Gender equality in the workplace continues to improve; however, we all must do more work to get there. The gender pay gap for women sits at 82 cents for every dollar a man makes, and 59% of women experience harassment in the workplace. Everything from career opportunities to general feelings of safety at work has room for improvement. How can your company push further in the right direction?
In many workplaces, gender equality shortcomings come from a lack of attention rather than outright malice. By making genuine commitments to your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, you’ll outpace many of your competitors who haven’t put the thought in or put their thinking into action. Beyond that, you’ll get a more engaged workforce.
With this blog, we’ll examine strategies that could improve gender diversity, equity, and inclusion at your company. Now is as good a time as any to take action and build a better workplace for your employees. Keep reading to learn how.
Why is gender equality important to your business?
First and foremost, gender equality at work is a moral imperative. People deserve to be treated and paid equitably regardless of their gender. However, improving gender equality is also a smart business move. Attracting and retaining high-end talent is easier for more diverse organizations.
One in three jobseekers won’t apply to a company with a non-diverse workforce. In addition, 81% of employees surveyed by Glassdoor said it was very important that their employer pays everyone equitably. DEI can be a powerful recruiting and retention tool. It opens up a broader talent pool, and if you commit to your initiatives internally, it creates an inclusive environment where people are more likely to stay.
Additionally, according to McKinsey, businesses with 30% or more of their executive roles filled by women outperform those with fewer or no women in leadership. Gender diversity drives innovation, revenue, and growth from the highest levels on down. Although many businesses shy away from their DEI work during an economic downturn, yours doesn’t need to follow suit. Rather, it would be advantageous and ethically prudent to steer further into gender equality in your workplace. Now let’s examine how.
Adjust your recruiting process
Of course, if a business wants to improve gender equality and diversity internally, it’ll have to start with recruiting. First, look at your job descriptions. Research has concluded that certain words in job descriptions lean more toward male applicants. So when you write your descriptions, consider passing them through a free tool like Gender Decoder. This will help you implement more gender-neutral language into your job ads.
Next, implement a skills-based assessment into your recruiting process. Instead of relying on past experience and college degrees to push people through your application process, focus on their skills. By shifting to a skills-based talent process, you’ll be 107% more likely to place talent effectively. Moreover, skills-based companies are 98% more likely to retain top talent and 79% more likely to have a positive workplace culture.
Another helpful tactic during the recruitment process is lengthening your shortlist of candidates. Harvard Business Review found that longer shortlists tend to improve the ratio of women to men in the hiring process. While this might make for a slightly longer process, it’s worth it in the long run.
Establish equitable pay policies and practices
As noted above, the gender pay gap has yet to close. However, your business can take steps to slam it shut by implementing pay policies and practices that improve gender equality. One such policy is pay transparency. Transparent pay requires your company to establish salary bands for your roles and, in doing so, cuts down on pay inequality internally.
Additionally, research has found that women are less likely to negotiate for raises or ask for promotions. However, if a top performer doesn’t get that raise or promotion from your company, they’ll find it elsewhere. So you have to build a culture that encourages everyone to grow and advocate for themselves and each other. It’s a lot cheaper to reward top performers than it is to replace them.
Focus on flexibility and work-life balance
Flexibility at work has been on the rise since the pandemic. Although many debate its impact across several areas, one thing is clear. Flexible work arrangements can improve gender equality and diversity in the workplace. The Women in the Workplace survey notes that more female leaders and young women prefer working in flexible environments. In fact, women are less likely to burn out and leave their job if their work is more flexible. Remote and hybrid options are critical for many other reasons.
One reason is parenting burdens. Pew Research found that employed American moms were more likely to face professional hurdles than dads. Often, women bear the brunt of child and family care, causing many to fall out of the workforce entirely during the pandemic. Flexible work helps here, but ideally, you could take things a step further.
Offering child and family care benefits significantly lightens the load on working mothers or caregivers. Balancing a full-time job with caregiving responsibilities is a significant burden, and many handle it admirably. However, if you want more productive workers and a more equitable workplace, child and family care benefits will give your employees more energy and peace of mind to deliver excellent results at work.
Crack down on workplace harassment
Harassment has no place at work, full stop. Yet, only 31% of non-inclusive behaviors like harassment are reported because 93% of women don’t trust their employer to do anything about it. In fact, the same amount of women worry that speaking up will impact their careers. Every business should establish a zero-tolerance policy on workplace harassment, but it should go beyond punitive measures. True gender equality requires a safe environment for women to speak up. Building trust with your employees and making them feel comfortable reporting bad behavior to HR or leadership is critical.
You can also target certain behaviors through unconscious bias or harassment training. Few employees are ecstatic about mandatory training, but this kind of educational process can make your workplace safer. Effective harassment training sheds light on behaviors that certain employees didn’t know were problematic or dangerous. Additionally, unconscious bias plays a role in internal mobility, so providing this training for managers and executives could improve opportunities for women in your business.
ADDA creates more equitable workplaces
Investing in DEI without an expert to guide your initiatives can lead to mixed results. However, if you work with ADDA, you’ll get a team of HR professionals who know how to improve gender equality in the workplace. So contact us today to put your place into action.