Best Practices for Accelerating Gender Balance in the Workplace

By: Rohini Anand
Feb 6, 2017 11:35 AM ET

Early this year McKinsey and  released their  Women in the Workplace report, which found that women remain underrepresented across organizations—especially at senior levels of leadership. According to the report, women “experience an uneven playing field, with their odds of advancement lower at every level; there is a persistent leadership gap in the most senior roles; gender diversity is not widely believed to be a priority; and while employee programs designed to help balance work and family are abundant, participation is low among both sexes due to concerns that using them will negatively affect their careers.”

Advancing gender balance, especially within the ranks of leadership, must be intentional and requires commitment at the most senior levels of the organization. Some best practices that can help to increase women’s representation in leadership positions include:

  • Enhancing the female talent pipeline through active sponsorship, visible stretch assignments and by championing mentoring for women to advance their careers
  • Making gender diversity a visible priority by incorporating it in leadership communications
  • Fostering a culture of flexibility by positioning work life effectiveness as a key lever for engaging all employees
  • Creating an inclusive culture where gender networks provide opportunities for networking, development and engagement
  • Partnering with Human Resources to ensure that processes to hire, promote, engage and retain talent are gender neutral and address any unconscious bias that might exist in the deployment of these processes.

At Sodexo, gender balance is not only a core value, but also a key business and performance driver.  Sodexo’s gender strategy is spearheaded by Sodexo Women’s International Forum for Talent (SWIFt), an advisory board dedicated to promoting the advancement of women globally, with a focus on women in operational and P&L roles, two areas where women are traditionally underrepresented. To learn more about SWIFt and other inclusive initiatives at Sodexo, please visit our Global Diversity and Inclusion Report.

How are you promoting gender balance in your workplace? Share your ideas in the comments.