So often when we engage with our clients who wish to improve gender balance in their workplaces, we find they are frequently making the same mistake.
By trying to improve issues surrounding discrimination and lack of gender balance, they tend to focus on addressing the symptoms rather than the causes.
Often driven by external stakeholders dictating the agenda and insisting on targets being met quickly, Executives start with their own demographic data and compare it with externally set benchmarks in order to assess their levels of gender balance. If their numbers are too low, Execs seek to “solve” the problem quickly by directing a recruitment campaign according to a specific demographic, or by fast-tracking the promotions of certain individuals to hit quotas and tick the boxes.
Sure…this will hit their numbers temporarily, allowing them to proudly announce success - but the improvement typically doesn’t last. This is because the employee demographic has been changed, before properly assessing why it was skewed in the first place. Additionally, this usually results in resentment within the workforce, who recognise that it’s no longer about ‘who’s best suited for the role’, leading to disillusionment and an exodus of the really talented employees who seek recognition elsewhere - with a resulting loss of competitive advantage.
At Predixa, we advise taking the time to understand where and how to best focus on change, to ensure that the best people are recruited, nurtured and promoted based on gender-neutral data-driven decisions. Have your targets - yes...but allow the time to act with authenticity, to avoid making the mistakes that might damage the brand, resulting in loss of profit and sales.
What process do you use to avoid these problems?