Diversity of Thought Blog

6 Reasons Why Your Business Should Set Gender Equality Targets

Organisational output and employee morale improves when the talent of male and female employees is harnessed equally, but how do you improve the ratio of female employees and managers, and how do you achieve equal pay across your workforce?

“Similar to setting financial or other operational targets, establishing realistic gender diversity targets based on rigorous analysis and baseline data will help to ensure an organisation treats equal gender representation as a central business issue and puts in place the strategies and resources to meet the targets.” The Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Targets and Quotas, 2016.

Here are six reasons why your business should set gender equality targets:

  1. Targets are voluntarily set by the company, which means they are able to be designed and tailored as realistic goals for each department, within the whole company, and as is appropriate for the relevant industry. Setting a low target will not drive change, while setting unrealistic goals will damage morale and cause employees to give up before the challenge has even started. Set realistic targets, design implementable policies and support your employees to take up the challenge.
  1. As progress is made or unforeseen consequences arise, targets can be massaged to reflect realistic and ongoing goals. However, the leadership must be honest in its objectives and challenge the prevailing culture, and if a milestone is not met, the leadership should not look for an easy excuse – otherwise, why set a target in the first place. Examine why the failure occurred and continue to challenge the organisation. Demonstrate to your employees that the leadership does not give up.
  1. Because targets are set by the individual company, the leadership and its employees are likely to buy into the idea, support new policies that are implemented to achieve the target, and gain a sense of satisfaction when the target or milestones are reached. This in turn increases the likelihood that targets will be achieved.
  1. Setting targets is a part of everyday business. Employees and management understand targets are potent weapons and are familiar with strategies and policy changes to shape performance. This familiarity with the vernacular means there is less likely to be resistance to a new concept.
  1. Targets require the design and implementation of policy across all hierarchical levels of an organisation making their achievement more likely to be felt throughout the company. A gender diversity target should not just be implemented in one area, for example, accounting middle management, as the effect on the organisation as a whole would be minimal. Rather, gender diversity targets should be designed and set for each area and level to achieve a noticeable change.
  1. By implementing targets, businesses may be forced to discover talent and ideas they would not otherwise have considered, thus improving their business. Targeting equal opportunities for both genders in the workplace will also improve the retention of talented women.

A final tip: Make your organisation’s targets public. Your business is more likely to achieve targets that are publicised because not only will the public be able to hold the leadership and business to account, but current and potential employees, clients and competitors will too. Gain the edge, be progressive and be an employer and partner of choice. Contact The 100% Project for strategies to move forward on gender diversity at your organisation.