You can do these 3 things or wait for 202 years

Why are we saying 202 years? The Global Gender Gap Index released by the World Economic Forum estimated that it will take the world at the current pace, about 202 years to bring gender parity in the workplace.

While a lot is being said and some actions being taken, what still remains true is that there is not a single country on earth where women and men are equal. At the workplace or outside women and girls are denied opportunity simply on the ground of being women and girls.

Evidence is increasingly suggesting that gender equality is not just the right thing to do it is also the smart thing to do for your business.

Here are 3 things you can do today to improve diversity within your workforce

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1. Frame targets and count the numbers

It helps to have a target. Whether you are a young startup or a fairly established organisation with set structures and a dedicated HR team, have some diversity targets. Start with the simplest numbers - how diverse is your leadership team? How many positions do you have in your leadership team and who are the people occupying them? What target would you give for the next 3 years to change that composition? Senior Management levels, middle management levels, frontline workforce - break down, count the numbers and set the targets.

Aim for 50/50 - that’s where the Gender Equality (Sustainable Development Goal 5) wants us to reach by 2030. Read more on the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals here

At Revite we say Start with 30 by 3 - Aim to improve your diversity by at least 30% in the next 3 years depending on whatever number you are currently.

Here’s how you can get started - Sign the Revite Pledge to demonstrate your commitment to accelerate gender equality and you will receive the Ready Reckoner to set up and track targets to accelerate gender equality in the workforce | in the boardroom | in communities you work with

The Revite Secretariat (set up specifically to help businesses take actions to improve gender equality) will help you measure, track & share your progress with not just the Revite Network but your talent, suppliers, peers & customers to help you reap the gender dividend for your organisation.

2. Take a second look at your job descriptions

The latest report from Accenture - Getting to Equal 2018, provides insights on 40 workplace factors that help build a culture of equality at workplace. Insights were garnered through a survey of 22000 women and men across 34 countries. We particularly like this key attribute - reviewing job descriptions of senior management - that can have a positive impact on accelerating gender equality at workplace.

Re evaluating the job description, especially the ones meant for your senior roles can be an effective tool in implementing diversity improvement programmes. There are barriers that creep into job descriptions keeping women from applying for these positions. While you don’t need to change the requirements for the position, the review with a gender lens helps you take a closer look at some unnecessary barriers that you might have raised - for instance a job description might require the incumbent to have 15 years experience without a break in their career. A review might show you that a 15 years continuous experience can be offset with a 10 years experience with a bundle of additional skill sets more relevant for a senior management role.

3. Make space for returnships as a first step towards helping HER return

No we didn’t get it wrong - we don’t mean internships - we literally mean making space for returnships within your workplace. This could be your fast track to not just improving gender equality at the workplace but also steering your business growth.

Women take a break from their career for a multitude of reasons, the most prominent being marriage and moving to the location where their spouse is, pregnancy and childbirth, care related responsibilities, lack of opportunities, lack of required flexibility in employment conditions apart from a range of social and opportunity barriers. Returning to work once they have dealt with these responsibilities becomes an uphill task that only a very few can navigate. Even when they manage to navigate through the hurdles the general perception of employers and recruiters do not allow a smooth re-entry. Women are forced to get into roles that are far below their previous exit levels or salaries offered are way below their expectations.

On the other hand what employers lose out on a potential qualified experienced employee who with a bit of flexibility and adaptation at the employer’s end can not just perform but in many cases outperform on expectations. Returnship programmes offer employers and returnees with a time bound flexible instrument to understand and work with each other while being focussed on deliverables. Evidence increasingly indicates that transactional recruiting or hiring is dying out. Your ability to build relations with your prospective talent pool and the emotional connect a potential candidate has with your organisation increases your ability to attract and retain talent manifold. Returnships, when designed appropriately can help you build bridge that gap.

Companies that understand the huge gender dividend of helping her return to work are starting to open their spaces for her re-entry. You now have U4her from Uber, Back to Future from Make My Trip and other similar initiatives by large enterprises.

You can get started too.

Here are three tips for you if you want to start a Return To Work programme for your organisation.

Tip 1 - Start with 1 or more Returnships

Tip 2 - Start small to focus on one functional unit of your business

Tip 3 - Identify at least one internal champion who would facilitate the relations between the returnees and the internal counterparts they engage with on a daily basis to implement their work functions

If you are committed to help HER Return To Work and would like to get started right away - you can join the Revite RWP Academy as a participating employer

The Revite RWP Academy is specifically designed to help organisations implement independent or in collaboration with other employers, a structured Return to Work programme to help Find Her | Work With Her | Hire Her

As a Revite RWP Academy participating employer organisation you can

  • Access a talent pool of midlevel returning women professionals

  • Participate in specially designed networking, learning & hiring events

  • Access mentoring support from Revite Mentors for your returnees

  • Get your returnees to go through specialised learning programmes designed by Revite Academic partners which include some of the leading management and technology institutes

  • Training 1-on-1 support for your HR team and recruiters to design job descriptions that help improve diversity at workplace, build knowledge and tools to hire from the returnee demographic and

  • Share your learning with other organisations

  • Design & implement customised Return to Work programmes specifically for your organisation