If you’re like many companies, you’re highly committed to gender diversity (and broader diversity in general). However, it goes beyond setting targets to holding leaders accountable for results. It requires closing gender gaps in hiring and promotions, especially early in the pipeline when women are most often overlooked. And it means taking bolder steps to create a respectful and inclusive culture so women – and all employees – feel safe and supported at work. Here are a few ideas on how to spark progress at your organization:
Interrupt the interrupters
Institute a “no interruptions” rule for everyone.
Did you know, women are talked over or interrupted three times more frequently than men?
This even applies to female Supreme Court justices in the US! And if/when someone does interrupt another person, cut them off: “Joe/Betty was speaking – let her finish his/her thought.”
Diversify the interviewers, not just the applicants
Ensure that not only the slate of candidates, but the interviewers are diverse. Why? A diversified panel enables you to cast a wider net at the beginning of the hiring process and systematically helps to reduce unconscious bias in your hiring practices.
Use amplification brag buddies
Research tells us that women’s ideas aren’t often heard – until they are repeated by a man who gets the credit.
What female staffers in the Obama Administration did was adopt a meeting strategy they called “amplification”: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.
It will benefit women, shy employees, and introverts alike, just like “interrupt the interrupters”.
Diversify your work groups
Adding women makes work groups more creative. Companies with female CFOs make fewer, better acquisitions than those with male CFOs. Firms with the most female board members outperform those with the least by almost every financial measure. Mixed groups can even solve a murder more accurately than single sex-groups.
Don’t assume – ask!
When a new opportunity comes up, don’t assume that because she has young kids or because (you fill in the blank), ask her.
Even if she declines, present the next opportunity, and the one after that. Make sure qualified women are in the mix, whether they put their hands up or not (and be prepared to twist a few arms!).
Men are far more likely than women to raise their hands for a bigger job, whether they are ready or not. Companies like Google have found qualified women often don’t nominate themselves.
Reward women & men equally
She’s ready for a raise, but she won’t ask for it.
Men are 4 times more likely to ask for a raise than women, and when women do ask, they typically request 30% less than men do (according to Carnegie Mellon University economics professor Linda Babcock).
So, take a look at your approach to rewarding employees – is it only when they ask?
Take a really good look at workplace culture and policies
Do they offer employees the flexibility to fit work into their lives? In the latest installment of Accenture’s “Getting to Equal” research 3 major factors were identified to support gender equity: bold leadership (e.g. an executive team who priorities gender equity as a business priority); comprehensive action (e.g. groups for men, groups for women, groups for men and women); and empowering environment where ALL employees have the freedom, flexibility, and trust to make decisions about how and where they do their work from
We understand that the topic of gender equity and inclusion can be difficult to navigate on your own. We’ve supported several organizations in addressing concerns and also maximizing on the business opportunities created through diversity and inclusion. We’re always happy to have a confidential chat and offer some guidance free of charge.
Reach out to us at HRsupport@stratfordmanagers.com.
We’ve been where you are. We can help you succeed.
About the author
Louise Reid, Human Resources Consultant
|Louise Reid is a passionate and accomplished HR leader, coach and facilitator. With over 18 years of Human Resources experience, Louise has broad industry experience in a variety of sectors – utilities, aviation, pharmaceuticals, and high tech.
She has lead the creation of an award-winning corporate diversity and inclusion plan, presents on a number of D&I topics, and remains an active member in local community
organizations focused on increasing diversity within our workforces. Using science, soul and positive psychology, Louise seek to enrich the lives of individuals, leaders, organizations and communities.