Without question, the single most effective step a company can take toward leveling the playing field for women is to provide effective training about the biases that propel men forward and that hold women back. It is important for everyone in the organization to understand what the common biases are, how they affect decision making, and how to reduce their influence. To be effective, the training must be more than a lecture and tailored to the issues, goals, and culture of the particular organization.
Some companies are providing bias training, but bias training alone is not sufficient to remove the obstacles to women’s advancement. Preferences for men and disinclinations for women inhabit companies’ policies and programs, including performance evaluations, compensation, and advancement. The absence of assignment structure and succession planning further allows bias to rule the company. A lack of accountability, a reward structure that is not aligned with the goals of a women’s initiative, and a culture that resists changes can undo any progress the company’s efforts might bring about.
An effective program to advance women needs to include bias neutralizers, monitoring for the effects of bias, an examination and adjustment of the company’s policies and programs, and cultural alignment. Tall order? Absolutely. Let us help you.