I am sure we would all agree how important Inclusion & Diversity is for businesses today, and those embracing this change will have access to a much more diverse workforce that those that don’t.
In our own market, the Energy Leaders Coalition working in conjunction with POWERful Women are leading by example. This group are 14 leading CEOs from the UK’s energy sector who have joined together to improve gender diversity across their businesses and in the sector as a whole. They recognise there is a rich pool of talented women who can make a significant contribution to the growth of their business. This can also add and to the transformation of the UK’s energy sector. And you can find out more about what they are doing here:
But what can the rest of us do to push gender diversity in our businesses, get rid of old-fashioned culture and embrace change?
Make Diversity a strategic goal.
While organisations might claim diversity is a priority for them, many fall short. To attract more female candidates, this has to change. Diversity must become a strategic hiring goal, supported from the very top of an organization.
It’s really important to assess and audit the current state of diversity in your workplace. A really useful exercise would be to conduct a survey to collect employee feedback on gender issues, which will help with monitoring and benchmarking change.
Set Achievable goals
Once you know where your organisation currently stands on gender, set achievable goals and annual internal targets to increase your numbers of female hires. Make ALL opportunities visual to everyone in your organisation.
Provide Training for your leadership team
Make sure they understand the impact unconscious bias can have on business decisions.
Set up Mentoring programmes and support networks
Empower existing female employees who in turn will encourage others.
Focus on middle management
To build a pipeline of women that can be supported to gain promotion in the longer term and become Executives of the future.
Encourage engagement with external organisations promoting diversity.
Review your Family friendly policies and benefits.
For example – what about your maternity and paternity policies – how could they be improved? Perhaps a gradual return to work for a new mum might be really helpful? What about Flexible working and a better work : life balance for those with families – could you offer Part-time / term-time working / job shares?
Provide training to your HR team
So that you remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process:
- Ensure neutral language and imagery in adverts
- Review the minimum requirements on your role profiles to expand the pool of available talent
- Include women on recruitment shortlists
- Structured interviews to ensure fairness
- Recruit returners after career breaks from having children
- Offer structured performance appraisals and promotion systems that force managers to analyse and justify their decisions based on performance alone to ensure unconscious bias is eliminated
Shout about what you are doing on your external websites and careers pages. Emphasise you are committed to promoting I&D in your business – this will encourage more female applicants.
By having a clear and transparent I&D strategy will deliver the best outcomes for the well-being of your whole team, and will encourage everyone to reach their full potential.