Not enough Australian businesses are providing the right support to allow women to reach their potential in the workplace, says ASPL Group CEO Kris Grant.
Ms Grant says businesses leaders must look at their inclusion and diversity statements and question if they’re making their workplaces more fair and equal, as intended.
“All too often I see HR strategies and policies about what businesses will do to support increased inclusion and diversity in their workplaces, which is really promising,” Ms Grant says.
“Unfortunately, when asked what is actually physically being done, these ideas often fail to move from the paper or website they’re written on.
“Women, especially are facing increased challenges and pressures in the workforce due to COVID-19. The boundaries between work and home life have blurred – and in some cases – been completely erased.
“Equality policies need to address these issues and ensure they are creating more opportunities for women at work.”
How can businesses improve their support for women?
Ms Grant said businesses could make positive change on the roads towards gender equality by actioning the following strategies she recommends to her management consultancy and coaching clients:
- Switch on your EQ: “Managers need to be trained to switch on their emotional intelligence (EQ) and know when to check in on staff and their wellbeing. There is no time to wait until later to have difficult conversations, especially during COVID.
- Learn about unconscious bias: “Talking about discrimination and unconscious bias raises uncomfortable issues. Only by acknowledging these beliefs and becoming aware of them, can you start to challenge these issues and begin making positive change which will benefit your workplace culture.
- Invest in your people: “Show your staff that you value them and invest in their professional development. For women, specialist executive coaching can teach aspiring female execs to ‘lean in’ and overcome common issues such as ‘imposter syndrome’ which could be excluding them from career progression.
- Celebrate success: “Celebrate the wins and share the journeys along the way. To build a strong and supportive culture where staff feel valued and are provided with equal opportunities to grow and advance, celebrate and share staff achievements to foster a positive team environment.”