Today, workplaces are more open to offering career opportunities for women on par with men. However, many systemic roadblocks persist, and women remain underrepresented in the workplace.
Despite efforts by organizations to make gender diversity a priority – through strong advocacy by the leadership, the setting of aggressive gender diversity targets, and insistence on gender diversity in leadership positions – the results have been sub-par.
What is Gender Diversity in the Workplace?
Ordinarily, the term refers to the equal representation of men and women in the workplace. However, in its broader meaning, it also includes individuals of non-binary genders.
Gender diversity, when used as an inclusive term, includes gender identities beyond the binary framework of male and female. Increasingly, for gender-sensitive individuals, the binary framework for gender feels restrictive. Many individuals choose to change from one gender to the other. Some others prefer not to have any gender identity.
Why Ensure Gender Diversity in the Workplace?
Gender diversity in the workplace is not just a trend that needs to be followed. Gender diversity is important because it improves the business’s financial performance.
A Gallup study of over 800 business units in the retail and hospitality sectors found that in the retail business, the more gender-diverse business units had, on average, 14% higher revenue than the less-diverse business units. In the hospitality industry, gender-diverse business units had a 19% higher average quarterly net profit.
Gender diversity in the workplace-
- Enables the business to serve a more diverse customer base, boosting revenue and profits.
- Brings in varied viewpoints, improving problem-solving, and enabling superior business performance.
- Enhances the quality of life in the workplace, reducing turnover and improving retention.
Benefits of Gender Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in age, ethnicity, and race goes a long way. Organizations strive to increase the representation of a diverse mix of people in their workforce. The benefits of gender diversity include-
- Reduce Bias: Hiring a particular group increases their direct representation, thereby improving their say in decision-making and reducing the biasness. For instance, hiring women reduces the bias against employing women and enriches the teams.
- Varied perspectives: Different genders have different life experiences. They react differently to situations at work and approach problem-solving differently. Such diversity in thought enables the organization to arrive at the most optimal solutions to problems.
- Improves communication: Empirical evidence indicates that mixed teams are more accommodating – allowing participation by everyone during team conversations. This promotes greater sharing of knowledge and skills within the team.
- Comprehensive Talent Pool: Promoting gender diversity expands the talent pool size from which organizations can pick their employees. By picking a diverse workforce consisting of male, female, transgender, and non-binary employees, the talent funnel is widened, and the benefits of choosing from a broad talent pool are maximized.
Ensure Gender Diversity at Your Workplace
- More scope of innovation: A diverse team of individuals with varied educational, gender, and racial backgrounds brings varied approaches and fresh perspectives to problem-solving. Such diversity boosts creativity and facilitates the design of innovative solutions to problems.
- Enhanced productivity: Gender-neutral workplaces are cohesive and therefore are more productive. When top talent drawn from a diverse talent pool works together, they feed off each other’s skills raising overall productivity.
- Flexibility: A diverse team and inclusive company culture make everyone feel welcome, and everyone is provided with equal opportunities to advance. When the organization levels the field for everyone, despite the differences – it promotes flexibility and improves employees’ experience.
- Reliable Workforce: Individuals with different skill sets working together create a mutually enriching work environment and are motivated to learn from each other, raising team productivity, quality of work, and overall organizational performance – enhancing the reliability of the workforce.
- Content Employees: Engaged and motivated teams are happier and more content in their work and work environment. Motivated teams positively impact other teams in the organization, improve employee engagement, and help raise overall organizational morale.
- Improved Quality of Life: Diversity enhances employees’ quality of life by creating a safe and inclusive workplace. As a result, employees are more engaged and productive at work.
How to Ensure Gender Diversity in Your Workplace?
The Global Gender Report 2020 highlighted that gender diversity positively impacts an economy’s chances of success. This finding was supported by a McKinsey report which found that removing the gender gap helps add $12 trillion to $28 trillion to the global GDP.
Building gender-diverse teams enhance engagement, boosts productivity, and improves organizational work culture. To ensure gender diversity at your workplace-
Cast a Diversified Talent Pool
Proactively source a workforce by casting a wider net to build a diverse workforce. This can be done by accessing sourcing platforms meant for underrepresented groups.
Take extra effort to source individuals who are gender-diverse. This can be done by logging in to sourcing platforms for underrepresented gender groups. Such actions enable the building up of a gender-diverse workplace.
Also, look for people who, for example, list their membership in LGBTQ organizations in the profile. Such measures add up and help you cast a wider net for a gender-diverse workplace.
Remove Gender-Coded Words From JDs
Write gender-neutral job descriptions without gender-coded words. This encourages talented pool to apply for the listed jobs, widening the organization’s talent pool and helping boost gender equality.
Eliminating gender bias from the language used in the job description (JD) is the most basic step in building a gender-diverse workplace. In the job description, do not merely list all the qualifications sought in a candidate.
Instead, build job descriptions outlining the performance-based impact being targeted. Emphasize what the person is required to accomplish in the role. The language in the JD should communicate inclusivity.
Set a Diverse Group of Interviewers
Working in a diverse workplace is important for many individuals. A diverse interview panel with members drawn from all genders indicates an inclusive workplace – attracting the best talent. When facing a diverse interview panel, underrepresented groups will feel more comfortable and motivated to work for the organization.
Rework Your Pay & Benefits Program
A US department of labor study found that for every dollar men earned, women earned only 82 cents. To hire the best men and women, their terms of compensation must be fair.
To hire top talent, the terms of compensation need to be fair and equitable. The compensation policy should lay down the performance parameters for individuals to earn promotions and salary raises.
The factors used to define compensation levels must include length and quality of experience, skills, education, and record of past performance. Such transparent policies and practices will help eliminate the gender-based pay gap.
Provide Your Team with Unconscious-Bias Training
Ordinarily, everyone carries some unconscious biases. Identifying and eliminating these biases is essential for building a diverse workplace. For example, an unconscious bias created by a first impression may persist through the interview process and negatively impact a candidate. To prevent the negative impacts of biases, hiring teams should be trained to recognize them and base hiring decisions purely on a set of fair criteria.
Build an Inclusive Workplace
For building a gender-diverse workplace, it is important to build an inclusive culture. Infact, one of the important habits for inclusion inclusive working environment is welcoming to people of different genders. Inclusive workplaces enhance the firms’ corporate brand and reputation with an overall positive impact on the organization.
Learn from Your Exit Interviews
Preparation and planning can help overcome the challenges of building gender-diverse teams. Use exit interviews to identify the reasons for employees leaving the organization. This information can be used to eliminate those causes and increase employee retention
The greatest benefit of gender diversity is its compelling business case. Although significant progress has been made in improving gender representation, overall progress still leaves a lot to be desired.
Building and sustaining a diverse workforce is not a one-time effort. It is an ongoing process and requires the strong and sustained backing of the organization’s executive team.
The growth of remote work poses a risk to inclusion. It carries the risk of reinforcing existing exclusionary attitudes and biases. The organization’s leaders must be alive to these risks and eliminate non-inclusive practices as soon as they are observed.