A new strategy for gender equality

There is unprecedented energy and attention around gender equality, which makes this a moment when extraordinary progress is possible with bold and ambitious goals, argues Melinda Gates. “We shortchange women if we set our sights too low. Aiming for parity in the workforce is not enough,” she writes in an extensive op-ed piece in Harvard Business Review.

“Attempting to address intractable problems like harassment and pay disparities piecemeal—without recognizing that they are all parts of a broader whole—is not enough either.” Gates believes the goal should be to expand women’s power and influence in society. “If we want to see results, more philanthropists, venture capitalists, businesses, and policy makers need to be willing to invest in gender-focused interventions,” she writes. Gates and her team at Pivotal Ventures have created a three-pronged strategy to achieve measurable results by 2030—dismantling the most pervasive barriers to women’s professional advancement; fast-tracking women in the sectors with outsize impact on society; and amplifying external pressure on the institutions that can reinvent the status quo. “This is our chance. And if we seize it, then maybe the next time Rosie shows up in the mailbox announcing, ‘We did it!’ she’ll be right,” Gates concludes.

How to earn employees’ trust

Trusted leaders have teams that perform better, are more loyal to the company and are happier and more productive overall, claims Ashira Prossack. In a Forbes blog post, she shares seven things leaders can do to establish trust with employees: 1. Be available as often as is feasible. 2. Get to know employees as individuals. 3. Ask employees how you can help. 4. Provide frequent feedback. 5. Allow employees to make mistakes. 6. Don’t micromanage; step in when it’s absolutely necessary. 7. Encourage autonomy. “Great leaders encourage employees to take full ownership of their jobs,” Prossack writes. “They empower their employees to make their own decisions and have confidence to take risks.”

Our latest report, “Fearless”, identifies the actions that every financial services leader can take to build psychological safety and trust in the workplace.

Why companies need to be more involved in social change issues

Workers would like their companies to be involved in social change issues, according a new study by the Conference Board. The survey found that an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of respondents believe it is “moderately important” that the organization they work for be involved in social change, while 32 percent said the organization should always respond to social change issues. “A common mistake we saw [among organizations] was no response [to social change issues],” Amanda Popiela, co-author of the report, told HR Executive. The survey identified the top five social changes employees feel most strongly about: gender, disabilities, LGBTQ issues, physical and mental wellbeing, and ageism. “It’s crucial for organizations in general—and HR in particular—to be plugged in to what’s on employees’ minds to minimize the risk of ignoring or minimizing an issue that a substantial portion of the workforce cares deeply about,” said Robin Erickson, the other co-author of the report. “HR has an important role to play, not only in monitoring whether certain topics are strongly resonating with the workforce but in helping to devise an effective response.”

Creating an inclusive workplace

Putting diversity and inclusion into practice and tying them to talent acquisition and management can be a challenge for some companies. This WilsonHCG blog post highlights some key practices that organizations can utilize to create an inclusive workplace, such as getting real feedback, overcoming unconscious bias, and engaging with all employees in an inclusive manner. Getting real feedback involves regular pulse surveys and one-on-one employee check-ins. “Exit interviews are another place to identify where your organization can improve. Make sure you ask employees who are leaving if there is anything in the current company culture that held them back or caused them to move on,” the article states. “While you may receive responses that don’t seem like roadblocks, empathizing with the experiences of others is the first step to an inclusive culture.” Overcoming bias requires creating awareness through education, while engaging with employees means building meaningful relationships. “High-quality, skills-based mentoring and sponsorship programs that connect emerging talent with professionals can help to boost the confidence of up-and-comers, particularly if the talent is a minority in the industry, role, or organization,” the article notes.

For more news on diversity and inclusion in the workforce, see our page here.

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