At Global Women we are thrilled to frequently hear from men and women who want to join us on our mission to make New Zealand the best little country in which to live, work and play; a prosperous nation underpinned by diverse leadership.
For some of our friends, the task is straightforward. Our 300 members use their influence in politics, business, NGOs, iwi or cultural organisations, and the media to impact, encourage and facilitate the development of New Zealand women to increase diversity in leadership. Our 56 Champions for Change, the Chairs and CEOs of leading organisations, drive change by developing leaders, promoting flexibility, and measuring progress.
So what can you do to speed up the rate of change if you aren’t a Global Women member or a Champion for Change? The most important thing you can do is to walk the talk and role model the change you want to see.
Here are 10 ways you can be an ambassador for diverse and inclusive workplaces:
1. Share the Case for Change
Research shows that when employees and leaders understand the business incentive for diversity, they are more likely to feel personally committed to making a change. So it’s not enough for a leader to be personally committed to diversity, or even to include diversity in KPIs. Change will only happen when people understand the business benefits. Remember, too, that diversity probably isn’t a major concern for most of your workforce, so use the case for change to push it up the priority list.
2. Develop Diverse Leaders
Businesses perform better when you have diversity of view in your senior leadership positions. Check out these three major initiatives, started by Global Women, that develop capability and bring promising leaders into the limelight:
3. Encourage and Enable Flexible Working
Workplace flexibility supports the attraction and retention of top talent, increased creativity and innovation, and the ability to ensure an agile response to changing market needs.
4. Engage Millennials in the Mission
Millennials will be the largest age group in the workforce in just a few years’ time and are our next generation of leaders in the workplace. So it’s vital to keep them engaged in the business and in the importance of diversity and inclusion.
5. Engage Men in the Mission
As a man, don’t disregard the power you hold. The movement for gender equality will not succeed as a women’s movement alone. And with evidence of a backlash to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp that is actually harming women, your voice matters more than ever. It can be as simple as calling out inappropriate jokes with ‘that’s not cool’ or ensuring that a woman’s contributions aren’t dismissed or interrupted with ‘That’s what Jane said,’ or ‘Charlotte makes a great point.’ To take it a step further, volunteer to mentor or sponsor a rising woman.
6. Close your Gender Pay Gap
Fixing the gender pay gap at your organisation is one of the most fundamental ways of ensuring equality in the workplace. Remember, the gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay, which is your legal requirement to pay the same to men and women doing the same jobs.
7. Check Your Privilege
Many men find it hard to believe, but the evidence is overwhelming. Both men and women consistently judge traditionally masculine traits positively as a result of unconscious bias. Undeniably this has real-life consequences.
8. Talk about Parental Leave
New Zealand still has a way to go to encourage men to invest as much as women in childcare, thereby reducing the professional penalty mothers face, both in recruitment and career advancement. Until we have paid parental leave that can be shared by both parents at the same time, let’s normalise dads taking leave when their baby is born by referring to parental leave, not maternity leave.
9. Fair Hiring and Performance Review
The way merit is used in the recruitment and retention of candidates is not definitive, neutral or objective. In fact our cognitive biases, conscious or unconscious, make the process more subjective than we would like to believe. What’s more, women and men do not start from an equal playing field with regards to the access to opportunities to build networks and enhance their careers.
10. Measure Progress
Diversity performance is an important component of business performance. So treat it as you would any other business challenge: set a target and measure your progress.