An action plan for gender diversity

Gender diversity has transcended from being a nice-to-have initiative to a boardroom essential. Inclusive workspaces have been linked to higher productivity, better talent acquisition, greater retention, and salary satisfaction. (Check out our previous blog to know more).

Still, many companies struggle to demonstrate progress in this space. Like any other business transformation initiative, gender diversity is a program to be implemented across teams, hierarchies, and departments with clear steps and key performance indicators. Here are some tips on building a gender diverse workplace:

  1. Set a diversity goal

Establishing the right goal is the first and most important step. Chalk out a diversity goal that is measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example: ‘to increase the proportion of women employees in our organization by 35% this year’. Twitter did something similar in 2016 and today, is one of the top gender-diverse companies. The goal should also include a list of relevant activities for short-term successes and long-term outcomes. This way, you can measure the efficacy of the program in achieving the desired numbers.   

  1. Use data to identify roadblocks and find solutions

Challenges are an opportunity to address pain-points and find ways to create truly inclusive workplaces. Begin by capturing data of the hurdles faced. Brainstorm solutions with the team, implement them, and track their effectiveness. Some examples of effective solutions for promoting gender diversity include having fixed pay ranges by position, flexible working policies, diverse interview panels, and visible role models. 

  1. Track performance, recognize achievements, and ensure accountability

A transparent and regular tracking system shows how you are progressing towards your goal. Moreover, it encourages accountability across the organization when the data is made public. Aligning these accomplishments with individual performance metrics, promotions, or salary hikes is one way to incentivize adoption. You can also publish achievements regularly or even gamify the initiative to create enthusiasm and a sense of competition. This will not only motivate teams to achieve goals faster but evangelize the success and benefits beyond individual departments.

  1. Make gender-diversity part of the corporate culture

It is easy to assume that gender diversity is an HR mandate since it begins with hiring. But we all have a role to play in it. For instance, senior leadership can drive the change by instituting policies that promote gender equality in the boardroom and across the organization. HR strategy can be tweaked to enable fair hiring and flexible work options for women. Learning and development teams can create communication programs about the importance of inclusion, mutual respect, and tolerance. Managers can help meet gender-diversity targets within their own teams and ensure fair appraisals and promotions. And finally, at the grassroots level, each of us as employees can partake in these initiatives and create room for diversity in our interactions with colleagues.

Today, many leaders are taking on the mantle of influencers, stalwarts, and role models for gender-diversity. And we can all do our bit by following their example and being part of the change to make gender diversity a core value of our work culture.

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