Management

How to Boost Diversity and Gender Equality in the Workplace

In today’s society, more and more company leadership from C-suite executives to hiring managers are looking to improve diversity and gender equality in the workplace. Managers, executives, and employees are interested in embracing diversity at their place of business.

However, progress toward greater gender and racial equality has been slow in the corporate world, especially when it comes to reaching positions of power. To truly make an effective change in the business world, experts advise making this a bigger issue for the company’s board. In this article, we discuss the following for improving diversity and gender equality in the workplace.

 
 

The Importance of Engaging the Company Board

According to Alexandra Ossolo’s article in Quartz at Work, it is essential to engage the company board in order to boost diversity and gender equality in the workplace. Since the board is at the top of a company’s structure, the professionals at the top can wield the most power.

“The CEO reports to the board. If the tone at the top isn’t being set by the board, more likely than not it’s not being set further down, and you won’t have the same message or delivery of what the company is about. The board has to be engaged,” Keith Meyer, a consultant at Allegis Partners and president of the Directors Academy, told the news source.

Creating a culture in favor of diversity should be an essential part of the work for the board. The board is in charge of developing leadership strategies to foster diversity gains in both long term and short term ways. Meyer explains that the executives on the board are responsible for understanding and spreading the values that their company stands for.

There are important factors that board executives need to consider including social and governance elements as well as how to hire and attract diverse and high quality talent. It also matters the background of the people who sit on the board. More women and people of color sitting on a board could impact gender equality in the workplace along with racial equality.

Usually, about 11 members are part of a company board. In small and medium-sized private companies, the chief executive officer elects who sits on the board while publicly held businesses have shareholders elect board members. Every board member will need to have specific expertise that can help boost leadership and innovation within a company.

For instance, companies working within the healthcare industry would benefit from having medical doctors and health insurance experts sitting on their board. However, if you’re looking to have a diverse staff and greater gender equality in the workplace, you’ll need to have truly honest and progressive individuals sitting on the board.

 

“You have to have people who are willing to raise things that are uncomfortable,” Maryam Banikarim, the former chief marketing officer at Hyatt International, told the news source. “I think strong leaders hire people that aren’t going to just agree with them. You need people who are willing to speak the truth even if it’s uncomfortable.”

Why Board Members Need to be Outspoken

Banikarim mentioned that it is difficult for people to be outspoken in the workplace. For example, employees may be afraid that their employer would take punitive action if they speak out against certain company issues. However, board members tend to be at the top of the company and would risk very little if they speak out more.

Yet, there is no need to be confrontational. It’s beneficial for board members to discuss the type of policies that would add to diversity and gender equality in the workplace. As part of their job, board members need to articulate these policies to CEOs and other decision-makers on the board. It is vital for progressive board members to be more outspoken in order to truly move the needle on diversifying their staff as well as hiring and promoting women throughout a company.

One of the best ways to get more diversity throughout a company is to promote women and people of color to become board members. This will, hopefully, lead to more outspoken people in favor of increasing diversity and gender equality in the workplace.

Research still shows that only small numbers of women and people of color hold positions of power on the board. A 2018 report from Deloitte found that women held 22.5 percent of board seats among Fortune 500 companies while people of color held 16.1 percent of the same positions. Nonetheless, more company leaders today are looking to gain equal representation at their place of business.

“Almost every board today has a strong focus on becoming more diverse—on diversity of thought, on bringing all the right voices together around the table. That is a huge change, and it’s happening,” Meyer explained.

In addition, governments are also making an impact on diversifying companies and executive boardrooms. For example, recently, the state of California passed a law mandating public companies headquartered in their state to have at least one woman on the board by the end of 2019.

 

Additionally, the law requires five-member boards to have at least two women by the end of 2021 and a minimum of three women for boards with six or more people. Otherwise, the company will be fined. With more diversification at the top, greater equality and representation will spread throughout a company. Below are some key strategies for improving gender equality in the workplace.

Factors that Increase Gender Equality in the Workplace

If you are working to boost gender and racial representation at your place of business, the McKinsey report Women Matter discusses 10 attributes from 16 global company leaders that enhances gender equality and inclusivity. These 10 factors are outlined below.

  • Policies are unorthodox and consider the needs of all.
  • Diverse leadership styles are embraced and used company-wide.
  • Every employee has the power to shape the future of the company.
  • The organization has a multicultural and multiracial staff.
  • Processes and day-to-day delegated tasks are fair and meritocratic.
  • The work environment is not hierarchical while being caring and safe for employees.
  • Women are respected and their voice is heard.
  • Sufficient work-life balance is provided and ability to work off-site is allowed.
  • Global connectivity via technology is embraced while boosting flexibility and agility.
  • Creative and inventive employees of a younger generation are recruited and promoted throughout a company.
 

There are countless reasons why promoting diversity in the workplace will benefit your company. You’ll find that with greater representation of various ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds, you’ll see a wider range of talent at your organization. Additionally, studies have found diversity improves efficiency and productivity across a company.

There are three more ways to promote racial and gender equality in the workplace. These are: (1) establishing task forces to battle discrimination and promote diversity, (2) develop diverse policies such as flexible hours and on-site childcare, and (3) incorporating diversity when recruiting and promoting employees.

 

By following these tips, you’ll get much closer to promoting diversity and women throughout your company. It is also essential to fight gender discrimination within the workplace.

Steps to Take to Fight Gender Discrimination in the Corporate World

Statistics show that sexism at work is a prevalent issue. For instance, women make up only 4 percent of S&P 500’s CEOs and women still make only 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes. Even among recent college graduates, women make $7,600 less than men on average during their first year of work after graduation.

In order to fight gender discrimination in the corporate world, it is vital to find out a number of factors. Do women have the ability to move up and gain promotions at your place of business? Is there enough work-life balance to help women handle being a parent while holding down a full-time job? Could a four-day work week be useful for your organization in order to improve the work-life balance? Are there women leaders within the company?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you foster a conversation with hiring managers to create policies and actions surrounding gender equality in the workplace. Next, you’ll want to involve your team to discuss issues of inequality. Then, gather data, statistics, and solutions from other organizations to give your claim more validity. This will boost your chance of making a change at your company.

In addition, if there is any sexual harassment taking place, be sure to report it. This will be good for all women working at the company – present and future. By removing misogyny and harassment, a more equal work environment can be created.

Lastly, to get more wage equality, women need to prove their worth to their employers. More women describing their achievements, skills, and commitment will lead to higher wages across the board. This will boost the careers of women and create more gender equality in the workplace.

 

Lastly, to improve collaboration across your company, it is beneficial to incorporate project management software. This will help improve communication for employees from all backgrounds.

Project Management Software Boosts Collaboration within a Diverse Staff

In order to promote communication and collaboration among a diverse staff, it is beneficial to utilize project management software such as the Runrun.it tool to delegate tasks, upload assignments, leave comments, and request revisions. The Runrun.it collaboration tool will keep your team motivated as they strive to remain productive and meet deadlines.

The workflow will become more streamlined at your company with the help of project management software and your communication will be more transparent. To see if Runrun.it software is right for your team, click here for a free trial.

gender equality in the workplace

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