Advancing gender equality in the workplace is a far-reaching process that requires continuous commitment and action to bring about real change. The Blueprint, Maturity Model, and resource database work together as tools that organizations can consult throughout this process; however, the ways that organizations implement these tools will differ. This implementation guide serves as a simple and flexible framework that can help companies through the process of advancing gender equality using the Blueprint, Maturity Model, and resource database.
THE ROADMAP TO PURSUE GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Accommodating All Types of Organizations
The process of implementing the Blueprint to work towards achieving gender equality leadership will not be “one size fits all.”
Gender equality permeates all aspects of the workplace, thus different organizations will choose to focus on specific areas at different times. Nevertheless, all organizations should regularly revisit the Blueprint to ensure that the three primary cornerstones of gender equality – leadership, inclusion, and transparency and accountability – exist and function together.
- For organizations beginning to consider gender equality in their workplaces. For these organizations, the Blueprint provides a comprehensive introduction to gender equality in the workplace and the ways it can impact all facets of a business. After consulting the Blueprint, these organizations can perform an assessment of the state of gender equality in their workplace by using the Maturity Model. This tool will allow them to identify priorities, gaps, and opportunities needed to create their first strategic approach and measure progress moving forward.
- For start-ups, small organizations, and those experiencing significant organizational changes (e.g. merger, acquisition, new business lines). These organizations can use the Blueprint and the resource database to embed gender equality as an integral and deliberate aspect within their vision, values, and business objectives. The Blueprint’s data-driven “must-have” success factors can help lay the necessary foundation and ensure that gender equality is a fundamental priority for the business.
- For organizations that already address gender equality but are looking to accelerate progress. Organizations that already have a strategy, initiatives, policies, and practices aiming to address gender equality but are looking to accelerate progress may use the Blueprint to ensure their actions align with their intentions and identify blind spots and pain points. These organizations can draw on the Blueprint’s evidence-based recommendations to move forward.
- For organizations with robust gender equality progress looking to identify new opportunities. Organizations that have implemented widespread and robust gender equality practices and supporting systems can use the Blueprint to expand upon these achievements, amplify and maximize the impact of their efforts, and proactively identify new needs and opportunities. Leading companies should look beyond standard practices and identify ways to raise the bar to avoid complacency by consulting the recommendations in the Blueprint specific to their industry, sector, or operations.
- For organizations of different sizes. An organization’s available resources can also affect its ability to implement some aspects of the Blueprint. A larger organization might have a team or individual responsible for gender equality, or a human resources department that can implement the Blueprint using existing processes and structures. A small-to-medium organization that has less formal or newly developed processes and structures may opt for more flexibility and gradual implementation and draw on the Blueprint to identify, define, and address priorities.
The Implementation Process
Advancing gender equality in the workplace involves a process of change. This guide outlines a four-phase implementation framework based on established change management principles that can help guide the use of the Blueprint, Maturity Model, and resource database. This framework is dynamic and based on iteration so that organizations can progressively work to achieve gender equality leadership.
Pursuing gender equality leadership is a process of continuous improvement.
Although the four phases of the implementation framework are essential, organizations are encouraged to adapt the framework to their needs and current state. Some organizations may undertake one or more phases simultaneously or start at a later phase to account for steps taken before using the Blueprint. For example, an organization that has recently assessed the state of gender equality may decide to begin at the Define stage or use the Blueprint to complement its previous assessment. During strategic planning sessions, organizations may decide to jump into implementing pilot initiatives. Moreover, some initiatives will require more time, effort, and adjustments and, therefore, will move through these phases at different rates.
Smaller companies and those beginning to work towards gender equality may find it useful to delegate the implementation of the Blueprint to a small team or one person such as the CEO or a human resources professional. As a company grows, ownership in gender equality may expand across the organization and can involve representatives from a diverse cross-section of teams like senior leadership, HR, D&I, and project management to continue driving change.
The four implementation framework phases are detailed below:
Step A: Assess
- For smaller organizations or organizations beginning to address gender equality. These organizations can focus on the Blueprint’s comprehensive overview of attributes related to gender equality in the workplace and on the resource database to delve deeper into a specific subject. After becoming familiar with key information, organizations may use the Blueprint and Maturity Model to conduct a baseline assessment and help identify fundamental goals to drive progress forward.
- For larger organizations or organizations farther along in their journey. These organizations may have more established gender equality initiatives, policies, plans, or strategies and they may use the Blueprint and Maturity Model to help expand their goals and targets.
- For organizations with robust gender equality progress. Leading organizations can use the tools to assess new opportunities to increase impact and build upon successes.
Step B: Define
All organizations should define clear goals and metrics and involve employees throughout this process to ensure they are informed before implementing actions defined in this stage to drive their gender equality approach forward. Also, all organizations can draw inspiration from the good practice examples in the Blueprint to support this stage.
- For smaller organizations or organizations beginning to address gender equality. These organizations can draw on the Blueprint’s success factors to help outline actions and goals. They should be utilizing existing knowledge and resources to build a realistic but ambitious approach or plan that includes short- and long-term goals.
- For larger organizations or organizations farther along in their journey. Organizations with more resources or those with some gender equality initiatives can focus increasingly on strengthening accountability mechanisms and integrating gender equality more purposefully into policies, procedures, and practices across the organization. At this stage, these organizations may draw on inspiration from the Blueprint’s recommendations to create a more detailed and comprehensive vision for the future.
- For organizations with robust gender equality progress. These organizations can use the Blueprint to prevent diversity fatigue or complacency and identify opportunities to create more value across the organization and beyond using recommendations specific to their business lines and operations.
Step C: Implement
- For smaller organizations or organizations beginning to address gender equality. These organizations may be focused on implementing measures to raise awareness, build capacity, and establish an inclusive culture. They may also decide to pilot small-scale initiatives inspired by the Blueprint’s success factors or good practice examples.
- For larger organizations or organizations farther along in their journey. These organizations may be able to implement accountability mechanisms for gender equality related to performance management and can work on embedding gender equality more purposefully into their business strategy and systems.
- For organizations with robust gender equality progress. Leading organizations may implement innovative initiatives that increase transparency and demonstrate leadership for their industry and sector, such as voluntarily reporting on progress or creating a dashboard for gender equality metrics.
Step D: Measure
- For smaller organizations or organizations beginning to address gender equality. These organizations may measure results by relying on readily available data, basic data collection methods, or starting with a small sample as they build up their measuring and analysis mechanisms. Organizations with these measures already in place may employ more advanced tools and collect detailed and disaggregated data across the organization.
- For larger organizations, organizations farther along in their journey or organizations with robust gender equality progress. Larger organizations or those that have secured more resources can look to assess the long-term impacts of their initiatives on business performance, further enhancing support for gender equality.