Equipping and supporting women in the workplace

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While women are proving their mettle in leading organisations, there is still room to close the gender gap in the workplace. Experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) share three practices leaders can adopt in doing so.

In Singapore, there are encouraging signs of increased diversity in the workplace, with a third of senior management roles being held by women and the country being ranked top in terms of the percentage of women in CEO roles (13.1%), according to a Deloitte survey.

While women are proving their mettle in leading organisations, there is still room to close the gender gap in the workplace.

Consider these three practices:

1. Management leads the way in supporting women

Changes to culture and policies must start at the top. When leaders recognise the business benefits of gender diversity, they are likelier to invest time and resources to drive diversity initiatives.

One example is DBS Bank, where CEO Piyush Gupta has actively advocated for greater participation of women in senior leadership positions, with women holding 40% of DBS’ senior management roles.

There are tangible benefits that come from having a diverse workforce such as better decision-making, greater creativity, and innovation due to multiple perspectives, which contribute to better business results.

2. Keep unconscious biases in check

To encourage greater diversity in the workplace, employers will need to guard against unconscious biases. These are personal blind spots due to stereotyping and prejudices that may have formed over time.

When hiring, in addition to a fair and transparent recruitment process, employers will need to check for biases that may creep in through communication. For example, when interviewing, refrain from asking female candidates questions about caregiving or personal responsibilities that are unrelated to the job role to avoid drawing wrong conclusions about her job suitability. Training employees on diversity and inclusion and adopting a zero-tolerance stance on workplace discrimination may also help prevent bias.

3. Invest in insights to understand workforce needs

Data analytics can be used to identify current workforce profiles, trends, and gaps in order to cultivate gender diversity in a sustainable manner. By analysing attrition patterns, HR can identify ‘drop-off’ points where female employees leave the organisation and use this information to review and refine HR polices, as well as emphasise fair and merit-based hiring and promotion.

For instance, management can consider initiatives such as flexible work arrangements (FWAs) to better hire and retain their workforce, including women. This will likely encourage female employees to build careers with the organisations in the long run, especially in industries where they are under-represented. Employers can also identify needs through employee surveys and focus group discussions, enabling them to create specific solutions and resources.

Diversity is increasingly commonplace in organisations, with women forming a key demographic that contributes to business success. Employers who recognise and leverage the abilities of this talent pool will find it easier to sustain their talent needs, stay competitive, and ultimately enhance their business results.

 

TAFEP provides information and resources to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit tafep.sg to find out more.


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