Empowering women in the workplace
Gender equality has been a hot topic this year, especially since the revealing of gender pay gap reports. A recent study by McKinsey on Women in the Workplace found that men and women’s thoughts differed significantly when it comes diversity in the workplace, with women believing that improvements still need to be made.
In fact, the study showed that 37% of women thought that their gender affected their chances of a promotion or raise compared to just 8% of men. So, how can we put faith in women and other minority groups to progress and build a career that matches their real potential?
To fully understand the concept, we first need to be educated about it. That’s why diversity training sessions can be a good way to get people talking about diversity in the workplace. Tech giant, Dell, has recently implemented a mandatory training programme known as MARK, which helps managers identify their unconscious biases and how they can affect minority groups.
Whilst it is the responsibility of HR to introduce and ensure diversity practices amongst employees, it’s important that diversity is recognised at the c-level as well. Johnson and Johnson, for example, employ a Chief Diversity Officer who reports directly to the CEO and Chairman of the company, meaning that the whole operation is overseen by top-level management. Having executive-level involvement shows that companies are taking diversity seriously and as a result, their employees will feel more valued.
Beyond the regulatory framework, it is fundamental to give all employees the means to build the career they deserve. To help with this, professional networks can be set up for employees to exchange feedback and be inspired by their colleagues. Networking meetings can also be a great way to hear from others about diversity in the workplace and pinpoint where the hurdles are.
Another avenue to explore is to encourage women who want to "break the glass ceiling" to demand training modules focused on life skills (management, leadership, speaking in public), which will contribute to their improved confidence.
The question of diversity isn’t just women's affairs, it can concern anyone within the company. Being sure to value the skills of your employees and hear their concerns is beneficial for everyone.