This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BalanceforBetter – a balanced world is a better world. A more gender-balanced workforce will lead to better business, social and economic outcomes.
CM Talent are focused on helping our clients attract, retain and develop more gender-balanced teams.
In an ideal world this would equate to all teams having around 50% men : 50% women gender split to make the most of gender diversity benefits. In reality, benefits start to be gained once a tipping point of a third : two-thirds ratio has been reached. This is the thinking behind initiatives such as the 30% Club and the voluntary targets for Board membership set up by the government-backed Alexander-Hampton Review.
Leading UK organisations such as Diageo, Whitbread and GaxoSmithKline are hitting the 50% gender split at senior levels and they are definitely reaping the benefits of gender diversity in their business results.
We’d like to share some ideas as to practical steps leaders (regardless of the size of the organization) can do to create more gender-balanced organisations:
Review your gender balance
- Review the gender mix of your employees by function, department and/or team. Are there certain areas of your business that are predominantly filled with mostly men and mostly women? What are the reasons behind your current gender mix? Have these been due to historical occupational segregation – traditional jobs for men; jobs for women. What steps can you take to shift the balance?
- Review the gender mix of your employees by job level.What patterns emerge – is one particular gender occupying most of the lower status roles and another the more senior roles? Are there any particular patterns within the middle of the organisation?
- Review which gender gets promoted within your organization and at which levels. Review job changes over, say, the last 5 years – does this reveal anything to you in terms of shedding light on your success at creating gender balance?
- Review the gender pay gap for your business. (If you are a large employer (250+ employees) your organisation will have a legal obligation to publicly report these figures and so should be readily available. Drill into the detail and discover what conclusions can be gleaned from identifying who is getting paid the least and the most by gender as well as looking at the receipt of other financial and non-financial benefits.
- Review the trends in your wider industry or geography.What specific employment challenges is your organisation facing over the longer term and short term? What are the industry-wide statistics for gender representation and how can your organization lead the way with change – giving you a competitive advantage? What are your competitors doing?
Each of these reviews can take place across a whole organisation or part of it. If you are a senior leader, we highly recommend getting a handle on these factors for your areas of responsibility.
And then take action towards gaining better gender balance.
There is no one fix-it-all action to gain better balance – you will be better prioritizing a menu of different actions to influence the overall balance in multiple ways. We highly recommend starting with creating a vision for gender balance within your organisation, with gender diverse teams across each function and level. Over 99.9% of roles can be held by either gender, so challenge your own bias and unconscious prejudice along with those of your hiring managers.
Actions don’t need to be hugely expensive, time-consuming initiatives, but small every day actions that will help you to create a more gender inclusive organisational culture where results and progression are measured on merit rather than gender.
To discuss actions that are likely to have an impact on improving your workforce’s gender balance, get in touch. We have a range of services and solutions that help you to attract, retain and develop more gender-balanced teams. Helping you to take steps towards achieving your vision.
After all, time and time again research shows that teams that have reasonable levels of gender diversity, work well together and produce better business results.
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Read more about how to become a workplace gender diversity ambassador.