The days when women had to fight for the right to vote, the right to work and indeed the right to open their own bank account may be behind us, but even now full equality between the sexes is still a long way off. All the more reason to mark International Women’s Day, which takes place this year on 8 March. In many cases, women are not afforded the same opportunities as their male colleagues, despite holding the same qualifications. We still have a lot of ground to catch up in this area. So how can companies prevent this (sometimes inadvertent) gender inequality and offer genuinely equal opportunities to everyone?
Women make up around 51% of the UK’s population, but they are underrepresented in many areas of life. From the gender pay gap to the gender care gap, the inequality that exists between men and women can quickly and easily be quantified. One example is the adjusted gender pay gap, which calculates the difference in earnings between men and women with comparable qualifications, jobs and employment histories. In the UK, the gender pay gap is 7.4% among full time employees and 15.5% of all employees. Similar inequality can be seen in the number of women in management positions. The CEO gender gap indicates that only 5% of senior jobs at big companies are held by women. This is not just a problem in the world of senior management either. In the UK government, only 34% of MPs are women. At a global level, this means that the UK only ranks at 38th place. Added to this is the fact that women are more likely than men to be carrying out unpaid care work, they are often left with the responsibility of looking after their children, for example, or family members in need of care. On average, women carry out approximately 52.4% more unpaid care work than men. As a result, they are often at a financial disadvantage, as less work at lower pay means lower pension contributions.
What concrete action can companies take to advance gender equality?
Many of these problems appear to be rooted in our society. But since we often find them creeping into the workplace, we have to ask ourselves: how can companies overcome inequalities in pay and work opportunities?
A frequent argument for why women earn less than men is that women tend to be employed in lower-paid professions and/or on a part-time basis. This may be part of the problem, but it does not show the whole picture. The adjusted gender pay gap has been designed specifically to filter out these differences and compare the salary discrepancy in similar employment situations. In many cases, this outcome is based on salary negotiations – and not on a transparent, universally accessible policy indexed to qualifications and professional experience.
But addressing this discrepancy will not be enough to increase the proportion of women at executive level in UK companies. Everyone knows that it will take time to achieve a fairer representation of women here. In the long term, though, it clearly makes sense to have more women on the management teams of UK companies. Why? Because for one thing, all-male teams are not reflective of our society. It has also been proven that the number of women on a team determines the collective intelligence of that team. A 2011 Harvard University study entitled “What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women” showed that teams with a larger number of women benefitted from greater collective intelligence. Having highly qualified women at the management levels of our companies has an impact therefore not only on the image of the company, but also on its success.
Living diversity in today’s working world
The demographics clearly show that our society is diverse rather than homogeneous. Companies should not ignore this fact, but should instead strive to reflect it in their workforce. If a company has made a commitment to diversity, it will have to make some adjustments at defining points to deliver on that commitment. Examples are being set here by a number of companies, including UK-based social media management company, Buffer, which commit to publishing every employee’s salary online to ensure fairness and media company, Sky and its Women in Leadership programme, which commits to engage 50% of women in leadership roles.
The pandemic has also driven many UK companies to adopt flexible working models. Even companies with more of a conservative leaning, which had previously never given their employees the option to work from home, were forced to change their approach at very short notice. In the post-pandemic era, such companies cannot allow themselves to go back to their pre-coronavirus working practices. Their employees will have grown accustomed to the newly won freedoms and opportunities of working from home, and will not want to give them up. But in the UK in particular, while the home office trend has helped to advance digitalisation, women that had to balance childcare with work duties may have struggled, hindering diversity even more. Companies must mitigate this potential setback by laying the groundwork now, having open discussions about what needs to change.
Diversity and inclusion are also high priorities for Cornerstone OnDemand. All roles have been re-considered and divided into levels in a bid to eliminate the gender pay gap. Employees that hold the same position receive the same salary and the same number of company shares. Differences only exist when it comes to bonus payments – but here too, the amount is determined by performance and not by gender. In addition, managers are judged on how they build their teams as part of their performance appraisal. Diversity and inclusion are important factors here. As Cornerstone wants its teams to be as diverse as possible, deciding between similarly qualified male and female applicants can be difficult and requires extremely careful consideration. No individual should be discriminated against based on their gender.
Flexible working models and the opportunity to work from home have become established practices at Cornerstone. For us, set working hours are a thing of the past. Cornerstone employees can arrange their working hours around the needs of their children, so that parents can combine working full-time with family life. This concept has been very well received according to the results of the Future of Work survey, which Cornerstone conducts among its employees every three months. This survey gives us a regular opportunity to learn what our employees want from us and how we can make improvements over time.
