How do You Achieve Gender Diversity in the Workplace?
Five Tips from the Supply Chain Industry
Gender diversity is now a major issue on the agenda for most businesses, but nevertheless a complicated matter that few have solved. Women still represent only 39% of the Supply Chain workforce according to a Gartner survey in 2019 and this is something we know needs to change.
We’ve spoken to female leaders in the supply chain industry to get their tips on how to drive this change. These are their insights.
1) Create an environment open to everyone
It is not enough to just say that you want more women in leadership roles, you have to make changes that support this happening. All employees will require flexibility at some point, and women who have families (or are thinking of having them) even more so. If you have an environment that requires people to be in the office 5 days a week with set hours, for example, this may not work for everyone. Focussing on creating an environment where there is a flexible and open approach to working will have long term benefits across the board.
2) Play the long game
There is not going to be a flood of female talent on the market overnight, especially in the key areas of Manufacturing and Logistics, which have been highlighted to us as those with the greatest need in this area. However, connecting with high potential candidates early in their career can prove beneficial. Woman tend to be more likely to stay with companies longer but when feeling ready, will make the move and can become fantastic leaders. Some women are also open-minded to working in other areas of the supply chain than the one they’re used to. It can be worth approaching them with an opportunity that lies beyond their current expertise and keep in touch for the long-term.
3) Highlight role models
Chances are you already have some exceptional female talent in your businesses – but is enough being done to recognise them and highlight their careers to others? It’s almost impossible to mirror what you don’t see. If we want women to step up into leadership roles, it pays to let them have access to people who have already succeeded in doing so.
The same applies for your recruitment process- if the whole interview panel and everyone involved is male but you are talking about the importance of diversity, it makes sense to have more equal representation at this stage as well.
4) Create communities
It’s vital to have a strong network of other female professionals to call on for advice, ideas and recommendations. There are some great groups dedicated to women in supply chain. Make sure your business has a presence in these groups, use them, ask for help. These could be internal cross-functional groups or functional and industry-specific external networks such as LEAD or BOOM!. As a business, being involved in these groups shows your commitment to change, but also enables a broader conversation with the people involved in making that change.
5) Consider your recruitment plans/processes
Change doesn’t happen right away. If you are using a recruitment agency, targets for a more diverse candidate shortlist is one way to ensure you get access to the right talent. But to have a real long-term impact on your teams, you need to be thinking in advance. Look at your succession planning; are there females being considered for all key roles? If not, what can you do to engage your internal talent first and foremost, so they know about the opportunities being made available to them?
We all know timing and agility in the hiring strategy is key for a successful hire. To stand the best chance of finding excellent female talent at the right time, it will pay off to continually build your external network. Using a recruitment partner (such as Pod Talent) to track and share the profiles of the best talent regularly, means you can engage with these women and start building relationships.
So how do we help solve this issue?
We’re planning a proactive way to pipeline female talent for our partner businesses, for both active roles and ones that might become available in the future. We believe our method will give you a better opportunity to improve gender diversity within your supply chain and improve your visibility of talent in the market place.
We are interested to hear your thoughts as well. What more do you think can be done to improve this gender imbalance? To find out more about our solution and discuss your thoughts please contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.