March 15, 2019

Best practices for gender equality and #BalanceForBetter in the workplace

Beyond International Women’s Day, what can organisations do to be advocates for gender balance all year? Here are five things to consider in the journey towards gender equality.

The idea behind this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceForBetter, was that gender equality doesn’t only create a balanced society, but also a better one. With over 100 years of history in moving the needle for gender equality and gender parity, movements like IWD, along with more recent momentum from conversations about these issues, put the spotlight on employers and their practices.

To be considered an innovative organization, you need to pursue initiatives and measure progress in gender equality and parity. More so than ever, the absence of diversity, inclusion, and gender equity programs within a company is noticed, and these initiatives are celebrated.

Beyond IWD, what can today’s organisations do to be an active player and advocate for gender balance in the workplace? Here are five best practices for your organization to consider.

  1. Partner with organisations that foster change

By partnering with local organisations that create meaningful impact on gender balance, you give your employees opportunities to learn from, and network with, likeminded people. You’re also exemplifying your company’s commitment to gender equality outside of the scope of your organization. Partnering with an organization with a shared mission can help also help you accomplish your business goals related to equality and diversity.

Ceridian is a founding partner of #movethedial, whose mission is to increase the participation and leadership of women in tech. Through our partnership, we extend opportunities to our employees to attend various networking events through the year, and our leaders share their experiences through the MTD platform. We also participate in the #GoSponsorHer program, a grassroots movement that supports the growth and success of women at work.

What’s the benefit? A recent study on the effects of female networking events shows that 42% of women (across functions and industries in several U.S. states) who attended a particular conference received a promotion (in the time period of this study), versus 18% of the women who’d signed up for the same conference but hadn’t yet attended. As well, 71% of the study participants noted that they “feel more connected to others” after attending.

  1. Review and revise your Corporate Social Responsibility policies for gender balance

It’s no secret that gender-related issues can have a significant impact on a company’s reputation and bottom line, and thus an effect on talent and recruitment. To get ahead of this, companies need to create a culture of acceptance and encouragement on all levels when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Reviewing and revising your internal Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and procedures is a great way to start.

What does this look like? Get audited. Examine your gender balance within your company, identify departments that need attention, and update your policies to ensure equal representation. Critically assess your recruitment processes and create a plan to ensure you’re hiring employees from an intersectional and diverse talent pool.

You can work with third party organisations to complete non-biased audits. The value is that actions taken as part of the journey aren’t subjective – they’re based on fact. This is important because the Women in the Workplace 2018 study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company showed that only 38% of companies set targets for gender representation, and a mere 12% share a majority of gender diversity metrics with their employees, even though transparency signals a company’s commitment to change.

In 2018, Ceridian was awarded global EDGE ASSESS Certification for Gender Equality in the Workplace after a rigorous third-party evaluation. Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) is the leading global and business certification standard for evaluating corporate commitment to gender equality.

Holding the EDGE Certification shows our stakeholders that we’re not only committed to a culture of equality, but that we will take the learnings and implement them. We are proud that over half of our North American workforce is female (53% in Canada, 58% in U.S. as of 2018).

Related: What does it mean to be EDGE Certified, and why is Ceridian doing it?

  1. Initiate programs within your organization that allow women to thrive

Women need both formal and informal support networks in the workplace to thrive. This goes beyond having a manager who will advocate for and help develop her talent. Organisations need their programs to reflect acceptance of, and flexibility for, an individual employee’s needs.  

Our Ceridian Women’s Network, one of our YOUnity programs (our diversity and inclusions program), lets our global employees come together to talk about issues related to workplace equality – including the more uncomfortable topics. We have many employee resource groups representing employee interests and the intersectionality of our people.

Flexible work arrangements and flexible time off programs benefit all employees, and are proven to motivate, increase productivity, and attract top talent. A recent study shows that 70% of women who left their workplace said they would still be there if they had been trusted with flexibility.

In 2018 Ceridian introduced a new “Time Away From Work” program, which gives employees the flexibility and freedom to take time off when they need it.

Related: To change the equality game, it’s time to get better at supporting working parents

  1. Take steps towards pay equality, and work toward gender parity

Part of your organization’s audit may include measuring and analyzing your gender pay gap and gender parity.

In 2017, full-time female employees made only 82% of their male counterparts’ salaries – with the gap being even worse for women of color. There is no doubt that gender parity is one of the most pertinent issues in the workplace. Organisations need to establish clear salary guidelines for all positions across its hierarchy – and work to implement them regardless of gender, race, or any other discriminatory factors.  

Leading companies are using technology to address compensation and to objectively analyze their pay gap and take steps to address it. These technology tools also provide managers with insights to take corrective action to pay their people fairly.

Learn more about leveraging data to examine performance, pay equity, and more.

  1. Showcase your success, and advocate for your female leaders and employees

Showcase what your organization has achieved. Awards, for example, show the world – your current and future employees and customers – that your company is an active player and innovator in the gender equality sphere. It’s as simple as this: show you care, and show the success of your female leaders.

By partnering with impactful organisations, improving your CSR initiatives through third-party audits and certifications, implementing female advocacy programs and flexibility options, and taking the steps to pay your people fairly, you’re on the path to be a change-maker.

Ceridian is proud of the steps we’ve taken in the past few years – and with these actions, our awards and designations reinforce our commitment to progress. Last year, our Chief People and Culture Officer Lisa Sterling was named a Working Mother of the Year – an award given to successful role models who advocate for working parents in their organization. Ceridian has also earned spots on the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list and Best Workplaces™ for Women, by Great Place to Work®

Learn more about what Ceridian is doing for #BalanceForBetter here.

Rachel Kreuter

Rachel is the Community Engagement Coordinator, Communications at Ceridian

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