As a global organization, investing in diversity and equality are top priorities for Ceridian. I’m proud of what we have done thus far to support gender equality in the workplace – whether it’s putting programs in place, facilitating platforms for discussion with our Ceridian Women’s Network Summit, or supporting and participating in grassroots efforts such as #GoSponsorHer and Move the Dial.
What’s key to real progress in the global workplace, however, is not only understanding what we’re doing right, but how we can more aggressively address areas of opportunity. Instead of simply putting gender equality programs in place, we need to continually assess and measure our organization in terms of how enlightened we are around gender equivalent differences.
It’s with this in mind that we decided to pursue Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certification. Launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011, EDGE takes a business analytics (rather than theoretical) approach to investigating gender dynamics in an organization.
EDGE was created to establish a global standard of excellence for gender equality. The process begins with an assessment of the organization, examining three sources of company information. The assessment draws from statistics (company data), infrastructure (policies and practices that are part of the company’s gender equality infrastructure), and experience (an employee survey about workplace experience and perceptions).
The findings from the assessment are then benchmarked against the EDGE Standard and, in some cases, against peer organizations, to set and implement an action plan for change (if required). One of the things that stands out to me about the assessment framework is that the recommendations for an action plan are both specific and strictly applicable to us.
After an independent audit, organizations can be certified at one of three possible EDGE levels, depending on the stage of their journey. The value is that we can move forward with actions that are not simply subjective, but supported by fact. The findings provide transparency into our organization, removing the noise and helping us get down to the fundamental challenges and opportunities we have in front of us.
Here are some of the organizational benefits we see from becoming an EDGE-certified employer:
Balance at All Levels of the Organization
McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2017 report found women are underrepresented in the corporate pipeline. “Inequality starts at the very first promotion,” the report states, and female representation declines at every step.
From my perspective, going through this experience will help us do a much better job of not only elevating women into more senior leadership roles within the organization, but also help us have a strong balance at all levels. We also want to make sure we gain true insight in terms of pay, and how to work towards equal pay for men and women for equivalent work – that is, for the same types of roles and experience or tenure.
Positioning Strength in Talent Acquisition
This process allows us to be much more thoughtful in how we are messaging and positioning ourselves from a talent acquisition perspective.
Organizations need to really look at their talent strategies to identify opportunities. For example, do they tend to go with male candidates for promotions? Is there a low rate of female applicants for new roles, and if so, why? There are many things organizations may do internally without fully understanding their impacts. For instance, usage of particular language in describing a job or existing policies could be creating inequalities for women. Being a hi-tech company, Ceridian looks to attract top talent in every position. It’s important for us to describe roles in a way that doesn’t “screen out” females inadvertently, something we had not considered previously.
Instill Inclusive Culture
We strive for a sense of inclusiveness for both men and women within Ceridian. It’s important for us to understand the degree to which our practices and programs provide men and women the same opportunities. Truly inclusive cultures are environments in which all employees have equal opportunity to collaborate, contribute, grow, and lead.
In today’s world of work, I believe it’s critical all organizations take a very close look at their internal mechanisms of gender equality. The way we work is changing, and implicit organizational culture regarding “traditional” roles and statuses for men and women at work must also change. This may come at a significant cost, but my response to that is, what’s the cost of not doing it?
Organizations may be overlooking really strong, high potential women because of biases that are not apparent. For gender balance to truly be a strategy for companies, expose the blind spots and cut through the noise. Capitalize on the opportunity to change to create a strong balance across talent pipelines.