Committing to achieving gender balance



As part of gender pay gap reporting in the UK or the many industry charters, we are seeing a fantastic level of commitment to achieving gender balance and increasing representation of women in their organisation.

However, many organisations have not mapped out their route to achieving their commitments.  In this insight paper we look at the things a company must have to achieve their commitments.


Authentic tone from the top

Many boards and exec committees have yet to uncover what the opportunity cost is of not achieving gender balance throughout their organisation.  Whether it be the heightened engagement, increased innovation or the 5 – 20% increase in profit that a gender balanced organisation creates, the vernacular at the top needs to be authentic and clear as to why the company is striving for a higher representation of women in leadership.


Data, data, data

We understand the challenge that most organisations have with HR data, it can seem strange that in this day of technological advancement, getting data systems aligned so that you know what you are measuring can be a challenge.  However, commitments to gender representation made at board level need to be backed up by data:

  • Do you have enough women in your talent pool to achieve your gender representation commitments?
  • Do they have measurable leadership capability so that promotions are still grounded in meritocracy?
  • Do those women see a long and fulfilling career in your organisation?
  • And finally, what is the impact of attrition on your commitments?


Performance targets & management

How are your performance targets and management processes enabling or disabling women’s route to the top?  Are your leaders adequately equipped to measure leadership potential in the same way? Or are there pockets of unconscious bias which mean women do not have access to the same opportunities as the men in your organisation.  Whilst you as an HR/D&I professional may have built amazing policies and procedures which clear the way for women to reach the upper echelons, can you be absolutely sure that those policies and procedures are being deployed in the spirit with which they were crafted?


Leadership aspiration

Whilst many women have great leadership capability, if the culture makes them feel like a freshwater fish swimming in the sea, they will not have the aspiration to climb the career ladder in your organisation.  As women become more attractive to other employers, you have a flight risk on your hands.  Identifying this part of the equation is particularly challenging.  Whilst your pulse and engagement surveys may not point to a talent cliff on the horizon, there can be minute, almost imperceptible clues that your high potential women have no aspiration to climb the career ladder where they currently are.


Enrichment programmes

Let’s say you’ve identified your high potential women who are going to help you achieve your representation commitments, what programmes are being put in place to nurture the talent, and do you know that these are the correct enrichment programmes?  We see time and again organisations who invest resource into programmes and activities which woefully miss the mark in terms of nurturing talent.  With programmes as recent as last year on gender behaviour difference aimed at supporting women into leadership which quite frankly are patronising and do not have the ability to measure outcomes and objectives – again, data, data, data.


Best laid plans

Whilst we can work with you on all of the above pointers to achieving your gender representation commitments, your particular deadline may be fast approaching, or you recognise the need to present your gender wage gap data in a more appealing light, wherever you are on that journey, we can help you to craft the messaging and a route map grounded in analysis and data which will give your organisation time and space to win the war on talent.