To provide a learning opportunity, the Women’s Network at Global Payments in Dublin a leading fintech company, hosted a panel discussion on workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives . Jane was delighted to be asked to participate.
It was particularly encouraging to see both men and women team leads taking time to better understand what we can do to create more inclusive environments where every employee can bring all their talents to work. Coral Movasseli shared that within Global Payment’s Dublin there was wide spread positive interest in diversity and inclusion but limited awareness of how to act.
In Ireland between 2012 and 2016, approximately 80% of the most senior and influential appointments in regulated firms went to men (according to the Central Bank of Ireland), so Global Payments Dublin are at the forefront of finance and fintech in Ireland in tackling D&I. CIB identifies poor diversity as contributing to:
- group think,
- overconfidence in decision making
- lack of challenge to decision making and
- resistance to external challenge.
The panel discussed:
In the wake of #MeToo we know that conscious bias, including very serious sexual harassment in the workplace exists. Gender bias has been extensively studies, including by comparing identical CVs from “Heidi” and “Howard” (Bohnet, 2016, p.22). And we all have unconscious bias: No-one is excluded.
Diversity & Inclusion Metrics
How can you tell when you are being successful and how do you measure improvement in diversity and inclusion? Some aspects of diversity and inclusion, like gender, are easier to measure than others, like homosexuality and those less-abled. One can make the argument that gender is not a diversity issue with women making up half the population. Ageism continues to receive scant attention. There were two perspectives from the panel as to what to aim for:
- Gender balance in the numbers e.g. equal women & men in leadership, or new hires.
- An environment where everyone thrives: inclusion at all levels.
- Everyone hates quotas: Quotas work.
“There is no meritocracy. It would be wonderful if there was. But there simply is not.”Jane Morgan, Gendelity.org
Quotas seem to fly in the face of meritocracy. But our workplaces influence opportunities and pay, and we are all embedded in a society of gendered norms. It would be wonderful if it was simply about fostering your own leadership capability. But not everyone has the same opportunities to advance even when they are sufficiently hardworking and capable.
Quotas eliminate finger pointing at outliers. When every team/ department is broadly gender balance, there is no token minorities within a team, nor teams that are outlier (good or bad). Quotas can be a step towards normalising gender-diverse teams.
“Research shows that women are more likely to ask difficult questions.”
Constructive Bystander Behaviour
There are two approaches to supporting those experiencing gender, or any other discrimination or horrible behaviour in the workplace.
The first and strongest support is practical and comes in the moment. It’s also the hardest to do. Call out the bad behaviour: Speak up. The way to make this easier for yourself and to provide immediate support is to plan in advance what you are going to say. Choose a sentence that is not argumentative and reflects your experience. Unless you are a mind-reader (!!!!), don’t project onto either the perpetrator or the receiver/victim of the behaviour.
- “I am finding your behaviour unacceptable.”
- “I don’t think that is any way to talk to XXX.”
The time to prepare how you are going to react is now. In difficult situations like this most of us experience brain freeze.
The second way to provide support is emotional and it can be as simple as seeking out the receiver/victim afterwards and voicing your concern, empathizing with them. At the least, this allows the person to know they did not imagine it. At the other extreme, you may decide to go with this person to HR and make a formal complaint.