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How to Work Towards Gender Diversity in the Workplace

Recruiters often consider cultural and racial diversity when building an inclusive workforce. Gender, too, should be taken into account when looking for great talent. According to research by McKinsey, companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 21% more likely to report above-average profits. To cultivate gender diversity in your workplace, consider the following nine methods.

1. Go where untapped groups congregate. To recruit untapped talent, you have to show up where they are. Top brands have seen success by partnering with colleges, industry associations, and nonprofits. Through partnerships with minority-serving organizations, you can access a pool of potential employees from underrepresented gender groups.

2. In job advertisements, use language that resonates with different candidate demographics. Language in job descriptions can either attract or discourage underrepresented candidates from applying. Our research, for instance, shows that male candidates are 27% more likely to apply for jobs than female candidates. To recruit more female employees, adjust the language of your job advertisements. Instead of using stereotypically masculine words—like ambitious, competitive, and confident—consider using more feminine words—like honest, loyal, and cooperative.  

3. Apply blind hiring techniques to avoid subconscious bias. Despite the best intentions, everyone harbors biases—even if they aren’t aware of them. To reduce bias in recruitment, consider adopting a blind approach to hiring. Using a blind approach, talent professionals hide identification information on resumes—such as names, addresses, dates of birth, and locations. This way, they do not use these factors to evaluate candidates. Blind interviews, too, can allow candidates to anonymously and virtually answer initial screening questions. Together, these techniques can cultivate a candidate pool based on merit, not bias.

4. Close the pay gap. Despite the progress women have made in the workforce, a significant pay gap persists. On average, women earn $0.81 to every dollar that is earned by men. If a pay gap exists in your workplace, it could be hurting your hiring. According to research by Lean In, almost a third of workers will not apply to a company with a gender pay discrepancy. To ensure equal pay for underrepresented gender groups, companies can:

    - Analyze compensation by gender to address pay gaps

    - Establish fair hiring and promotion processes

    - Encourage and applaud underrepresented gender groups when negotiating for higher pay

5. Use exit interview information. Exit interviews offer a view into how your organization grades to different genders. Employers can use information from exit interviews to understand why women and nonbinary folks are leaving the organization. If you can identify patterns, then you can take action on those areas where you're failing to be inclusive. 

6. Rethink gender-related policies. It may be time for your organization to rethink gender-related policies. For example, if your workplace has a dress code, consider how to make it gender-neutral. You can do this by reworking the policy around business concerns, such as wearing colors that represent the company’s brand. You may also need to review policies related to bathrooms or locker rooms, to ensure that all genders feel comfortable.

7. Address and take action on sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement has raised more awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace. However, awareness is not enough; individual organizations must build and enforce strong policies. Companies should also create a space where employees can safely report complaints and concerns.

8. Support transitioning employees. Going through a transition is a big step. To be more inclusive, create policies that support employees as they undergo transition. To do this, you can provide accommodations, such as remote work and paid leave. You can also provide a private space at work to take needed hormone injections.

9. Create mentoring programs. Women, non-binary, and transgender employees would benefit from a mentoring program with leadership. With access to executive mentors, underrepresented employees can build career-building skills and relationships. 

Hundreds of company partners are using our platform to connect, source, and engage top underrepresented talent, and even more are already a part of our Communities.

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