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  • 16 May
  • by Tim Keith
  • Attract

Turn Talk Into Action

Gender diversity is one of the most important contemporary issues for the business community. It is discussed at length amongst executives and in the media. Unfortunately, little of the discussion is turned into tangible action. We find that the viewpoint on gender diversity varies markedly between women and men, and that active positive change initiatives are largely absent from workplaces.

Our recommendation is to move the conversation from the ‘why’, to the ‘how’.  Changes need to be made across the entire employee experience, and not just by doing adhoc or box ticking initiatives.  Any change needs to be made based on data within the organisation and all inputs and outputs measured to track progress.  Given gender diversity is about women and men working together, solutions should be led via diverse teams of business leaders.

Experience shows that adopting a positive and collaborative change process across the employee experience will deliver an improvement in gender diversity.

Background

We recently surveyed over 100 people from within our extensive Australian business network to grow our dataset and gain a deeper understand of the diversity challenge.  The results of the survey were revealing.

Somewhat unsurprisingly women & men have opposing views on what working in their company was really like.  Overall the data showed the general quality of our workplaces from a diversity perspective was poor, with significant systemic problems.  These problems are evident within current data provided annually by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).(1)

Introducing the WOW™ (Women on Working) and WNPS (Women Net Promoter System) Scores

The WOW™ Score indicates the relative attractiveness of your workplace for women.  It is a benchmark indicator of the critical components required to deliver high performing, engaged, gender balanced workplaces.

The WOW™ Score (2) from our network across a range of businesses was 52%.  We categorise that as ‘Pink Ghetto’ (3). Males were more positive scoring 57%, women 49%.

The Balance Now WOW™ Score provides the data across all the inputs into the employee experience, delivering a comprehensive view of workplaces. We see many organisations fail by taking an ad hoc approach. For example, recruiting more women, but failing to change culture. Real results are only achieved when all inputs are considered, and change made to the entire system.  Find out more with How We Create Change.

The WNPS Score (4) measures employee advocacy, how likely they are to recommend your organisation to other women.

The WNPS Score from our network across a range of business was – 13.  We categorise that as ‘Pink Ghetto’.  Males were more positive at +15, women at -31.

What the WOW™ & WNPS Scores told us:

For Women:

  • Flexible workplaces exist but availing of flexible options meant their career progression was impacted
  • Culture was not conducive to enabling them to speak their mind
  • Majority thought that a pay gap existed

For Men:

  • Gender does not impact time to promotion
  • CEO walked the talk on diversity
  • Were confident and able to openly share their views

Overall:

  • Flexible work is readily available and supported
  • People leaders care about their employees
  • A lack of formal mentoring & sponsorship programs

How To Create A Diverse Workplace

Data tells the story, and provides the insight leaders need to determine the way forward. From our survey data, within Australian businesses the foundations for diverse workplaces and better business results appear to be there.  We need to make changes while building on the current strengths to improve the diversity of our workplaces.  Simple practical measures that change the system will work.  Our experience and research shows that these three changes will have an immediate impact:

Formal mentoring and sponsorship programs
Flexible work practices that don’t impact on careers
CEO leadership and strategy execution

If you would like to understand the data of the entire employee experience for your business, please Contact Us. The WOW™ data will reveal the ‘how’ within your business, and provide a tool to measure progress.  The change process is driven by a commitment to lead the change.  CEOs and executive teams should embrace this tangible methodology.  Stop talking and start taking fresh bold action on gender diversity.

 

References

  1. Please refer to the latest fact sheet, WGEA 2015/16 Gender Equality Scorecard
  2. WOW Score benchmarks:
    0-59%        Pink Ghetto, your workplace needs significant improvement
    60 – 79%    Base Camp, your workplace does some things well but needs improvement in others
    > 80%        World Class, we would love to work for you
  3. Pink ghetto is a term used to refer to the fact that many women are stuck in certain jobs, mostly low-paying jobs, and usually because of their sex. The term was coined in 1983 to describe the limits women have in furthering their careers, since the jobs are often dead-end, stressful and underpaid.  Pink ghetto can also describe the placement of female managers into positions that will not lead them to the boardroom thus perpetuating the “glass ceiling”. This includes managing areas such as human resources, customer service, and other areas that do not contribute to the corporate “bottom line”. While this allows women to rise in ranks as a manager, their career eventually stalls out and they’re excluded from the upper echelons. Poverty in the American Dream, Women & Children First, Stallard, Ehrenreich, Sklar, 1983
  4. WNPS Score benchmarks:
    < 0             Pink Ghetto, your workplace needs significant improvement
    0-29           Base Camp, your workplace does some things well but needs improvement in others
    > 30           World Class, we would love to work for you
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