This collaborative event touched on several topics, highlighting personal experiences that have compelled our panellists to become advocates for change and progress in their own careers.
Keesa Schreane emphasised the importance of compassionate leadership, re-framing the old notion that the only stakeholders that matter are a company’s shareholders. Since your employees (and their happiness) immensely impact the overall performance of the company, they are important stakeholders to consider as well. Laura Finneran suggested that one effective way for managers to support their employees’ well-being is to recognise the demands of their life outside of work and respect those demands, giving employees quiet time away from email in the evenings and weekends. Women especially attempt to “do it all” between work, home and family, all while trying to keep up – and stand out – in their workplace. Overall, providing time for your employees to unplug helps prevent team burnout and ultimately boosts performance and happiness.
Tackling Unconscious Bias
Anna pointed out that, without some intentional self-reflection, hiring trends can be self-perpetuating, with teams hiring more people who look and think like them. Those in positions to hire can help change this from within. Shailesh Verma highlighted the importance of tackling unconscious bias and having respectful but direct conversations when you witness this bias at play in the workplace. Discussing how someone’s behaviour and choices have impacted others can help people become more self-aware of their own “blind spots” for bias.
Working as Allies
The panel agreed that when setting goals around gender diversity and retention, it’s important to have both male and female voices contributing to the conversation. Any successful effort requires allies and collaboration. Keesa pointed out a history of evidence to support this, citing the progress of the Civil Rights and LGBTQ+ movements achieved through collaboration across groups.
Develop Your Up-and-Comers
Transparency of employee demographic data is also a major key in achieving workplace parity. Statistics can point to where a business needs to invest more time and resources into their female and marginalised employees, such as providing them with mentorship, progression plans, and the training they need to continue to progress in the organisation. “Many times, employee needs and company needs are aligned. If a company does not help their employees grow, they will become extinct. Give your employees opportunities to lead and guide them towards the right path. At the end of the day, seeing your employees prosper in their careers is better than any paycheck,” said Laura Finneran.
It Starts at the Top
Each panellist agreed that, when tackling diversity goals in business, the key first step is to start from the top and work towards better gender representation at the board level. A culture of diversity and respect embodied in the leadership of an organisation will have a positive trickle-down effect.
Overall, the event was an informative dialogue, providing a space to foster important discussions on what businesses can do to continually support, develop and retain their female talent. Thank you to our co-host, Blackstone, and to our wonderful panellists.
Interested in being a part of future events with FDM? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Featured image credit: Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash