We have all heard for years how women and men experience life differently. Recently, the discussion has shifted more toward how women and men experience their working lives. With workplace gender disparity still hovering at 30%, companies are trying to combat this number with everything they've got.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported that "just 45% think their company is doing the work that is necessary to achieve gender parity. Even fewer report ever having witnessed a manager challenging gender-based language or behavior, or a leader being held accountable for making—or not making—diverse hires."
So, what can you do to inspire more visibility through your organization to encourage an equal playing field?
1. Develop strong job scorecards and a path of progress for developing employees
Giving your employees role clarity is the first step in ensuring their success. Show them their path of development for their career at your organization
According to the WSJ, "The McKinsey and Lean In researchers found, for example, that while both men and women recognize that face time with leaders and informal feedback are important to getting ahead, men get more such feedback and more chances to interact with top leadership." Coach them on their path to success. If they feel that they have not progressed at a fast enough rate, be open to feedback and work with them.
2. Be flexible with your workforce
It's sad to say in 2017, maternity leave and childcare duties still negatively impact a woman's place in the workforce. "The imbalance at home often starts during maternity leave, when women who take on a greater share of home and family duties continue with those same tasks after returning to work. The balance improves when both partners take parental leave, says Karen Rubin, Talking Talent’s managing director for North America." - WSJ
Work with fathers and mothers during their transition periods, both into paternity/maternity care and back into the workforce. Establishing a stable maternity system now will pay dividends in the long run of your company.
3. Allow employees to grow and learn at their pace
At Rhythm Systems, we are fervent believers in think rhythms and keeping smart. We encourage each of our employees to learn continuously be it through certifications, reading, or taking classes. Think rhythms are also important to our organization; they allow employees time to sit down and think strategically.
You can't promote gender equality without thinking about how you are going to train and coach your future leaders!
4. Measure, Measure, Measure!
It's all good and well to talk about how much you want to have equality in your organization, but you have to work for it if you want it!
Using dashboards, you can look at your team over your quarter and year to see who is performing and who is not. You can look for potential promotions and assignments. According to the WSJ, "When doling out assignments that could accelerate a career, HR leaders urge managers to ask a simple question: 'Why not?' If managers are considering two men for a stretch assignment during a merger integration, Ms. Grabowski says, they are urged to ask, 'Why not a woman?' and to discuss specific candidates."
Closing the gap on gender equality will pay dividends for you in the long run. We all want an equal world for us and our children, and it's up to leaders to make it happen!
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