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How to Attain & Maintain Gender Equality in the Workplace

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In recent years, businesses have been galvanized into providing an egalitarian workplace that offers equal opportunity to all workers. This is essential for women, many of whom are still facing anachronistic practices from previous decades.

2017 was a pivotal year in driving change, with the #MeToo movement spearheading the need for upheaval. This culminated, in Q1 2018, with a sweeping gender pay gap analysis.
This was a positive step with some encouraging outcomes, but how can all businesses strive to attain, and maintain, gender equality in the workplace?

Attaining gender equality
It’s time for brands to capitalise on the progressive movements to ensure archaic practices are removed for good. In their place should arrive new procedures that ensure a happy working environment for everyone—diversity is, after all, a major driving force for the business world of tomorrow.

It’s clear the gender pay reporting of April 2018 played a significant role in bringing attention to the need for gender equality in the workplace. All businesses with 250 or more employees had to report on their pay rates.

Once the results flooded in, discrepancies appeared, including numerous businesses late handing in their report.

This month, the Financial Times reported “UK gender pay gap research heightens concern on corporate laggards.” The research was highlighting how some businesses were behind the times.

The good news? A backlash towards any problem areas should help to iron out issues and create salary transparency.

To help here, gender pay reporting is now annual legislation that has to be published on a respective businesses’ website—the report is even sent to a dedicated site setup by the British government. Anyone can access this information. Businesses need to show to the world there’s no inequality.

Of course, attaining equality is about much more than equal wages—as the Guardian noted, respect is another key driving force.
How can businesses go about achieving this? Powerful leadership from the top—establishing core progressive values and thought leadership.
This can then be shared with managers, before being disseminated to employees. To manage this, leadership needs to be bold and empowering—if equality targets are published, for example, this would set a clear goal to work towards.

Maintaining gender equality
After reviewing your current processes and making adjustments, it’s then your chance to maintain, and grow, your liberating approach. Keeping things simple, equality is about ensuring everyone has the same opportunities.

A recent Forbes article highlighted how this can be managed. Laura Zelenko, the Talent, Diversity, and Standards chief at Bloomberg News (a company recognised as a leader in gender equality) offered industry-leading tips.

Her suggestions include helping to shape perceptions of equality for future generations, with new events such as the Business of Equality aimed at supporting this.

With Millennials and Generation Z entering the workforce, in a decade the expectation is these bright young sparks will be capable of appreciating diversity as the norm, as well as being a positive force in developing businesses and society.

Providing empowering training and events can help to ensure these attitudes flourish.

For older staff used to more traditional structures, it’s a chance to provide training to keep everyone up to date on policies such as salary openness, new training opportunities to keep up to speed with new technology, and providing access to mentors.

Key processes
Maintaining equality is about empowering all employees—support your staff, ensure robust equality processes are in place, and train your managers and staff to be aware of how to raise concerns about discrimination.

It’s an ever-evolving situation, but there are several tactics to adopt that can keep your workplace ticking over.
Flexibility: Whether it’s a preference to work from home, or one employee likes coming into the office early, providing flexibility for a person’s preferred lifestyle will keep them happy and provide a greater work/personal life balance

Management and staff training: Keep everyone up to speed with your latest policies, as well as providing training to encourage upskilling
Fine-tuning your approach: Have quarterly reviews of your policies—get feedback from your staff (perhaps circulate an anonymous office questionnaire)

Use pay equity maintenance: There’s plenty of cutting edge software available to keep a track on employee pay—use it to meet your legal obligations

The benefits
Fairness and respect in your workplace
Gain a strong reputation to attract new staff
A motivated, happy, and productive team
Find, and keep, the best staff to reduce annual turnover costs
Thought leadership – make your business stand out with its progressive values
If you ever doubted the benefits of equality, above are the key advantages.
By supporting equality, you can align yourself with the real future of business—you can ensure you’re providing your brand, and all of your staff, with the best opportunities. Putting in the effort to maintain it can only ever benefit your brand.

Author Bio – Suzanne Tanser

Suzanne Tanser is the Reward Manager at HR and reward specialists Croner. She’s a pay and benefits expert who has long history of working in the legal services industry.
Follow @Croner

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