USWNT WINS: Lessons on Human Resources

Congratulations to the United States Women’s National Team on their 4th World Cup title!

As we know all too well, it’s indisputable that the US Women’s National Team is underpaid when compared to the US Men’s National Team. Here are some HR lesson’s learned from the US Soccer Federation’s response to equal pay demands.

 6 HR Lessons to Learn from the US Soccer Federation

1.     Pay people equally.

2.     Expect that people will compare how much they make. It’s illegal to tell employees that they can’t share salary information and naive to think that they don’t.

3.     Be transparent about how you make salary decisions. Sure, there is no “one size fits all” approach to salaries because people come with complex experiences that may mean they get paid more or less than the person sitting next to them (many of which are based in systematic oppression). But, you need to be able to prove your methodology for settling on a number. Merit based? Great, make sure that it’s consistent for the entire staff.

4.     Don’t get sued by your best performing and best-known employees over and over. It doesn’t look good and creates an extremely negative workplace culture.

5.     When there is a wide-spread public smear campaign targeted at your organization because you are grossly underpaying your highest performers based on their sex, you should go into crisis communications mode and address the concerns, not act like it’s not happening. This may work for the short term, but I promise that you won’t fair well.

6.     Recognize a gift horse when you see it. If you have a team of people who are internationally recognized as the best at what they do—you ride that wave all the way through. Invest deeply in them as people and a team, keep them happy and run a deep and comprehensive marketing campaign. This is why you have reserves! You get to live deeply into your mission (which includes being “recognized for…gender equality”) AND pad your bank account. Who wouldn’t want that?


My advice: Ride the wave. Pay them equally. This is your opportunity to really put soccer on the map in America.