Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Companies need to actively seek gender equality

I hate to say it, but it's still a man's world--and this includes companies, boardrooms, and everyday life.

Oliver Staley, Government Executive Magazine, June 22, 2016, wrote about a presentation made by Jonathan Segal, a labor attorney, at the Society of Human Resources annual meeting.

Some tips for improving gender equality in your workplace:

Reassess job requirements for senior leadership. If you are not hiring women for senior roles, see if your requirements are unreasonable. Maybe 10 years' experience, not 15, is enough. Include other types of experience in the term "experience."

Expand the applicant pool. Reach out to professional groups such as women engineers. If women left the company to raise kids, ask them if they'd like to return.

Consider your biases. Circulate resumes with names removed, for example. Don't ask people to explain long gaps. (A lot of short gaps can be a red flag.)

Rethink your interview process. All candidates should be asked the same questions. Don't ask women what hours they can work if you don't ask men that.

Make sure all employees have equal access to opportunities within the company. Men may spend more time with senior execs, which gives them more chance of a promotion.

Minimize the gender pay gap. Every job should have a pay range--don't base it on what the person made in their last job. Audit your payroll--see if women are being shortchanged.

Get serious about work/life balance. Give all candidates more control over their schedules. Do not put time in the office above results.

Evaluations should be fair.  Measure substance and results, not style and methods. If you say someone is "too assertive," provide examples.

Quash harassment. One in four women say they are subjected to harassment at work. Managers have an obligation to step in.

While employers are not really allowed to consider gender in hiring, this does not apply to board members. You can broaden your company's gender-awareness by seeking female board members.

There are more women than men graduating from college. This is a huge part of your workforce. This isn't an effort made out of condescension or some weird notion of political correctness. It's good business.

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