Many companies are getting more and more transparent about the number of employees representing diverse groups. However, we believe the statistic showing the total number of employees in these groups is insufficient.
Data from LinkedIn for 155 countries reveals that only 24% of technology industry leaders are women. Organizations must confront the reality of underrepresented groups in managerial roles.
We, at Sievo, are not perfect either. But we are proud of our commitment to making progress (see the table below) and the concrete steps we are taking to promote diversity in leadership. This does not mean that we hire or promote with a "let's increase diversity numbers" approach. Each individual at Sievo, whether from underrepresented groups or not, is at their current position based on their performance personal merits. But, we must create equal opportunities for this to happen.
As a society, we are still in a flawed system. It's important to acknowledge that the barriers that gender roles create are real, and they start long before people are getting promoted or hired to leadership roles. However, rather than placing blame on society or waiting for a magical solution, we have to recognize that companies are a part of this society and have the power to make a huge impact.
1- Why is “work-life balance” a must?
Who doesn’t want “work-life balance”, right? It gives you the time and energy to focus on your personal interests, spend time with your loved ones, and maintain a healthy mental state. But, there is more to all these.
Traditional gender roles still disproportionately place the burden of primary caregiver duty on women. That is why, hybrid work or flexible hours are not only trendy HR perks, but necessary measures to ensure that everyone has an equal ground to flourish in their work.
Think about companies that require their leadership team to be in the office five days a week while other employees can work in a hybrid model, for example. This eventually puts a limit on the potential pool of internal and external candidates for leadership roles. Therefore, offering flexibility to all can increase the chance of having a more inclusive and diverse leadership team.
2- Who is a good leader?
A leader does not need to have charisma.
Unfortunately, too often, people associate leadership with mostly masculine traits.
To overcome this, we need to be bias-free when evaluating performance and potential. However, while doing that, we shouldn’t define strict leadership models or leadership definitions. Any definition of a "perfect leader" will cause a negative evaluation of underrepresented groups for these roles since the definition will inevitably reinforce our biases.
This year at Sievo, we are taking new initiatives such as Growing as Sievo Manager training program and Lead Sievo Days. Our goal is not to impose any “perfect leadership model” on our leaders but rather empower them in their own unique ways of leading and guiding their team members. We will focus on various topics including self-awareness before leading others, tools that can be used and enhancing diversity, inclusion and cohesion.
3- Are we having enough candidates for leadership roles?
Let’s say a leadership position on LinkedIn is already getting quite a good number of applications. So, is this enough for us to make a decision?
Looking only at the total number is not enough.
Because certain groups are hesitant to apply to managerial roles just because they do not think they would fit the role description, while others may be more vocal about asking for promotions or negotiating salaries. To combat this, we are constantly trying to widen our candidate pool by not only posting job ads on LinkedIn, but also promoting them internally, sharing them with NGO communities we are a member of, using our network groups, and utilizing other job portals.
We train not only our Talent Acquisition team, but also every hiring team member who has a say in hiring and promoting people to combat their unconscious biases.
As companies and as a society in general, we have a long way to go to achieve gender equity in leadership roles. It is important to acknowledge that individuals who identify as non-binary also face biases, and we must take steps to combat against the barriers that each underrepresented group is facing.
As we noted earlier, we cannot wait for a magic wand to fix the lack of diversity in the workplace. We are the ones who are going to make it happen.
In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, we are taking a closer look at some of the most important issues related to gender equality in the workplace. Check out our other blog post in this series on Equal Pay.