“To improve gender equality, we need to debias systems, not people. Human resource management must be based on rigorous evidence of what works to level the playing field'', Iris Bohnet, behavioural economist.
➖Use The Behavioural Insights Team's ‘how to improve gender equality’ series: How to set effective targets, How to establish diversity leads and diversity task forces, How to run structured interviews, How to use skill-based assessment tasks, How to increase transparency of progression, pay and reward processes.
➖Set internal targets for gender representation and be transparent with them, internally and externally. Making a public commitment makes it more likely that the target will be achieved. Read a step by step guide from The Behavioural Insights Team how to set effective targets. Have functional/department leadership teams track success monthly/quarterly using attrition, promotion and recruitment data, inclusion sentiment data / engagement surveys with demographical analysis, listening sessions anecdotes, exit survey feedback or stay interview data.
🔦 At KPMG UK, Inclusion, Diversity and Social Equality (IDSE) data is reported monthly to track progress towards publicly set firm-wide targets, as well as internal functional targets. This data is also used to review all people processes including recruitment, performance management, work allocation, promotions, and reward. This data enables any disproportionate outcomes to be challenged, ensuring fair outcomes for colleagues.
➖Appoint a dedicated D&I lead (with ringfenced time and access to data) to program manage data led activity and create fair processes throughout the organisation.
➖Appoint a D&I task force to oversee D&I activity and 'a way for underrepresented groups to have their voices heard and their perspectives incorporated into decision-making within the organisation', How to establish diversity leads and diversity task forces, The Behavioural Insights Team.
➖Audit your recruitment process for bias, run structured interviews and collect data over time to see if there are any disparities for women vs men. Read how in The Behavioural Insights Team's How to run structured interviews. Aim to advertise all opportunities.
➖Promotion and recruitment: use skill-based assessment tasks to provide candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their skills rather than just talk about their skills. Read how in The Behavioural Insights Team's, How to use skill-based assessment tasks. According to LinkedIn, 'A skills-first approach to hiring could improve diversity in AI and utilise a largely untapped pool of women with relevant skills. LinkedIn data shows that when hiring for jobs where women are underrepresented, like in the AI sector, if companies prioritised skills instead of previous job titles, the talent pool would grow 24% more for women compared to men', 'The number of women hired into leadership is increasing, but by less than 1% a year', LinkedIn.
➖Be transparent about how the organisation sets pay and how promotion and reward decisions are made. Read how in The Behavioural Insights Team's, How to increase transparency of progression, pay and reward processes. They say organisations should identify the processes that could be made more transparent, ensure criteria and processes are clear, increase accountability and aim for external transparency. Use storytelling to showcase intersectional examples of women being promoted at various levels and in various roles.
➖Build inclusive behaviours into the organisation's values then measure all employees on inclusive behaviours through your performance management and development process i.e. require employees to provide demonstrable evidence in line with your values.
➖Make flexible working the default. Encourage employees and managers to have flexible
working conversations from day one (include in job advertisements). Break down stereotypes by sharing employees’ stories helps to demonstrate how everyone can benefit from using flexible working.
➖'De-gender’ caring policies by moving to equal parental leave policies. 'Both statutory provisions and employer-enhanced policies provide significantly higher maternity vs. paternity leave provisions, positioning women as the primary caregiver and setting a precedent for long-term imbalances in who works vs. who cares for children. This trend penalises mothers via lower earnings and slower promotion rates, creating a “leaky bucket” for employers’ female leadership pipeline'. An increasing number of UK companies (including Abrdn, Aviva, Bain & Company, Diageo, Goldman Sachs, John Lewis, UNICEF, and Vodafone) are addressing gender inequality by introducing equal parental leave policies, under which all parents, regardless of gender, receive the same amount of leave and pay.
Download the Business In The Community (BITC) Equal Parental Leave Toolkit, Workbook and Cost Calculator.
- Consider caring the norm, not the exception.
- Champion equitable access to care for all genders, men and women, in your policies.
- Foster a culture that supports men to care.
- Promote flexible working directly to men.
➖Create psychological safety in the workplace with zero tolerance policies to harassment and bullying. Publish clear and accessible processes to report an incident and encourage all employees to speak up by sharing the actions an organisation has taken in response to previous reports of non-inclusive behaviour.
➖ Read the evidence based insights gathered from best performing organisations (in relation to gender) and key employer recommendations from BITC in The Times Top 50 Employers for Gender Equality ‘Class of 2023’ Insights Report, Business in the Community (BITC).
Recommendations and case studies relate to the following categories:
- Embracing and Celebrating Difference
- Flexible Working
- Line Managers
- Pay and Reward
- Policies to Support Parents and Carers
- Progression and Promotion
- Psychological Safety
- Recruitment and Selection
- Strategy and Objectives
- Women on Low Pay
Consider resources and support relating to gender majority groups
- Male allies resources hub from everywoman
- How to engage white men as D&I champions and allies
- Mark International Men's Day - 19th November
- Guide: How to improve gender equality in the workplace: evidence-based actions for employers, The Behavioural Insights Team
- Report: Women in the Workplace: 2022, LeanIn
- Discussion guide: Who Cares? campaign, Business In The Community
- Report: The Times Top 50 Employers for Gender Equality ‘Class of 2023’ Insights Report, Business in the Community (BITC).
- Guide: Gender Equality Route Map: 8 steps to gender equality for employers case studies, BITC