How to get to gender diversity

Women At Work


McKinsey analysis has shown that most organisations are falling far short of their gender diversity goals, suggesting that they are either doing the wrong things or failing on the implementation of the right things. So, what do organisations need to do, or do differently, to secure the benefits of gender diversity?

The Women’s Sat Nav to Success annual surveys aim to provide the answers. They are built on a wide and deep insights foundation which identifies the most significant psychological dynamics which create barriers to positive change and, through interviews with 45 women leaders across a representative range of fields and functions, have distilled a portfolio of the most potent and practical strategic enablers of women’s success at work.

Being undervalued

One of the most pivotal insights from the 2017 survey is that rather than a lack of confidence in capability or any unwillingness to move outside their comfort zone, it is evidence of their contributions being undervalued that causes women’s disengagement and reduction in motivation to progress.

The contribution-value gap is a crucial tipping point which sets in train a range of the kind of consequences that fill the headlines – the lack of women in leadership, in key professions and industries, and of course, the gender pay gap.

Stretch Potential

Stretch Potential – the full survey analysis – recommends a pragmatic and systematic approach to tackling the unconscious bias which causes this undervaluing of women’s contribution – simply embed training in actively giving balanced attention and feedback to all contributions and contributors as a foundation development programme for all managers.

Last year’s Stretch Potential report on the 2017 Women’s Sat Nav to Success Survey broke new ground in identifying more specifically than ever before what really matters and makes the most difference to women’s career success in the UK.

With the powerful new framework of understanding from the inaugural survey, this year’s Women’s Sat Nav to Success Survey now aims to drill down by sector to more precisely specify what employers  should do if they want to access the benefits of gender balance and avoid the ignominy of gender pay gap failures.

We want to shine a spotlight on the most significant strategic options for driving women’s recognition, support and progression and show where employers in specific UK sectors may be most vulnerable to the impact of losing women’s engagement and/or eroding their motivation to progress their career. This will therefore inform and direct HR, talent and gender diversity strategies so that they can be more certain of achieving measurable success and positive ROI.

Striving for longer term change

In addition, an immediate and significant benefit comes from the commitment of The Women’s Sat Nav to Success, as a social enterprise, to maximise the positive impact it makes. In the case of the survey this means it has been designed to inform both organisations and individuals about their options for immediate and longer term change. Hence, the survey also serves as a free micro-development module for the individual women who take part.

Participants are asked to assess their stage of progress against 16 of the strategic enablers of success and in doing so they learn about and reflect on their relevance to their situation and ambitions. Each participant can download their survey responses completely free and confidentially, so they can have the time and space to consider the insights and implications for their personal development. In 2017, 46% of respondents reported that they had identified immediate opportunities for action.

Organisations inviting female employees to take part and who support this brief investment of time will demonstrate their commitment to acknowledging and actively addressing the challenges women experience at work.

*Diana Parkes is founder of the Women’s Sat Nav to Success

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