How to nurture equality in the workplace

It’s 2017 and we live in a post-gender society, right? Sadly, that isn’t true.

How to nurture equality in the workplace Women are still severely underrepresented in the workplace throughout every level of the corporate pipeline, particularly in senior positions. Women make up just 19 per cent of C-Suite level positions and for every 100 women promoted there are 130 male counterparts.

That being said, diversity in the workplace is a growing issue which businesses, governments and people alike are recognising as something we need to stamp out.

In terms of workplace culture changes, the responsibility sits equally with employees and employers, irrelevant to their gender. All should understand the mutual culpability. By understanding each other’s obligation, you can build up the tools to check yourself and your colleagues.

How exactly can everyone contribute to their workplace and help create a fair and diverse environment driven by equity?

Make equality part of your mission

Business often drives societal change and undoubtedly has the capacity to do so. Behind those businesses, it’s people driving a message, be that from the bottom up or top down.

Introducing this way of thinking in your everyday life is really simple. It’s about being an ambassador for injustice. If you witness a woman being talked over during a meeting, politely raising the issue (be that immediately or consequently) with the person doing it is justified. This is in no way about belittling the person in question, but about respectfully being a voice for something. This can be achieved through actions like this, small and every day, or it could be a systematic pattern of behaviour you’re noticing. Don’t sit quietly and expect anyone else to act. Be the voice of what you believe.

Mason Frank advises: “Conversation can eliminate ignorance. Whatever your professional platform, share insights on the changes in the industry by promoting positive change that you have seen happening.”

Make equality your company culture

Company culture falls as much on the shoulders of an employee as it does a boss. As a business owner or manager, you’re instilling conduct and ways of thinking. As an employee, you’re really walking the walk and celebrating what your company stands for.

Positive company culture can take form in a huge variety of ways which can be completely unique to the way you operate.

Supporting working parents, creating opportunities for promotions for all, being transparent in pay, and having a bulletproof policy for complaints and grievances are just some of the things you can explore.

Take note of others driving change

These professionals give their tips on how businesses promote a fair workplace and inclusive company culture:

Karen McCandless, Senior Content Analyst at GetApp:

“Nurturing equality in the workplace begins with the recruiting process. Bias – often unconscious – can easily creep in, whether that be in the form of gender, age, ethnicity, or even cognitive styles and personality. While this is a hard problem to completely eradicate, using anonymous, skills-based assessments and algorithms instead of CVs can reduce the touch points at which this could happen.”

Richard Acreman, Partner at WM:

“We have always valued an inclusive and diverse working culture.  We find that having this diversity creates a deeper pool of life experiences, values, and perspectives to draw from and allows us to be more creative and understanding in our work.  It also creates a more fun atmosphere with a higher retention rate as people are less likely to feel like they don’t fit in with the team.

“We retain this mix by actively participating in community events (for example women in tech) and ensuring we interview from a broad pool, focusing on aptitude and growing our employees from the ground up.”

Alessandra Sollberger, Founder & CEO at Evermore:

“A big thing I’ve noticed is that women negotiate on salary much less than men do. I think it’s important for companies to have an objective framework to assess that, so you don’t end up having great employees who negotiate less being disadvantaged. It also creates transparency and clarity on the objectives to achieve.”

Be an ally

In summary, diversity in the workplace is attainable if everyone works towards it. By keeping the conversion active and putting in neutral and fair company policies, we’re taking strides towards a better working culture for all.

About the author

Maria Baranowska is a freelance writer who specialiszes in business, technology and recruitment. After working as a responsible marketer for more than five years, Maria now translates that experience into actionable advice and thought-provoking analysis.

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