Do you know Gloria Tang Tsz-kei?
She’s a pretty successful woman; just 25 years old, an accomplished singer-songwriter, piano grade 8 by age thirteen and 23 million followers on Weibo today.
Her stage name is G.E.M. for “Get Everybody Moving”. That’s a pretty cool motto!
Interestingly, GEM is also an acronym for Gender Empowerment Measure, an index created by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) which aims to measure gender inequality based on economic income, participation in high-paying positions and level of access to professional positions.
It looks like Gloria’s motto was made for today’s subject. Let’s use it and see how some features of HR solutions can support women’s empowerment in your company. You may not be concerned because you are part of a company that is already doing so, or just this subject is not a priority. Before you leave, please have a quick look at this article from Prabha Kannan. It’s very refreshing.
The first step aims at getting information on your talent: what is their background in terms of education and work experience, what they are good at, what they certifications do they possess, what languages they speak. This allows you to know your workforce better and use it more efficiently.
Here are a few tools available in HR solutions that help gather this information:
Talent profile – the subject of talent management really snowballed in the early 2000s, mostly associated with competency-based management. Today, a talent profile is the central repository to get employee talent information and validate the match against their current or future job, do some comparisons and search for specific capabilities. Initially populated from application data, it keeps getting enriched by the employee, their manager, the HR department or after completing an activity (learning, achieved objective, promotion, volunteering, coaching).
Performance review – The performance review is intended to be a fair and balanced assessment of an employee’s performance. It is conducted most often through an annual process with extra steps included (objective setting method, different steps, mid-year review) and will result in an evaluation of all employees.
Personal branding – with the boom of social media tools such as Facebook or LinkedIn, employees started to voluntarily publish information about themselves and their network on the internet. As an extension to the Talent Profile, we see innovative HR solutions providers suggesting to reuse this information, with employee consent, to better identify “hidden” talent and take into account additional criteria such as social reputation, endorsement or influence.
The first features we have been reviewing were mainly employee-manager-HR oriented. The next step to reduce further gender bias is to bring more people and more information into the process to make your decision even more objective and dilute any questionable individual decisions and operational considerations.
Here are a few tools available that help extend, enrich and retrieve information on your talent:
Feedback – getting feedback from peers, direct reports or matrix managers is not something new. It already was available with 360° performance reviews for instance. With instant feedback, you bring spontaneous and unsolicited content to the people appraisal and you extend the population that can acknowledge (or not) the employee’s behaviour, support and efficiency.
Engagement – with time, HR management’s target evolved from personal administration toward a system of engagement. We see many new dimensions being taken into account when assessing employees. It can be taking ownership of a volunteering program, publishing and sharing a video tutorial to help their peers, mentoring junior colleagues or participating in internal competitions or ideation projects. All of these activities are enriching the talent profile and the network of potential supporters.
Analytics – making the right decision implies that you have all information available to you. Good analytics will allow you to get KPIs, trends and insights into your talent but also to get into details. For instance, you need to be able to search on competencies and location to be able to identify the people with the required profile.
Some interesting indicators from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (another GEM!) in the Women’s Entrepreneurship 2016/2017 Report show that Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) among women increased by 10%, and the gender gap narrowed by 5% compare to a similar study in 2015 (a study made on 63 economies worldwide). Things are moving in a good direction and nobody could use the argument that women are just less interested in gaining more responsibilities and power in companies.
We have seen how to get talent data and extend it so that everybody can add their share in the decision process. Last step consists in transforming current processes and moving them toward this ultimate goal: women’s empowerment!
Compensation – the gender pay gap is pretty well known and lot of companies are already working on it. HR solutions provide compensation tools can be used to help with corrective actions. A simple way, through eligibility, is to define some specific salary re-alignments for underpaid employees. You can also force the bonus, grants, merit increases to be automatically calculated based on compa-ratio, performance results, goals achievement. By doing so, you remove any decisions based on gender. You can also give more freedom to the manager to make their own proposals while using warnings or alerts to detect and raise inconsistencies.
Talent Review/Succession Planning – both processes go hand in hand and help identifying high potential & hidden talent, assuring your best talent is in line for future critical roles, identifying candidates for key jobs, developing multiple career paths. This process is typically done by a panel of executives all sitting in the same room, having access to all relevant data to take the best decision. The tools can support more aggressive policy such as filtering your population to only work on female talent when too low a proportion of them are in key roles.
Learning – another helpful process is learning. You can for instance manage a talent pool of your future women leaders and assign specific learning programs or create a specific learning community. The advantage of communities is that you feed learners with appropriate learning opportunities and promote conversation, collaboration, sharing and healthy competition.
Nearly forgot! In French, you pronounce GEM as “J’aime” meaning “I like”. That’s a fortunate coincidence both for this subject and to guide you toward your next action after reading this article.
Author: Nicolas Bouché – You can find more information on LinkedIn. Views are his own.