Start with this question. – DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR WORKPLACE GENDER EQUALITY?
You would have had to be living under a rock not to have International Women’s Day stories coming at you for the past week. (ADAPTOVATE included.) That’s a good thing. While ADAPTOVATE support equality every day, we all need a push or a reminder every now and then. We could do better.
Even as the content was produced within our own company – it worked as a reminder as to why we were doing it. The behind the scenes content creation was as important to all of us, as the sharing of the content to our social channels. It started conversation, it reminded us to pause and reflect on our own work practices.
If similar discussions or thinking have happened for you in the past week – there may be some observations that your gender equality is perhaps not where it should be. You may want to do better , but not sure where to start. Of course, it needs to be authentic. Ticking boxes just doesn’t cut it. However small steps will get you closer than you are now.
ADMIT THE PROBLEM
Mark Barber, a project lead in Australia says “Firstly, admit the problem exists. It is much easier to move forward if we are aligned on the problem of gender inequality and how it impacts culture and engagement.
“Once you have this, you can bring people together to solve the problem as a whole organisation, rather than attempting to fix with top down change, or waiting for bottom up organic change to have an impact.” Mark says.
So can we suggest this. Start today. Start this week.
Through our own experience and observation working with our global clients, we wanted to share with you what we’ve learned.
As consultants in Agile methodology – and introducing new ways of working – we are essentially a fly on the wall in many different organisations and cultures – we are in the somewhat privileged position of seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Starting at the home front – ADAPTOVATE. We heard from our co-founder Paul McNamara:
“Gender equality starts at the front of an organisation. In recruiting, I sponsor ADAPTOVATE recruiting team and am passionate about trying to make sure we attract a diverse set of candidates.” Paul says.
“This involves changing how we review resumes, score candidates in interviews, have discussions on how people went, etc. we need to have good challenging discussions to ensure our unconscious biases are not influencing our decisions.” He explained.
So here they are:
7 things your organization can do now to accelerate gender equality in the work place.
HIRE PART TIME – RETURN TO WORKFORCE MUMS
“Don’t be afraid to hire part time working mums!” says Mina Guris, a senior consultant in Australia. “We do here at ADAPTOVATE and it’s working brilliantly. We have experienced project leads, consultants, and support team members all delivering amazing work.”
Importantly, you need to have the right support structure’s in place. Everything from a strong parental leave programme to personal leave opportunities, to flexible working opportunities, work from home encouragement.
As the recruiter Greg Tadman (a HR director at PageGroup) says “Companies that offer programs and initiatives that help support their female workforce also experience a large number of other benefits, such as increased employee loyalty, higher engagement, attraction and retention of high calibre female employees. By extending these programs, particularly flexible working arrangements, to all workers, companies can further support families and by extension women in the workforce.”
CREATE A WORKPLACE WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY
Nate Stickney – as senior consultant in Singapore says “As coaches, our job is to ensure every voice that has something to say is heard.”
He explains “This means thinking carefully about how we structure our work for inclusiveness, forming relationships that help create psychological safety, and helping individuals grow and emerge as leaders.”
In fact Google, believe that psychological safety is the number 1 dynamic needed that sets successful teams apart from others. They say “Individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.”
Ray Freeman, a senior consultant in the US says “To accelerate gender equality in the workplace, organizations should place a high value on organizational culture — Create a focus on self-awareness and build environments of psychological safety.
Some organizations are oblivious to the negative impacts of gender inequality. Raising consciousness is paramount accelerating progress.” Ray suggests.
Simmy Li – our Chief Talent Scout for ADAPTOVATE globally believes Potty Parity is an important consideration. The Guardian recently wrote “In a survey, 59% of women say they regularly stand in line for the loo, compared with 11% of men – the result of gender bias in architecture and design, plus a dose of prejudice and taboo”
We’re not kidding. Potty Parity may be a trivialised nickname, however it’s an important issue. It’s an important discussion, and one leaders don’t like to have. It’s awkward. But to spell it out simply, women have more obstacles, more clothes, more doors to open and close. Than men.
Potty Parity is essentially ensuring equal wait times for both men and women in public toilet lines. The most obvious answer being to have more women’s toilets.
The potty parity movement began in LA and it’s now thirty years since legislation was introduced to guarantee the state’s women’s more toilets in public areas. (like theatres, business, schools).
There is a strong argument too, for more gender-neutral restrooms in your business. Read a thoughtful piece about that here.
GENDER EQUITY – CLOSE THE PAY GAP.
It seems a bit obvious – however it’s still one thing we see come up regularly with our clients. The unequal pay levels for the same role, different gender. It should go without saying – however – Pay those doing the same job the same amount regardless of their gender.
Start today. Do an audit of your immediate team and check the numbers. Roll it out. Start a conversation with your HR department.
MEASURE YOUR EQUALITY
According to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study, companies understand well that disruption is creating the burning platform for advancing their diversity and inclusion agenda.
M Anthony Librizzi, a Project Lead in our US office for ADAPTOVATE says “It has long been recognized that diversity drives culture, innovation and morale toward achieving business outcomes.
“Yet, a measly 12% of companies measure pay and promotion inequalities between men and women. Of these companies, only 4% deploy modeling techniques to acutely address this gap. This proves there is a big opportunity for companies to use workforce analytics to accelerate gender equality.” Anthony explains.
Using workforce anayltics force companies to mitigate long term affects of pay inequalities and resolve the increasing risk for women to experience post retirement poverty and financial insecurity.
Mark Barber said earlier that admitting there is a problem is key. Next he believes is transparency . He says “make it known you are addressed gender equality and socialise the initiatives you are running to address it.
This opens the door for feedback and input from key stakeholders.
LOOK AT HOW YOU RECRUIT
For practical ways to address gender equality it helps to look at the problem with two lenses – firstly, what are we doing to make our team as gender diverse as possible, and secondly, what are we doing to promote an inclusive culture.
To improve diversity we need to look at our recruitment pipeline.
Are we making our processes as inclusive as possible? Mark asks “Are we removing as many biases as we can? Consider things like anonymising resumes to hide gender and iterating on job descriptions, such as making them less about technical skills and more about desired behaviours to encourage different people to apply. “
If you make your pipeline more diverse and your recruitment process more inclusive it will lead to a more gender balanced team.
Rachna Verma, a consultant in Australia agrees. She provides these quick tips you can do now:
- Employers should remove any questions on gender from job application forms.
- Employers should immediately remove any gender related pay grades and move to paying a grade a set amount regardless of gender
Finally we’ll leave you with this comment from Rachna.“As a woman, never be afraid to have a seat at the table at meetings. You should not be sitting on the outskirts of a meeting room. Be present, show up and be engaged.” Click To Tweet
The Editor would like to thank the amazing team members from ADAPTOVATE that contributed to this story: