Why gender equality is not just corporate fluff

by Contributor09 Mar 2018

By Erica Page, HR Director, The Adecco Group, Australia

Nurturing a culture of gender equality and embedding equity into the core fabric of an organisation takes courage and can be extremely daunting.

It is also something that many people do not know how to start addressing at an organisational level.

To begin creating a space for gender equality, the first step is to ensure it is high on the agenda. It must be an ongoing topic of conversation at the boardroom table, where organisation leaders can set off to champion the cause.

In the case of The Adecco Group, our Board is made up of 45% females, including our chief financial officer, head of human resources, head of corporate operations and the head of our largest business unit. 

Together with our formal policies, this establishes a company-wide ethos that ensures our employees are valued regardless of gender, that they are afforded endless opportunities within the company, and that our commitment to gender equality is rock-solid, highly visible and unapologetic.

A culture of self-correction
I believe in creating an organisational culture that can self-correct. What I mean by this is supporting an organisation where everyone at all levels are aligned on what is fair, right and equitable.

This is an ongoing journey and requires adjustments to be made every day as people go about their role – it’s the little things, such as the way that people engage with each other.  I say take a firm hand to embed language or cultural norms that communicates and reflects a strong stance on equality. 

To further solidify your mission of establishing absolute equality, appoint a dedicated role to lead your focus on diversity and inclusion. This should be someone that can act as the corporate conscience and an advisor to managers.

At Adecco, diversity and inclusion forms part of our overall commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, of which we are extremely proud.

Getting people involved can be challenging, yet ultimately invaluable. Each year, we have people from around the country, and all walks of life, volunteer to be on a team dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion.

From projects to improve pay equality, to introducing paid domestic violence leave and countless other initiatives – our people tackle national and international issues head on.

Transparency – the key to gender equality
Successful implementation of gender equality initiatives depends on transparency. Share benchmarks, goals and objectives with the whole organisation, and make a public pledge to achieve these, even going a step further by integrating them into your business plan.

This will ensure that managers and business leaders are held accountable to deliver on the business’ campaign for equity. 

Further to that, adopting processes that review equity during promotions, remuneration reviews and successor planning is also critical.

Ensure remuneration reviews occur for those on Maternity Leave and reassess upon return to work to ensure parity with the market. Recognise that research shows men often ask for more money at the point of hire, so introduce ‘blind remuneration banding’ to roles so that any person, regardless of gender, would be offered the same.

I am proud to confirm that Adecco Group Australia is a 2018 Certified as a Great Place to Work [GPTW] organisation and that our CEO is a proud Pay Equity Ambassador.

Like many organisations we welcome the opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day with our people. 

We are committed to our journey of gender equity, to build confidence, self-esteem and support women to achieve their aspirations, and we call for businesses and organisations across the nation to join us in taking proactive action towards a brighter future, regardless of gender. 



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