After having established the need to and proclaimed a commitment towards increasing the proportion of women in their workforce, organisations often face a challenge in actually finding women to recruit into their talent pool. While it is difficult, promoting gender diversity and consciously hiring more women in the workplace is possible with a proactive approach from organizations.
The following 12-Step framework could serve as a quick guide for organisations to initiate their diversity recruitment process:
- Establish a clear and coherent Diversity and Inclusion Policy: Every organisation must begin by articulating a clear policy that outlines the its commitment to gender diversity and inclusion. Even more importantly, this policy should be communicated to all employees and stakeholders to ensure a shared understanding and commitment.
- Set Gender Diversity Goals: the organisation must define specific targets and goals for increasing the representation of women in the organization in all departments and at all levels of seniority. These goals should be measurable and time-bound, providing a benchmark for progress and accountability.
- Review and Revise Recruitment Processes: The existing recruitment processes should be evaluated to identify specific biases or barriers that may be preventing women from applying or being selected for positions. This can be done by doing in-person and feedback surveys to understand whether.
- Create a Supportive Work Environment: organisations that foster an inclusive and supportive work culture are more attractive for women. Therefore, workplaces should offer family-friendly policies, flexible work arrangements, and support mechanisms to address challenges that employees may face in balancing work and personal responsibilities.
- Build a Brand for the Organisation: Organisations that publicly showcase their commitments and actions towards enabling women are more likely to be considered as potential workplaces by women. They can do this using channels like their website, LinkedIn page, social media and print media advertising, sponsorship of women’s career events and conferences, etc. Also, Senior Leaders should be encouraged to actively champion gender diversity and serve as role models inside the organisation as well as at public forums.
- Unbiased Job Descriptions and Advertisements: Job descriptions and advertisements should be reviewed and assessed to ensure they use gender-neutral language and avoid any implicit biases. The job description must focus on the essential qualifications and skills required for the job rather than rely on stereotypical language.
- Expand Candidate Sourcing Channels: The organization must broaden its sourcing channels to reach a more diverse pool of candidates. This may involve partnerships with women’s organizations and women’s educational institutions, attending job fairs targeted at women, or using online platforms that specifically promote gender diversity in hiring.
- Ensure a 50-50 candidate pool: several organisations have started a practice wherein they do not close a job application until at least half the applicants are female. This at least gives an equal chance for women to be hired at any position.
- Implement Blind Screening: hiring manager could consider adopting blind screening practices, where identifying information such as names and gender is removed from resumes during the initial screening process. This helps to mitigate unconscious biases that may influence the selection of candidates.
- Provide Unconscious Bias Training: Conduct training sessions for all employees involved in the hiring process to raise awareness about unconscious biases and their impact on decision-making. Train them to recognize and minimize biases during candidate evaluation.
- Foster Inclusive Interview Processes: Ensure that interviews are conducted in a fair and inclusive manner. Use structured interview questions that focus on job-related skills and competencies, and provide interview panels that include diverse representation. The interview panel, if any, must include both make and female interviewers.
- Evaluate and Adjust Policies: Regularly assess the effectiveness of gender diversity initiatives and policies by analysing data on hiring, promotion, and retention rates to identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments.
Remember that creating a more gender-diverse workplace is not a simple, one-step exercise but is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and improvement.