Equality is not just something that improves the lives of women. Men, too, can gain many benefits from the long overdue establishment of gender equal. Diverse teams increase collaboration efficiency, flexible working models enable more full-time positions, and transparent salary models mean fair pay for everyone. In summary, diversity is no longer just “nice to have”; it has become a must have for all companies.
If you would like to find out more about the topic of diversity, I recommend reading “Get Diversity right! 3 things HR needs to consider” and “7 ways to put DEIB at the centre of your recruiting strategy” to learn about how to boost diversity in your organisation. You can also check out the latest series of the HR Labs podcast, which explores further topics and conversations within diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging.
This blog was originally published in the Cornerstone German blog.
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Employee goal setting template
Creating effective goals for your employees can be hard. To set effective employee goals you should: Create goals in consultation with your employee. As you discuss and refine the goals, you're exchanging "bigger picture" information about both of your expectations, and coming to consensus. Tailor the level of detail you capture to your employee's needs. A more senior or autonomous employee will need less detail than a less experienced or less independent employee. Write goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). Make sure that goals are achievable both individually and as a group. Assigning too many goals, even though each one might be achievable on its own, sets the employee up for failure. Start with the end result in mind and clearly identify how success will be measured. Always link individual employee goals to the higher-level organizational goals they are designed to support, so the employee has a clear context for their work. To help you out, we've created an employee goal setting template that prompts you for all the information you should discuss and document when setting goals with your employees.
Empowered Employees: How to Increase Motivation in the New Normal
From the initial phases of transitioning to fully remote work to changes in communications, training and reviews, leaders have needed to make significant changes to equip team members for success. Following our discussion of the performance management trends in the new normal and the tactics you can employ to improve morale and keep up with your team members, we’re looking at what it takes to keep staff motivated. From an increased focus on employee reward programs to expanded allowances and subscriptions, leaders have a variety of opportunities to encourage workers in the era of Zoom fatigue and social isolation. Reevaluating Employee Rewards Programs Your organization likely faced financial struggles throughout the pandemic. After all, it’s not easy to keep revenues stable—especially when many states haven’t pivoted to a full reopening of the economy. While revenue may be short, personal stressors are long. Employees are anxious about the future of the business and their jobs. Layoffs and furloughs have probably cut into your company morale, and many still dread the other shoe dropping. Top Spenders Put $0.53 per $1,000 Revenue in Rewards and Retention Understandably, despite a decrease in revenue, one area you shouldn’t cut is the employee rewards program. As discussed in a recent CFO article, HR leaders are realizing that one of the most critical areas to maintain or even increase spending is their rewards program. Citing research from APQC, the top 25 percent of performers spend more than three times those in the bottom 25 percent and have helped employees feel more confident in the future. "APQC found that companies in the 75th percentile spend the most on this process at $0.53 per $1,000 revenue. Companies within the median spend $0.33 per $1,000 revenue, while those in the 25th percentile spend $0.17 or less." – Perry D. Wiggins, CPA, writing for CFO Even a Small Gesture Pays Dividends in Loyalty The CFO article goes on to add that even a small increase to benefits and rewards goes a long way, and there are plenty of more minor gestures that mean a great deal to employees during a difficult time. APQC expert Lisa Ryan adds, "The precedent that you are setting right now with your employees may determine their future loyalty to you when this is over. Are you creating an environment that they want to stay in or the kind that makes them want to leave? [...] Showing care for your employees to the extent that you are able is one of the best ways to create the kind of environment that employees are proud to call home." It Doesn’t Even Have to Be Monetary Depending on how much you have in your coffers, you may not be able to spend on new rewards. While yes, increased benefits can go a long way, being able to show that you have your employees’ backs may work as well. In fact, as discussed in a Rework blog, Jeff Miller, chief learning officer & VP, organizational effectiveness at Cornerstone, said that there are ways to build engagement and motivation outside of providing monetary benefits. Citing Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk, Miller highlights three takeaways, most notably the following: The Mismatch Between Psychology and Business – According to Pink, social psychologists have proven incentive-based rewards not only fail to inspire but can also dull thinking and block creativity. Three Elements of Motivation – Scientists who study motivation have found these three elements are key to motivate people intrinsically: 1) People want more autonomy. 2) They want to master their craft. 