Our work with an organization often initiates with a Discovery Phase to conduct a thorough audit of gender in a particular region or business unit. The audit process develops a clear snapshot of the situation, and uncovers the drivers responsible for any inequity, especially in positions of senior leadership. In this effort, we review existing data, interview both men and women to get key feedback, and analyze trends.
The results of the audit answers questions about why an inequity exists, and by doing so we identify opportunities to improve the organization’s competitive advantage as it relates to attracting, retaining and engaging talented women.
This new knowledge also informs the potential impact that a future gender initiative might have on women, men, and the organization as a whole.
Within the audit, we will draw on our knowledge of typical drivers of inequity within organizations, to determine which particular activities and processes may be strong influencers at your company.
Common drivers of inequity may include:
- Unconscious biases in decision making. Eg. who receives the types of special projects that result in promotion
- Biases embedded in people and within the processes of hiring, promotion, and retention. Eg. Men’s and managers’ socialized assumptions whereby there is a preference for certain behaviors which favor men (e.g. he reminds me of myself at that age)
- Women’s socialized assumptions whereby they hold themselves back from career advancement
- A preference for an hours vs. outcome orientation which rewards hours worked rather than impact (a key consideration for flexibility program participant managers)
- A lifestyle problem with the role, a departmental culture issue, or a personal bias issue of an individual manager.
In most cases, there are several different problems happening at different levels. Which of these and other similar challenges your company faces will be uncovered through the audit process. We seek to fully understand the root drivers of the inequity unique to each individual company, so that we can tailor solutions to address the sourced problems, rather than divert scarce resources on solving problems that do not exist.