On International Women’s Day, we’re all reminded about the importance of gender diversity as we celebrate the amazing and talented women we work with every day.
Why is gender diversity so vital? It not only increases the talent pool and encourages new and different perspectives, but it better reflects the world we live in and, in the case of credit unions, the members we serve.
There is plenty of research to back-up the importance of gender diversity. It fosters innovation and increases performance, according to Harvard Business Review. In the McKinsey report Diversity Matters, companies with higher gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. So if we all know it’s important, why does a gender diversity gap remain and what can we do to move the dial?
Here are three ideas for how to incorporate diversity into your business, no matter how large or how small it may be.
Make diversity and inclusion part of who you are.
Start at the top. Build a diverse leadership team and incorporate the idea of diversity into all that you do. Talk about why diversity matters to help increase awareness and understanding of the issue by all your employees. Even if your only a team of five, providing a safe space for discussion and debate around diversity, equity and inclusion can go a long way in building a diverse team.
Share the responsibility.
Encourage all of your leaders, managers and employees to take ownership of diversity at your business. Offer employees opportunities to learn about unconscious bias and task hiring managers with finding ways to lessen the impact of biases in interviews.
Provide resources on how to keep the recruiting process as equitable as possible, including reviewing postings for gendered language, removing names from resumes before review or conducting “blind” virtual interviews to eliminate gender from the selection process and encouraging the creation of employee resources groups to support diverse or under-represented communities.
Measure and be accountable.
Set diversity objectives for the leadership team and business as a whole and hold yourself to them. Start by analyzing the current gender split to identify patterns and trends. Once you identify if there are issues, make targets for the future and continuously report on results.
At credit unions, gender diversity remains a goal at many of our branches at head offices. As of 2022 in Alberta, more than 40% of credit union senior leaders are women. But there’s still more to be done across the province.
If all leaders make gender diversity a priority, the credit union system can work together to increase the number of women at the top and enhance equality across Alberta.