On the heels of last week’s interview with Anne Golden (CEO of the Conference Board of Canada) on CBC, here are 5 things Anne suggested companies need to do, to make a conscious effort to increase the number of women in senior management. Anne made reference to these as steps CP Rail has taken in their effort (with success).
Of course, these are not specific to increasing the representation of women in senior roles…
Making a more representative senior management team is not something that will happen on it’s own. It requires commitment and a strategy. Strategies suggest that something is important, and gives it more weight while obviously providing a road map for accomplishing the goal.
Anne’s words in the interview were “what you inspect gets respect”. Making sure you know how you are doing vis à vis your goal is a crucial component in reaching it. And tracking your progress also keeps the issue on your radar.
Networking Across the Organization
The opportunity to talk with and learn from others – in this case other women in similar roles, or other women in higher roles – is helpful for personal and professional growth. Networks build support systems, can create opportunities, and at the very least let us know we are not alone.
Recruitment & Succession Planning
Make no mistake, this is not about quotas. But if you have a commitment to increasing the number of women in senior roles, you need a plan. This is an internal plan for the women you currently employ who are on the track to senior management, as well as a plan for your hiring process.
Experience / Training for Promotion
Further to the above, mentoring and providing training & professional development for the women in your organization so that they have a fair chance of being promoted is key. This is not to say that promotion won’t happen without this, but given our national track record, it would seem that making sure female employees have as much in their professional toolkit as possible would help break through the obvious bias that exists.
Again, these steps can be applied to any group that is under-represented in your senior management. Take a look around and see who is missing.
copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, professional speaker, and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion