How your people data can help improve gender equality and diversity in the workplace

26 October 2020 - Reading time: 5 Minutes

HR management

Achieving gender equality and diversity is a priority for smart business leaders. 

UK organisations with 250+ people are now required to calculate and share statistics on the gender pay gap (measured by hourly pay, bonuses and on the proportion of male and female employees in each pay quartile) but improving gender equality and diversity goes beyond publishing figures.

Focusing on the analytical capability of the Payroll and HR functions, this blog outlines the power of your people data to help create a fairer, inclusive and more productive workplace.

Why gender equality and diversity matter

Gender discrimination is illegal and unethical, yet the gender pay gap ‘remains stubbornly high’ (source: CIPD). When women are under-represented in executive positions, they have less of an influence on policy making that affects the rest of the workforce.

Diverse teams are better at problem solving, decision-making and performing against objectives (source: CIPHR) and when your employees represent all walks of life, you can better understand and serve your own customers.

According to a recent Glassdoor survey, more than half (59%) of hiring decision-makers at UK organisations said that a lack of investment in diversity and inclusion was a barrier to attracting high-quality candidates. Remember that men, too, can be under-represented or stifled in the workplace.

Improving gender equality and diversity does not mean introducing tactics purely to meet targets. Forward-thinking organisations seek a sustainable and on-going talent stream from recruitment to business continuity plans.

Throughout the employee lifecycle, both women and men need access to fair, inclusive and non-biased opportunities encompassing selection, remuneration, mentoring, career progression and flexible working.

The power of Payroll & HR data – if you can measure it, you can manage it

By ensuring your Payroll & HR solution is technologically sound and integrated, you can uncover incredible insight that goes beyond mandatory reporting to aid strategic decision-making.

Overlaying HR data with payroll data provides the mix of ‘human’ information (teams, demographics etc.) with financial (salaries, benefits etc.). The visibility of key information at a glance such as organisational charts and the ability to drill down into data facilitates standard and ad-hoc reporting that’s accurate and current.

Just some of the gender split bench marking you could monitor includes:

  • Job applications and shortlisting
  • Career development, promotion and demotion (i.e. step down from management)
  • Take-up of parental leave
  • Teams that are male or female dominant
  • Salaries, pay rises and bonuses
  • Percentage of employees working part-time or flexibly
  • Employees ready for promotion
  • Team performance
  • Where top talent sits
  • Resignation triggers

These insights help you to decide where there are inequalities or imbalances and work towards strategic solutions. Organisations may publish quarterly findings on the gender pay gap (and other benchmarking) to stay on top of equality and diversity KPIs. This improves transparency, trust and accountability. 

Actions to drive gender equality and diversity

Knowing your organisation’s culture and accurate people data, you can ensure change happens at the pace it needs to. Actions to drive gender equality and diversity include:

Fair recruitment and pay

Review job advertisements and selection processes to avoid unconscious bias and wording that attracts a specific gender. To ‘design out’ bias, ensure recruitment is not solely subjective. Set practical tasks with a scoring mechanism to fairly compare candidates’ performance. As women are less likely to negotiate their pay (source: gov.co.uk), employers should make clear the salary range and encourage negotiation. Flexible working

Think innovatively to attract talent

Flexi time extends beyond part-time to include mobile working, remote working, job sharing, term-time working and more. Managers may need training to embrace flexible working so that it works in practice and sets a positive precedent. Also think about how to communicate flexible working options to both men and women so that the whole workforce can benefit and be more productive.

Careers and performance management

Be transparent about your organisation’s promotion, pay and reward processes. Discuss and publish career paths so it is clear what employees need to achieve to progress.

Implement mentoring programmes or apprenticeship schemes to optimise the potential of employees who may be feeling held back from progressing to or maintaining leadership roles. If you wait for workers to ask for promotion, women aren’t as likely to push for it.

Talent management

Ensure that you know where your top talent sits. Proactively identify people who may be suitable for promotions, ensuring you have clear succession plans in place especially for key roles. Know what teams have skills gaps and who would bring diversity rather than who would ‘fit in’. Increase engagement and retention by enabling your managers and employees to create goals together.

Appoint diversity task forces

Consider introducing suitably empowered and experienced diversity managers and task forces. Their role is to monitor and develop your organisation’s processes to achieve objectives such as eliminating biased decisions and improving transparency and accountability. Current and historical people data is crucial to facilitate this effectively.

Summary

Tackling gender equality and diversity is a marathon, not a sprint, but change needs to happen to maximise the value of your people and create an inclusive and sustainable workforce.

This blog only skims the surface of gender equality and diversity in the workplace; they are complex issues and impacted by deep-rooted societal beliefs and organisational culture. However, it’s clear that integrated Payroll & HR data is key to benchmark diversity, create action plans and monitor improvement.

If you think your people data could be working harder to drive equality and diversity, talk to the payroll people about best-of-breed Payroll & HR solutions. Create a thriving workforce with fair opportunities for all through real-time, actionable insight.

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