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In view of International Women’s Day, Roslyn Ten, general manager, Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), jots down a checklist for companies to get gender diversity right.
#1 Review HR policies to remove gender preference and bias
As a start, employers need to review their existing HR practices for any forms of gender bias. Employment policies and practices which benefit men should, benefit women equally. These include identifying talent early in their career and providing developmental opportunities for both genders. Employers also have to beware of their own unconscious biases, which may colour their decision and policy making.
#2 Recognise the value women talent bring
Embracing an inclusive, diversified workforce enhances business performance and injects a myriad of perspectives to the workplace. The diversity in perspectives is beneficial to organisations, especially at the senior levels where important decisions are made. Moreover, employers should continue to nurture their female talent by having a long-term career development plan. This will help further hone their skills to take on senior leadership positions.
#3 Demonstrate commitment to build an inclusive workforce free of gender stereotypes
Management needs to set themselves as role models and stay committed to having an inclusive workforce on the leadership’s agenda. The commitment needs to be communicated effectively to ensure the same level of commitment throughout the rest of the organisation. Organisations that show empathy to working mums and provide them with the necessary support and flexibility to fulfil their care-giving responsibilities will likely to see these female employees going the extra mile to help the organisation grow. Employers who need guidance to implement diversity policies can refer to TAFEP’s “Creating an Inclusive Workplace: A Start-Up Kit” for more details.
#4 Benchmark policies and programmes against other progressive employers
To ensure continuous improvements in their diversity and inclusion policies, companies should make a conscious effort to benchmark themselves against other progressive employers. This enables employers to keep abreast of the leading practices as well as the changes in today’s dynamic manpower landscape.
Employers can refer to TAFEP’s publication “The Journey to the Top: Conversations with Successful Singaporean Women” to get an insight to how companies can empower their female talent and how women can successfully overcome barriers to leadership roles.