- Start with unconscious bias training and follow it with gender intelligence training – for all recruiters, senior managers, middle managers and junior managers. All these people will be involved in the recruitment and progression (and development) of staff so need to understand where bias can come in and what they personally can do to minimise it.
- Make an all out effort to appoint women to senior positions. This means encouraging women to apply, giving them an equal chance at interview and making internal promotion opportunities transparent. From lowest paid worker to first line supervisor, from supervisor to junior managers, from junior manager to middle manager, from middle manager to senior manager and from senior manager to the board. You need action to move women up at every single stage so start acting now!
- Check your pay scales and the reality of pay decisions in relation to starter salaries and also salary increases. Are women paid less? If so, why? Check how pay is awarded and eradicate biases that impact women’s ability to be fairly rewarded for their skill level and responsibilities.
- Take firm action with those managers or directors who are simply not on board with this. These dinosaurs are energy sappers and initiative destroyers and will cost you dear and you simply can’t afford to keep them around.
- Bring in gender balanced interview panels. Don’t over complicate things and if panels are not your style, then make sure both a man and woman are involved across the different selection stages before a recruitment decision is made.
- Forget to look at all those staff in junior positions who will be impacting your gender pay gap. If you have loads of women (or men) in the lowest paid roles this will impact. In manufacturing environments where low paid jobs are dominated by men identify how to rebalance the workforce and the same goes in perhaps catering or retail environments where the lower paid jobs are dominated by women. What will it take to rebalance in such a way that will be sustainable for the business? i.e. no point in recruiting to rebalance only to lose all your new recruits 6 months later because they don’t like your culture!
- Ignore the value of bringing in a policy of gender balanced recruitment pools – this means not offering jobs on a first come first served but making sure you gather your recruits before embarking on the selection process. Not always ideal as good candidates don’t tend to wait around for you to gather all your candidates, but surely there must be something you can do to ensure your recruitment pools are balanced?
- Underestimate how you need to sort both your managers/leaders and your organisational culture if you recruit to re-balance. If you recruit before you sort, don’t be surprised when your new recruits walk out of the door shortly after starting.
- Think this is a five minute job. It’s actually a whole project in itself, but the rewards will be a modern professional balanced workforce that will in turn attract good candidates and ensure your valued staff stay with you.
- Forget to involve your staff representatives. This group is a perfect, already formed group who can support and inform your thinking about what is needed, where, why, when etc. If your staff reps need training to make them an effective group take a look at this agenda.
10.5 You cannot simply demand that directors or managers accept new ways of operating. The cultural and social backgrounds of many is that it can take decades to get our heads around the need and desire to treat women equally and fairly. So, take a coaching, mentoring, educating approach to managing this process of change, rather than one that is preaching, teaching, telling or yelling! You might find that the former approach achieves a quicker and more sustained result than the latter!