In the past, most companies believed that women were incapable of handling tasks that involved labour and manual effort. But now scenarios have changed, thanks to the increased awareness on gender diversity in the industry, companies today have realised the importance of women into their businesses, particularly into senior and mid-level leadership positions.
According to Han Digital Research, 93% of companies in India have diversity agendas, however, 7% of companies are still mired in gender discrimination.
While speaking to Malathi, our client and a talent acquisition manager with a tier 1 firm, I realised that women are discriminated in industries even today. Malathi, who has been working in the recruitment industry for 13 years now has seen the HR industry, particularly in India, evolve tremendously. She says that spreading awareness on gender equality and gender neutral policies has helped India dig its way out of patriarchal norms.
According to Malathi, hiring women candidates has always been a complex task as the recruiters take into consideration several constraints like time, transport etc. Some of the common problems that recruiters might face before hiring women are:
· Change in Employee Value Proposition (EVP) during the various stages of recruitment. It should not reflect the reality of being an employed woman
· Prejudices that prevent talent acquisition managers from making unbiased decisions
· Company benefits aren’t equal for men and women at work
· Security concerns and safety issues
· Women employees and applicants have an uncomfortable experience at work
· The product/service developed is not appealing to a certain demographic (women)
· Training initiatives might not be personalised to progressing a woman employee through the business.
· Management not recognising the talent of female employees etc.
Therefore, to tackle these problems, what practical steps can companies follow to make their work culture and environment gender neutral. Here are some pointers that Malathi and I compiled together:
Ø Train your workforce
Educating your workforce on gender equality is fundamental to your organisation. Ensure active participation from every employee as the subtlest instances of any preconceived notion can eventually end up affecting the big picture. Furthermore, you must also see to it that, as a gender-sensitive hiring manager yourself, you must give the right amount of training to recruiters and other subordinates i.e. by introducing them to diverse and unique recruitment strategies precisely for women.
Ø Liberal work culture
Building up an inclusive and liberal work culture will help you to incorporate the best business practices and allow your company to adopt policies on employee equality and gender diversity. A dynamic work culture will assist women in voicing their concerns, if they have any, and enable them to contribute effectively to the company.
Ø Reaching out to people
Sounds very routine, but the best way to make your company support gender neutrality is to reach out to the public via social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Glassdoor. Several MNCs like Godrej, IBM, Lenovo and Google etc. have in-house resource groups which support the LGBT community and women rights.
Another method of reaching out to the public is by providing internship opportunities to young women. This is a good way to educate then around your business and offer them an insight about potential opportunities for their future ahead.
Ø Company branding
Promoting your company is key with regards to delivering your diversity programmes to the public. However, your promotions shouldn’t sound like an advertisement, instead it must be more of a moral education and social responsibility. To make this agenda a success, you can use successful profiles of women from your own organisation and work with them to convey their stories and to help endorse your company as a great employer for women.
Ø Benefits to women employees
Some of the attractive features that most candidates seek, particularly women, is the benefits that a company has on offer for them. Women tend to seek opportunities that will help them support their daily needs. Flexibility in work timings such as preferential working hours, part-time working hours and work from home facilities are some of the perks that most candidates seek.
However, flexible working hours can come in diverse timings. What keeps these initiatives from being a success is unclear work policies, cynical managers and senior staff with a rigid managerial approach.
Security is also an important concern listed in benefits. Women candidates, in India, are more upfront in seeking transportation as benefit during late working hours.
Ø Women grievance redressal system
Lastly, before hiring women candidates, hiring managers and recruiters must inform them about the in-house women grievance redressal system. This will give women employees the needed security and the right to raise their concern in case they face any discrimination. A resource group solely devoted to women problems can help your company to recognise the potential of its employees and formulate policies conducive to the welfare of women.
These tips can surely help your company recognise the hidden potential of women employees within your organisation. Almost all companies these days follow these tips, however, there are start-ups and mid-sized enterprises that find it hard to keep up with these problems. Are you one of them?
We can help your company formulate gender neutral policies. Out talent experts at Han Digital Solution can assist you in developing strategies in favour of women. We can also help you hire the best candidates through our trendy and updates recruitment services. For more information, do get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org