3) They want to be part of something bigger. Ask how you can deliver. Traditional Management Drives Compliance; Self-Direction is Key to Engagement – In today's "always-on" world of work, employers often struggle to find the best way to engage their employees. Pink explains that providing employees with autonomy can inspire more personal investment in the work. Self-direction, mastery and a demonstrated connection between employee growth and company success are three things that can be addressed by our next motivator—optional training. Optional Training: Connect Mastery with Self-Direction Employees want to grow, and they want to feel like their employers stand behind them. Stagnation can kill careers, demoralize your workforce, and hold back your company. Growth requires change—and change requires employees to understand how they can do it. Employees want to learn. According to LinkedIn, employees are spending 130 percent more time learning, and this can do a lot to match the skills gap—with nearly two-thirds of learning and development pros noting that reskilling the current workforce to fill skills gaps is more of a priority than ever before. While mandatory training should be part of your business strategy, optional training takes a different approach—connecting personal and professional growth. Self-directed and designed to encourage mastery and diversity, employing optional learning initiatives can reinforce your commitment to your staff—often with little cost. Cornerstone Cares: A Free Platform to Encourage Growth There are many free resources available to help encourage mastery and growth. But one learning platform you may have missed is the learning platform developed by the leaders in learning—Cornerstone. In response to current events and to support our community, Cornerstone launched a free online public learning platform where you can access essential training anytime, anywhere. Cornerstone Cares is just one way to help leaders and staff focus on personal and professional growth. Delivering timely, essential training resources, Cornerstone Cares features online courses designed to help you protect yourself and others from the coronavirus, practice self-care to manage the stress and isolation of quarantine, stay productive while working from home and mitigate or eliminate unconscious biases. Allowances and Subscriptions: Benefits in the Remote Era Though money may be tight, there are many affordable ways to connect with your employees when working from home. You have to rethink the perks you used to offer, like lunches, on-site gym memberships and telecommuting, which used to be a perk in its own right before it became mandatory. Reevaluating the Usefulness of Pre-Pandemic Perks As noted by Recruiting Daily, employers and HR leaders need to "reassess all benefits initiatives to ensure they still serve their purpose in a remote-first world. Benefits and rewards should reflect the values of an organization as well as speak to the majority of people who work at the company." The Remote.com 2020 Global Workforce Revolution Report showed that many employees are looking for support even after the pandemic, with 81 percent of respondents indicating that they would move if they could do so without affecting their work prospects. From health and wellness to expanded support for remote workers, the most important benefit continues to be access to healthcare (48 percent). Additionally, 38 percent of employees want their company to offer a home office allowance, and 38 percent also want personal development plans or learning development allowances. Supporting Continued Use of the Home Office Employees are often paying out of pocket to provide things they normally received in an office environment. Consider whether additional stipends could be offered to keep up with printer maintenance, paper supplies, and even home WiFi and energy bills. Tie Perks to Company Values But regardless of how you approach your perks, make sure these align with company values. Being able to ask yourself who you are as an employer will drive change. An employer that focuses on empowerment will offer virtual learning opportunities, while another that focuses on creativity will do whatever they can to stoke creative flames. However you approach aligning perks and values, it pays to find affordable and engaging ways to connect with your staff. Cornerstone and Educe: Learning, Thriving, and Performing Performance Management has always been a challenge. But with the recent events, many have risen to this challenge. But much like the transition to work in the new normal, the landscape for operating in it will require the right tools, tactics, and processes to get where you want to be. If you’re looking to put your business in a position for long-term success, Cornerstone and the Educe Group can help. By relying on a leading service provider to implement one of the world’s most powerful talent management platforms, you can empower your users and make the most of your Cornerstone investment. As a Cornerstone partner for over five years, Educe helps organizations at every level better understand and fully leverage Cornerstone’s powerful talent management capabilities. To keep learning more about motivating people at work, watch this video of Stacie Grasberger, associate at The Educe Group, and Hendrik Thomas, senior product manager at Cornerstone, discussing how you can address career development in your workplace. Contact us to learn more about how Educe can help you make the most of your Cornerstone investment.
How to give (and get) feedback
Giving feedback can be scary, whether you're a manager trying to deliver constructive feedback or an employee who needs to give upward feedback. But it's important that managers and employees do it, no matter how intimidating the process might be. When done well, constructive feedback and meaningful recognition help employees grow and develop their skills. These conversations also help build trust in work relationships and improve employee engagement. Take the fear out of feedback To help everyone in your workplace get more comfortable with employee feedback check out our eBook, How to give (and get) feedback. It outlines tips and best practices, including: How to give and receive constructive feedback How to give and receive positive feedback How to give upward feedback Handy feedback models for giving constructive and positive feedback Feedback dos and don'ts The eBook also includes real-world examples that show how to initiate these kinds of performance conversations with the intent to help the recipient improve and succeed. You'll also learn the important role recognition plays in making constructive feedback more impactful. You'll learn how to make employee recognition meaningful and get creative recognition ideas you can use to show employees they're valued. The benefits of effective feedback Feedback is a valuable gift - one that can help improve employee satisfaction, retention and productivity. Download this eBook to learn how continuous feedback between managers and employees can build trusted relationships and positively affect performance.