August 25, 2017

Four Ways to Advance Equality in the Workplace

Kristina Cleary

Kristina Cleary leads global marketing at Ceridian. An avid runner, when KC isn’t chasing her two children, she’s running from conferences to client sites, and talking about the latest and greatest in HCM trends.

 

Women’s Equality Day on August 26 commemorates the day that women were granted the right to vote in the U.S. in 1920. While we’ve come a long way since then, issues related to equality and diversity – particularly in the workplace – have remained hot button issues as we collectively work towards progress and change.

Ceridian prioritizes equality and diversity in the workplace, and also leverages its position in the industry to put the spotlight on these topics. This year, we will once again hold the Ceridian Women’s Network (CWN) Summit during our annual customer forum, INSIGHTS 2017, after a successful inaugural launch of the Summit last year. With keynotes from Kat Cole, Focus Brands COO and President North America, and Megan Anderson and Laura McGee, co-founders of #GoSponsorHer, and presentations from our own leadership at Ceridian, the Summit promises a day of timely, provocative and insightful programming.

There are so many ways that both organizations and individuals can support efforts within their own companies to promote equality and inclusion. Here are four ways to help level the playing field.

Be an Active Influence

We’re all well-versed in the value of mentorship – providing guidance, advice and inspiration as part of the development journey for young professionals. But let’s take that a step further towards more activeinvolvement with, and advancement of, our female talent through sponsorship. For example, at Ceridian, we launched a Go Sponsor Her initiative on International Women’s Day last year, in which our executive leadership sponsors meet with their sponsorees on a monthly basis to support their growth and success.

Empower a Cultural Shift

The digital-first era is leading us to rethink the norms of the traditional workplace – how we lead, collaborate, communicate, and give and receive feedback. With the reimagining of these models and behaviours, we all have the ability to influence the evolution of overall workplace culture. Empowering change in an organization isn’t one person’s job – it’s everyone’s job. Take this view from Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg: “Inequality in tech isn’t due to gender differences. It’s due to cultural stereotypes that persist. We all need to do more.” Agility is one of our core values at Ceridian – we encourage change in order to achieve success.

Collaborate and Build a Network

Being the CMO of a tech company, discussions of how women are represented in the sector are important to me. I take pride in Ceridian having launched the Ceridian Women’s Network to support the growth of our female employees. I’ve also experienced first-hand the power of coming together at a local, grassroots level to take action. One initiative I’m looking forward to being involved with this year is #MoveTheDial. Launched last year, this is a Canadian event that brings female entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech space together to discuss unequal barriers, challenges in entrepreneurship, and how to develop culture of equal representation. Find the leaders, thinkers and doers within your network and start talking – the power of the many starts with the power of one.

Measure and Track

As business leaders, we measure and track our business objectives, marketing goals, and financial performance – so why wouldn’t we also track our diversity and equality objectives? We cannot make improvements without tracking our efforts. Diversity and equality are only buzz words without action, and a plan for measurement and tracking helps to translate objectives into exactly that – action – while promoting accountability and transparency. Each organization should have its own key performance indicators or framework to measure ROI, ideally tracking a fulsome functional and emotional view of the organization. Ask, “What can we do better? Where did we hit or miss the mark?” Whether it’s regarding the gender pay gap, building an inclusive workplace, or redefining work-life balance, tracking progress furthers progress. Diligence is another one of our core values at Ceridian – we establish goals and standards, and measure success against them.

Continually pushing the envelope for equality and diversity benefits everyone. From an economic perspective, advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey Global Institute’s 2015 report. As a business case, several reports have noted that gender-diverse companies or companies with female leadership performed better. From a human capital perspective, equality and diversity only bolster and positively effect health, wellness, communication and personal relationships. So, push back on the pushback. Draw inspiration and wisdom from the leaders in your networks, navigate challenges with confidence and encourage conversation.

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