Megan Rapinoe

Chief Equality Officer, Trusaic

Megan Rapinoe is a difference maker on a global scale. She is the captain of the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team, an Olympic gold medalist, and a two-time World Cup champion, renowned for her activism. In February 2022, after a lengthy legal battle led by Rapinoe, the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team reached a historic equal pay agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation, which included $22 million in back pay for the players and the promise of equal pay going forward. Today, Megan Rapinoe is Chief Equality Officer for Trusaic — a leading workplace equity company focused on advancing social good by solving HR's most complex challenges across people, data and analytics.

Ellen McCann headshot

Ellen McCann

Assistant Vice President, Leave Solutions, Unum Group

Ellen McCann serves as a leading expert in applying benefits and benefits technology to power modern solutions to more effective employee leave programs, stronger regulatory compliance and enhanced digital HR transformation. In this role, she combines more than 30 years of employment law experience with practical knowledge of the complexities of leave and accommodation management to help develop and create solutions that enable employers to address the challenges of leave and accommodations. She is an acclaimed national speaker on leave management issues including FMLA and ADA, and is a certified trainer for SHRM and CE credit.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Content Marketing Manager, Unum

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who's spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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