Although very dependent on your own company’s context and your own role within that company, it is worth thinking about the changes you — as an individual — can help to enact in the company more widely.
If, for example, you’ve noticed that there is a culture of women being ignored or interrupted in meetings, think about implementing a 2-minute timer for all speakers within meetings within which no interruptions can occur.
If there is a culture of inappropriate comments being made by staff about — or to — female colleagues, suggest the team goes on an unconscious bias course… or that members of staff read some of the resources shared above!
Implementing a mentoring scheme (or even a form of ‘reverse mentoring’) offers an outlet and a source of guidance and support for women within an organisation, and provides a means by which issues can be dealt with collaboratively, rather than individually. Some charities provide free mentoring programmes: at Reason Digital, some of our staff are participating in The Pankhurst Trust’s leadership coaching scheme.
If you work in HR and there is a chance that unconscious bias is occurring during recruitment (and it’s very unlikely that it’s not), consider a method of first filtering applicants without being exposed to their name or gender. When five of the US’s leading symphony orchestras started using ‘blind auditions’ (placing candidates behind screens), the number of women chosen to represent the orchestras increased 500%.
Crucially, it’s also worth implementing a system of capturing feedback from male and female colleagues, in order to understand what processes and changes are being adapted to well, and what may require further tweaking.
Measure and Iterate.
All of these processes are, in some way shape or form, measurable. Thus, you should consider measuring the outcome of these aforementioned commitments as crucially as you track your financial performance. Indeed, given the range of measurement tools available there is no excuse not to. Additionally, you should ensure that you effectively track the outcomes of these changes as they happen in order to guarantee that the changes you are making are effectively transforming your business culture. If you are seeing no change, you need to reassess your processes and amend accordingly.
Indeed, more and more there are the expectations of companies to show their social impact. They need to be able to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. It used to be easy to say you are a socially-minded business without executing any socially minded activities. However, in the modern-day age technological advancements spare no one, and with the ease of online communication, only the genuine companies will succeed.
Here at Impact Reporting, we are continually developing our social value reporting tool to enable you to quantify your socially impactful activities and transform them into evidence-based data. By automatically converting your activities into meaningful social value data, It’s quicker and easier to report on your social impact alongside your financial reporting. Impact enables you to increase the amount of activity, removing administrative burden from managers, and improving employee engagement.
The implicit biases we carry with us are imprinted on our subconscious. That means that the prevailing social and cultural norms which we were socialised according to and now live within have a profound effect on the way that we think and ultimately behave. Even if we don’t — or are unable to — consciously perceive it, these biases exist and play a significant role in perpetuating the inequalities and lack of diversity which continue to shape opportunities and wellbeing, both at a population level, and in the context of individual lives.
Recognising the role each of us plays in the perpetuation of these social norms is a crucial first step to addressing the problems that they create. As Sandberg says, “It’s hard to solve a problem we don’t fully see or understand — and when it comes to gender in the workplace, too often we miss the scope and scale of the issue.” But recognising these issues is not enough: silence is complicity.
It is the responsibility of those for whom discrimination and lack of diversity is not a ‘personal’ issue to add their voices and change their actions to support those in positions of less power. That is not to say that our voices should replace those we’re seeking to fight for — there’s enough of that already — but rather should complement the voices of those who are experiencing the inequalities. If, like me, your demographic tick-boxes leave you in the fortunate position of never having to worry about whether you will be considered for a job, listened to in a meeting, or harassed in the workplace due to your gender (or ethnicity, or sexuality, or background), you’re in a position to add your weight to the argument, and use your influence for good.
For the unabridged article please visit Reason Digital here.