I’m so excited to share this post with you! I recently had a call with Sara Shinneman, SHRM-SCP & Deborah Rocco with Interaction Associates (Check out their site, I found a ton of great blog posts on the issue and some white papers) on their presentation they will be giving at #SHRM16 called “Bridging the Gender Gap: A New Approach to Shattering the Glass Ceiling.” When I was thumbing through the talent acquisition and retention presentations to choose speakers to interview I noticed A LOT of good options, but I kept coming back to this one. These ladies were fun to interview and clearly so passionate about this topic!
Why? Because Gender Gap and Glass Ceiling issues are still very real. I am getting a close up look at it right now myself. I wanted to hear from seasoned professionals on how they confront the issue and what they’ve seen to be successful. Instead of a traditional Q&A format I opted for a summary of our conversation. I’m not going to share everything we talked about here because after talking with them I think it will be way more beneficial for you to hear it from them! You need to hear their excitement and passion-plus they promised to be a bit provocative (you’ll have to figure out which definition they were referring to yourself).
So here’s a rundown. A lot of organizations are still approaching this issue with a check the box mentality-that is not okay and it won’t solve anything. Anyone else guilty of checking the box and moving on? How’s that working for you? Unconscious bias won’t just go away, it needs to be addressed and we, as business partners, need to assist in building managers tool-kits to address and effectively manage this very thing.
A lot of people will acknowledge that the gender gap and glass ceiling are problems that exist, whether in their organization or in their particular industry, but until we take awareness and put it into action we are not moving forward. Its vital to get all key stakeholders engaged and working together to solve the problem-if it’s just an HR initiative IT. WILL. DIE. (More on this later because I was completely fascinated and almost taken aback to hear that comment).
What I appreciate so much from these two professionals is their firm opinion that this is a PEOPLE problem. It was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang a verse of hallelujah when Deborah shared that. I could not agree more. People. And what is your HR team responsible for? Hmmmmm… So it’s a people problem and part of that people problem is that we have to approach it in a way that stops blaming men. Men are going to be part of the solution and it will be a thousand times harder to get to the solution if we are making men feel like they are to blame for this issue.
How are you helping your organization solve this problem? Are you solving big picture HR problems right now? The numbers say that women will outnumber men in the workforce eventually and that women currently have more buying power than men. Taking it a step further its predicted that by 2050 we will no longer have a racial majority in the workforce.
Deborah and Sarah are going to bust some of our unreasonable expectations when tackling this issue (like expecting immediate results) and help us think about approaching this issue from multiple dimensions. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the presentation if you attend! Make sure you download the #SHRM16 app to your smartphone or tablet and mark their session (Monday at 4:00 p.m.).
See you all in DC!