Diversity is at the heart of those successful companies that embrace an inclusive work environment. How to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
The Way Gender Diversity Strengthens Companies and Individuals
The Importance of Diversity
Diversity is at the heart of those successful companies that embrace an inclusive work environment. When a team consists of different people with different perspectives and experience, it invites new ideas and innovation. And why is this so important? About 60% of university graduates and almost 50% of the workforce in the Czech Republic consists of women. Yet they are still in a significant minority when it comes to senior positions in general as well as in the promising ICT sector. Currently, only 10% of ICT professionals in the Czech Republic are women. This is lack of female ICT professionals a huge and still untapped potential that companies can utilise (Source: Czech Statistical Office, 2021).
Why is it still not functioning in some companies? And how to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
Unfortunately, despite all these benefits, diversity in companies has its challenges. One of the main culprits are unconscious and systemic biases. Surveys consistently indicate a high number of women who feel that they have been, at some point, discriminated against because of their gender. Unconscious biases are an inevitable part of everyday operations. We have to be aware of them and work towards eliminating or at least mitigating them where possible. Systemic biases can be strategically addressed and processes can be set up within individual areas (e.g. recruitment, remuneration, promotion to leadership roles) to prevent such bias.
Increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace requires a systematic approach. Here are a few recommended steps to take:
- It starts with the top leadership: successful companies have diversity and inclusion included in their top management strategy. Top management supports middle management in implementing the necessary measures.
Furthermore, according to Deloitte research, only 17% of Czech companies and businesses are led by women and the proportion of women CEOs is only 5% (Women in the Boardroom - 7th edition, 2022). Make your company's leadership a role model and encourage women to participate in key decision-making processes. Let your (potential) female employees know that they will not hit a glass ceiling at your company.
- Training and awareness: Training employees on gender diversity can help remove unconscious biases and raise awareness. Middle management plays a key role.
- Diverse teams: Harvard Business Review study from 2018 showed that companies with diverse teams achieve on average 19% higher innovation revenues and also report higher EBIT in general. Build teams with diverse perspectives, skills and experience. Review the recruitment process to ensure that it does not unnecessarily discriminate against certain talent pools. Make sure that the criteria for new candidates do not copy some old, out-dated established model (e.g. a requirement for a technical university degree or 5+ years of experience in the industry, etc.).
- Measuring results: track diversity-related outcomes, such as the proportion of women in leadership roles, and see how they affect the performance of the company and individual teams
Situation in the Czech Republic
Specific data from the Czech Republic show that gender diversity matters. A study from McKinsey looks at the overall benefits of diversity in Czech companies. According to the calculations, annual GDP would increase by 8 percentage points if the so-called gender gap in ICT jobs was closed. This fact shows that diversity is not only just, but also beneficial for business.
Employers' attitude needs to change, especially towards women taking care of pre-school children. According to ManpowerGroup's 2022 survey, this group of women is one of the most severely disadvantaged in the labour market - even though they themselves want to work. This suggests that employers can do more to create inclusive work environments.
Czechitas stands ready to assist companies in their efforts to increase gender diversity and set up inclusive environments. They pass on their experience and know-how both in workshops and through mentoring.
Gender diversity and inclusion is not just a slogan, but a key success factor for companies and individuals. Opening to diversity means opening the way to creativity, innovation and prosperity for all.