While there has been progress for gender equality in our society and in the workplace over the years, there are still biases and stereotypes that need hinder this progression. We are all responsible for breaking that bias.
In order for a bias to be broken, it needs to be addressed as early as possible and in all environments, from school years, universities and setting the culture right in the workplace. Further, this bias should be addressed on all levels. In an organization, it should start in the hiring process, showcasing the values and company culture and continued through the employees’ journey within an organization to ensure that all employees feel that they are being treated fairly and without any prejudice or bias.
Gender biases have been ingrained since a young age and are indeed influencing our way of working. Leaders therefore need to take steps to change this.
8 Tips - How to Change Gender Equality Bias
💰 Wage Equality
Wage transparency in making sure that men and women are receiving fair payments for equivalent roles is the first step in creating equality in the workplace. According to the World Economic Forum, women earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2020, which shows that even if progress has been made, wage equality should still be enforced. Further, as women tend to be less prone to negotiate their salary, companies should ensure that they are setting fair salaries from the beginning.
⚖️ Understanding Bias
One of the first steps in removing any possible bias is to make sure to build awareness around the concept. There is significant unconscious bias in the workplace context, hence encouraging employees to question their assumptions, beliefs and biases is a good first step. Leaders could start by communicating how unconscious bias affects individuals and which actions that reinforce this unconscious bias.
🥰 Introduce an Inclusion Index
Assess your employees’ sense of belongingness, psychological state and so on. Ways of assessing this could consist of a set of questions where the employees rank how they feel from 1-10.
The right questions are at heart and need to be well thought out. The questions could look like the following and should be asked on an annual basis:
To what extent do you feel like your opinion is valued and respected?
To what extent do you feel like you can express your feelings openly amongst your colleagues without any unfair judgment?
This would allow for managers to be aware of the well being of their employees and to take actions to help if necessary.
🏋🏽 Train your Hiring Managers
Train your Hiring Managers. Offer a guide for interviewing without bias including open questions and some brain teasers – play with it and test whether the candidate thinks in a biased way or not. Here is a good example of testing your candidate’s mind for unconscious bias:
A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad. The son is rushed to the hospital; just as he’s about to go under the knife, the surgeon says, “I can’t operate—that boy is my son!” Explain – who is the surgeon?
Answer: The mother is the surgeon
The majority of our brains are inclined to always picture a man in the role of a surgeon and while the answer makes sense when it is told, our unconscious bias might initially point us towards a male character.
📚 Employee Handbooks
Adjust your Employee Handbook. Share company values and culture within the hiring process and throughout your employee journey by keeping your company employee handbook up to date and championing it through your company culture. Many companies have guidelines in their hiring process but then fail to extend their initiatives further.
🙏🏽 External Resources
Ask advice from consultancy as to see what best practices they recommend. These have previously helped companies in the same industry as yours so they have good case studies in ways to go about. One common advice that is given is to mix up teams. This will allow for new perspectives to be introduced and forces employees to interact with team members which they are not used to.
☁️ Anonymous Brainstorming
Anonymous brainstorming. This could be in the form of silent voting- it would allow individuals to give their ideas without the pressure of getting judged or being disregarded due to any biases. It gives everyone an opportunity to get their ideas fairly considered and most importantly of all, removes the pressure from conforming
💪🏽 Promote Empowerment
Proactively promote empowerment. Create a resource group for employees in your organization where these are encouraged to open up about their stories; encourage inspiration rather than judgment. This could be in the format of a workshop, chat group, panel discussion etc.
Empowerment is key here. Another way to promote empowerment within your company could be through leadership programmes. This could incentivize more employees, regardless of their gender, race, etc… to believe in themselves and to always reach for higher. A company needs an empire of leaders; one therefore needs to create a working culture that allows for that to happen
Women who succeed are inspiring other women to succeed as well. It is therefore important to have female leaders in organizations. We are therefore proud that our team is composed of 70% women! We believe that together we can make a change. In AgileHRO, we support the journey towards women’s rights economically, socially, politically and culturally!