InBox: Y the XX factor?

Are you missing out on the power of women at work? Firms fronting up to issues associated with gender diversity are locking in key driver towards improving their business success. That’s according to whitepaper released by global management consulting firm Hay Group which points out that diversity is about much more than just doing the right thing.
Hay Group’s whitepaper ‘The XX Factor’ – reference to the XX female chromosome – reasons that now is an opportune time to address diversity issues in the workplace as many organisations deal with the post GFC world and start to flex their muscles for their next growth agenda. Skills shortages and internal market pressures may soon be on the horizon, it posits.
If that all sounds dandy but little nebulous, the paper provides some concrete suggestions on where to start.
Kick off, it suggests, with comprehensive gender diversity audit: and that doesn’t mean just counting the number of women in your organisation.
“Rather, [it’s about] getting to the heart within specific organisation about the underlying issues preventing the strong representation of women in leadership roles,” says the report.
Hay Group has pinpointed seven areas to put under the microscope. Its ‘7 lever model’, as it calls this approach, acts as “framework for auditing organisational blockages for women”.
More to the point, executives who view their organisations through this same lens can use it to develop programmes and initiatives to address any areas in which they may be lacking when it comes to gender diversity.
“Considering your business strategy in relation to all seven levers is essential to prioritising actions which will have real and lasting impact on gender diversity,” the report states.
Hay’s report also provides list of questions to consider at each part of the audit. These include:
• Leadership
Is the vision of leadership for your company male dominated? Do people understand the leadership’s vision for change and why the focus on diversity is necessary?
• Values and culture
Is the new and emerging culture consistent with the desired strategy and vision? Does your organisation have well-articulated values and culture which define how people behave?
• Organisation team and job design
Does the organisation structure optimise the availability of employees regardless of gender?
• HR processes and systems
Are your diversity policies applied and [do they] reinforce your diversity strategy in practice? Are managers challenged to explain and justify their hiring and promotion decisions in terms of equity and performance?
• Individual and team capabilities
Do people understand what they have to deliver and what new skills they need to work in diverse culture? Are behaviours that encourage and enable diversity recognised and rewarded?
• Management processes and systems
Do your organisation’s systems focus on outcomes or inputs? Does your organisation’s management system report on diversity metrics?
• Reward
Do you have robust framework for paying for work value and performance? Are reward diversity audits conducted to ensure women and men are treated equally? M

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