EP10: What do you believe is the ONE most important step companies or managers can take to support the advancement of women in the workplace?
I’m delighted to contribute to this episode of VoxPopMe along with WIRe, Women In Research. The team at WIRe contributes so many good things to our industry in order to help bring more women forward as the experts that we are. Do take the time to check them out and see how they can help you, or how you can help them.
It’s hard to identify one most important step because there are so many small and big things people and companies can do. I’ll frame it like this. Companies can take a good, hard, honest look at the efforts they’ve made thus far and course correct.
- What percentage of your senior leadership team is women? Does your senior team suffer from token womanism? It’s frustrating to research a potential client or employer only to find the senior team is ten men and one women. (Let’s not even go so far as to consider diversity of ethnicity, disability, etc) If your company truly values diversity, it’s literally impossible for the demographics of the senior team to not demonstrate it. And don’t course correct by adding a VP of Diversity. Course correct by hiring an expert in your industry/business, e.g., VP of Data/IT/Research/CustomerExperience.
- What percentage of promotions with senior leadership potential have been offered to women? We know that women are less likely to ask for promotions and raises so pay attention to whether you’re offering these opportunities to people who are asking (overtly or covertly) versus people who have quietly contributed to the bottom line without beating their chest and proclaiming how great they are.
- What percentage of speakers sent by your company to conferences last year were women, and did you send the same woman every time? You might notice that the same speakers appear at conferences over and over again. Well, maybe it’s time to divide up the 25 speaking slots among 10 people, even better among five women and five men who’ve never taken the stage before. In my work with new speakers, I’ve yet to see a single new speaker fail miserably on stage. In fact, the fast majority are AS GOOD AS other speakers. I kid you not. Sure, some show their nerves but the audience cares more about the content than the nerves. I guarantee you’ve got at least one diamond in the rough, probably several. Take the risk, earn the reward.
- Are you an encourager, nudger, promoter, motivator, and ally? Do you regularly (kindly and respectfully) push and prod to help the quiet people show their expertise? Sometimes, asking someone to submit a conference proposal will turn into a yes on the fifth or tenth ask. Keep on asking. Keep on making sure they know they DO have expertise and they CAN succeed as a speaker/leader/manager, or whatever the seemingly scary task is.
Happy Women’s Day! May you share in the joy of equality and respect for everyone.
What is Voxpopme Perspectives? Along with a group of market researchers from around the world, I was asked to participate in Voxpopme Perspectives – an initiative wherein insights industry experts share ideas about a variety of topics via video. You can read more about it here or watch the videos here. Viewers can then reach out over Twitter or upload their own video response. I’m more of a writer so you’ll catch me blogging rather than vlogging. 🙂