International Women’s Day in the workplace should be about supporting women!

Today is March 8th, 2021 and there will be a lot of celebratory messages to women. As a woman who has spent 3 decades working outside the home and several years focused on increasing my education, it still pains me that women typically make less money than males for a similar job – especially if they happen to be black or hispanic like me. It also pains me that the pay gap gets larger as their career progress. Meaning even when females get promoted the difference in what they make vs their male coworkers gets larger. So here are some recommendations for a more actionable celebration of women at the workplace:

  1. Unconscious Bias. Be mindful of your unconscious biases. If you think you have no biases, that probably means you have a blind spot. We all have unconscious biases. Learn more about this topic and how to overcome them.
  2. Hiring. Diversity in hiring needs to be intentional. If all the resumes you are seeing after they have passed through the selection algorithm and the recruiter’s assessment tend to represent only a segment of the population (i.e.: white men), please go back to your recruiters and ask for a more diverse pool of candidates. They are there and you will find them. Sometimes their resumes are just not getting through.
  3. Data. Ideally organizations should be looking at data examining how their compensation and promotion practices differ by gender, race, age, etc. But even if your organization does not publish this data, if you are a manager you can still look at your team’s data to determine if there are some imbalances.
    • Run a compensation report on your team members and sort the data by salary within Salary Bands. Examine each of the groups (by salary band) carefully. Are most of the people on the bottom of the list females or minorities?
    • Now sort the data by time since last promotion. Are most of the people on the bottom of the list females or minorities?
    • Now go deeper. Look at the individuals’ background: academic degrees, years of experience, performance reviews and use that information to determine if the imbalances are warranted. Here is a cool exercise. Remove names and replace with a code. Now look at the data without the names. Is the salary and promotion data in alignment with what every individual brings to the organization?
    • Keep this in mind for the next promotion cycle. You may have an opportunity to rectify previous imbalances.
  4. Be a sponsor. Not just a mentor. Make sure you are providing opportunities to bring diverse pools of people to work on strategic assignments, and give visibility to them. Sometimes your best employees are not necessarily the most vocal ones. Help get theirs voices heard.

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