8 changes HR VPs can make to support Gender Balance in Tech

UNLEASHDiversity Inclusion2015 11 30
8 changes HR VPs can make to support Gender Balance in Tech
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This is a Guest post by Dorothy Dalton.

My interview with Naomi Bloom at HR Tech World Congress in Paris in October produced some interesting results. I received messages from viewers to say that they had sent the video to their VPs of HR. Sadly, an accompanying comment was that many are not convinced of the intent of the focus of  their HR leaders,  despite all the indications that gender balanced leadership has a strong business case.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_Z6XVMoPNY[/embedyt]


Naomi’s resounding message was that gender balance is easily achievable. But what it does require , is a change of mind set and a flick of the creative thinking switch. That might be a greater challenge.  There can be as many apps and gizmos as you like, but if the goals of both the leaders and operators, remain unchanged, and biases firmly entrenched, then nothing much is going to happen.

HR VPS are critical to making this happen!  YOU are critical to making this happen.

Here are 8 changes that HR VPs can make immediately to get closer to that goal:

  1. Assign the gender balance project to a senior position with clout, rather than dumping it on a junior, overloaded employee, with no teeth.
  2. Give all HR personnel unconscious bias training –including themselves! Be aware of the “subtly male” culture in your organisation, whether it’s in the break-out rooms Naomi described, or the use of the word “hero” which more than one vendor adopted as a conference slogan.
  3. Optimise your job descriptions to minimise the risk of women de-selecting themselves for any promotions or new jobs
  4. Commit to gender balanced short lists for C suite minus 4.
  5. Strengthen your talent pipeline by “fishing where there are fish” at junior levels. Stop whining about there being no women in tech – go and find them and then train them.
  6. Create mentoring programmes for women. If there are no senior women in your organisation find external women. Women cannot be what they can’t see and hear.
  7. Implement the much talked “human” approach to HR and walk the talk,  with regard to family care support for both men and women. Create a culture where men and women can participate without the threat of career penalties being imposed.
  8. Introduce management development programmes as proposed by Naomi .


The role of the HR VP is vital to creating a culture of confidence and that missing component of employee engagement which was a core theme of HR Tech World Paris.  As Josh Bersin stated more than once, technology on its own will not be enough.


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