Closing the Disconnect: Inclusion & Gender Equity Is Good Business

Gender equity n the workplace breeds company success.

Gender equity n the workplace breeds company success.

Doing the right thing can be the same as doing the smart thing. And culture shifts can happen; top tech companies are proving it.Known for its raunchy, sexist television commercials as recently as mid-2016, Go Daddy has changed its ways and is throwing its energy into gender parity.There has been a disconnect between how the company operates and its tradition of branding on television commercials; Go Daddy has a robust Women in Tech initiative and is transparent about hiring and salary practices.“We had used edgy marketing tactics in the past to become the largest domain registrar in the world and roughly a billion-dollar company. We distinguished ourselves as a virtual household name in terms of brand recognition, but remained misunderstood as an employer,” according to HR Open Source.The tech company is a proponent of gender equity in the workplace and a promoter of women in all levels of tech, with 50 percent of new engineers hired who are women. More than 41 percent of the entry level software developers are women, and overall women make up 24 percent of the company workforce. Still, only seven percent of the senior level management is women.“We believe diverse teams build better products. We’re committed to balancing the gender gap & recruiting great women at all levels to help us better serve our customers, more than half of whom are women who own small businesses,” according to the website.“Recruiting became laser-focused on recruiting women. We now track how many women we hire in our customer support team, and how many female engineers we hire every quarter.”Aside from being the right thing to do, being inclusive and working for a diverse and fair workplace culture is a smart thing to do.[bctt tweet=“Aside from being the right thing to do, working for a diverse workplace is smart #equality” username=“takeleadwomen”]“Surveys and studies are demonstrating the intrinsic value of diversity within the workplace. There is a direct correlation between greater inclusivity and long term success — notably measurable improvements in office morale and business health,” writes Lindsey Frischer, manager of strategic partnerships at Ross Intelligence, in Medium.Women-led start-ups have 35 percent higher rate of return and generate 12 percent higher revenue than male-led start-ups, according to Frischer.As someone high up in a tech startup, Frischer asks, “How do we push the needle for greater inclusivity in the workplace?”She answers her own question on achieving gender equity. “It is clear there is definite progress to be had in terms of cultivating greater inclusivity in the workplace. The silver lining, however, should be clearer — ushering women in through early stage hiring and/or up the ranks is just smart business. Founders are uniquely positioned to create a culture that reinforces diversity but it is imperative we continue to push the envelope.”According to the 2016 Gender Equality Survey from Kununu and InHerSight of more than 5,000 U.S. employees, more women than men express dissatisfaction with leadership and management opportunities as well as efforts for diversity, inclusion and gender equity.One third of the women surveyed said they were satisfied with management opportunities at their company, while 46 percent of men said they were satisfied with management opportunities. Again, 33 percent of women said they saw satisfactory levels of female leadership in the company, while 44 percent of the men surveyed said the same, according to the study.Twenty-seven percent of senior level women surveyed said they were satisfied with access to equal opportunities, compared to 39 percent of the men who said the same.According to Lydia Dishman writing about the study in Fast Company, “As Moritz Kothe, CEO of Kununu notes, “While the conversation around gender equality is louder today than ever before, we clearly still have a long way to go in order for true gender equality to exist, women need to feel like they are on equal footing, and our findings indicate that we’re not there yet.“The disconnect between what men and women perceive about fairness of opportunity and gender equity in the workplace can be addressed, writes Dishman.[bctt tweet=“The disconnect between what men & women perceive about gender equity can be addressed #genderequity” username=“takeleadwomen”]InHerSight’s founder and CEO Ursula Mead told her Dishman she “thinks that it may not occur to men that some of their success came as a result of unconscious bias and sexism (overt or not) in an organization rather than being simply based on personal accomplishments.”“That’s why, Mead says, it’s important for companies to set goals and initiatives around increasing the number of women in leadership. ‘It challenges the old status quo of male-focused workplaces and reminds us that these issues do exist and are important.’“Fairygodboss came up with its own The State of Gender Equality in The Workplace 2016 study and finds, “According to Fairygodboss members, unequal promotion is the top area in which they observe gender inequity in their organizations. Unequal access to sponsors, unfair evaluation, and boys’ club mentality are some of the reasons women provide for this concern. To improve your company’s practices, take a look at your promotion and succession planning processes, and pursue mechanisms to remedy this persistent cycle.”According to the Fairygodboss study, “Although most men support gender diversity in the workplace, they are often unaware of bias or discrimination when it takes place. More direct and honest conversations between men and their female peers and direct reports can lead to greater sensitivity and more effective partnership.”The Fairygodboss study concludes in its report on gender equity in the workplace: “Prioritize gender diversity, particularly within management. Fairygodboss data proves – perhaps unsurprisingly – that there is a clear correlation between women’s job satisfaction and gender equality at their company. We’ve also found a correlation between women’s job satisfaction and diverse management teams. In other words, diverse management ranks are essential to driving gender equality throughout the organization. Bottom line: investments in diversity initiatives and programs are truly worthwhile because they result in higher job satisfaction and therefore attraction and retention of women.”The top industries for gender equality for women are public relations, with 70 percent of respondents ranking them, and lowest are conglomerates and law firms, at around 60 percent of women ranking them lowest.Fairygodboss reports, “A global survey earlier in 2016 found that the presence of women in corporate leadership may be related to improved firm performance. Using a global dataset of 22,000 firms, researchers found positive correlations between company financial performance and companies with the highest proportion of female executives.”The Fairygodboss survey also says that 70 percent of the women did not feel the companies told them enough about the culture during recruitment, with only 30 percent agreeing that they did.A majority or 60 percent of men surveyed (both managers and non-managers) appear to believe that gender bias is not an issue in the workplace in general. When it came to their own workplaces, only 10 percent believed that women faced any issues of fairness. This compares to 44 percent of women who believe they are not treated equally and fairly, compared to men.In advising companies on how to manage diversity and inclusion, “Your leadership stance on gender diversity issues can make a difference — not just to your own employees, but to women everywhere. Although most men support gender diversity in the workplace, they are often unaware of bias or discrimination when it takes place. More direct and honest conversations between men and their female peers and direct reports can lead to greater sensitivity and more effective partnerships.”