With so much talk of gender and business in the media, many talent teams are left feeling fatigued. From the lack of the female talent pipeline, the measly 2.5 % female representation of ASX CEO’s, through to the (up to) 45% pay difference between male and female executives. People and Culture teams often bear the brunt of the pressure to meet diversity targets but are not truly given the support from the Executive to drive change. Being at the frontline of this every day, I know how exhausting it is to be having these conversations without seeing improved results.
The facts are that if your organisation is not actively seeking to readdress gender imbalance in leadership then the organisation is not delivering true shareholder value. If I came to you with a business case about a widget that statistically almost 100% of the time (globally calculated) would deliver you better results for profits, EBIT, revenue, ROI, innovation, collaboration and retention you would buy my widget. Add a uterus to my widget and most senior men or women will shut it down and give an antiquated lecture on merit.
We have the greatest opportunity to increase Australia’s GDP and stimulate growth by simply utilising our entire talent force. Those businesses digging their heels in and continuing to hire by looking in the mirror will simply become less competitive in the market. When you consider that organisations with more women in senior leadership financially outperform those organisations without executive women by 34%, it becomes almost negligent not to enforce quotas.
Let’s address the main barriers to peoples thinking on strategically hiring more women. You WON’T get sued. The women DO exist, even in technical areas. Great male leaders won’t suddenly lose THEIR jobs. The female executives are getting the role based on MERIT. The female hires won’t WORK out if you allow them to enter a hostile environment, ie feeding them to the sharks. Most importantly, it WILL improve your company’s culture and financial returns.
What You Can Do
Next time your Executive recycle the gender debate with the HR Group hold them accountable – ask which roles they are setting aside to fill with talented women. Challenge whether the previous women on their shortlists were ever really contenders for past hires. Enquire who they are personally developing in the organisation to be a future leader. The main reason there is so much talk in the press by big business about gender diversity in leadership is because it makes the company look good. Now we need to move beyond that and actually DO good.
Don’t forget to register for Amy’s half day workshop #ATC2015 on attracting an recruiting people with disabilities. This workshop is designed to assist organisations improve the diversity by developing realistic plans and tactics that will create success. You can find out more here and register here
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