While many industries have made strides in the past couple of decades to improve gender equality in the workplace, there’s still a long way to go. After all, full-time female workers still only earn 80 cents for every dollar male counterparts earn in the United States.
By embracing gender equality at work, you’re not just helping to level the playing field, you could be making your organization more successful. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity among executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile, according to data from a 2017 McKinsey and Company study.
If you ask your colleagues if they support gender equality in the workplace, most people will reply with “yes” or “of course!” But many company stakeholders and/or Learning and Development professionals aren’t sure how to actually achieve gender equality in the workplace, or how learning can play a role in improving it.
While there are many ways to bridge the equality gap, a configurable learning management system (LMS) could be your most effective tool for making true workplace equality a reality.
The first step of any initiative is understanding the current landscape. You need to be armed with the facts and figures to make the case for why training and learning is critical to the success of your organization. Buy-in from C-Level executives is essential.
Leveraging LMS Functionality to go beyond lip Service
There needs to be measurable action so your commitment to gender diversity doesn’t just seem like lip service – and it can’t just be up to one person to lead the charge. You need employees and leadership to be champions of workplace equality and it all starts with awareness. Awareness sparks advocacy, and advocacy sparks change.
These LMS features and functionality can help create an actionable, measurable path towards change:
- Quizzes – We all have biases, even if we’re not aware of them. Creating interactive quizzes within the LMS can help learners uncover biases they didn’t know they had. The results of these quizzes can make a big impact on setting the foundations for learning.
- Gamification – To make gender equality concepts really stick, you need your training to be engaging. Use gamification features in an LMS to help lessons better resonate. Learners can be awarded badges after completing certain course levels and earn points throughout their entire learning journey.
- Forum Mentoring – A great way to empower and encourage the women in your workforce is through mentoring. With an LMS, you don’t have to block off time during your busy day for traditional mentorship. Instead, you can incorporate it into your daily routine by creating forums in the LMS where mentors can pass down guidance and advice or answer direct questions from mentees.
- Audience Segmentation – Customize training content based on the employee or partner. Managers will need to learn different materials and concepts than their subordinates. Instead of creating a one-size-fits-all gender equality training, automatically segmenting audiences by their jobs, titles, location and more creates opportunity for tailored content.
- Compliance Tracking – There are some courses that absolutely need to be taken by each employee, vendor or partner, such as courses designed to identify and stop sexual harassment in the workplace. Your LMS should be able to automatically assign trainings and courses to the entire company, set due dates and monitor completion.
- Continuous Learning – Since improving gender equality in the workplace is an ongoing effort, there needs to be ongoing training and learning opportunities. Offer LMS content that lets employees continuously learn methods to improve gender equality over time. Then give them access to this content where and when they learn best by offering flexible learning schedules or mobile learning through smartphones and tablets.
WALK THE WALK
It’s not enough to just throw training at your employees, you need to practice what you preach in every facet of business. Are you partnering with vendors that also champion gender equality? Are hiring managers interviewing the same number of female candidates as males for open positions?
One quick and actionable way to walk the gender equality walk is to ensure your LMS content is representative of all genders. So if pronouns are only “he” within course content or a larger portion of imagery depicts men, you are not practicing what you preach. Create content with equal representation.
The same concept goes for marketing materials. Whether it’s stock photos or pictures taken within your company, ensure the imaginary represents people of different races, ages, genders and abilities.
FORGING A BETTER FUTURE
What’s the use of learning if you can’t track the results? Use an LMS that creates actionable insights and doesn’t make pulling reports feel like a chore. In fact, a great LMS will have the ability to configure what information is most relevant to you (ad hoc reports) and even automate who they’re sent to and at what frequency. Armed with the proper information, you can make better business decisions for the future.
You can also use learning data from the LMS when it comes time for promotion and raises, an area where women have historically gotten the short end of the stick. This can help identify barriers for women applying for senior management jobs and evaluate whether there is a shortage of relevant training or career development opportunities within your organization to make women feel qualified.
The Bottom Line
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates the gender wage gap won’t close until 2059! By leveraging your LMS, informing your workforce and empowering female employees, you can make gender equality something that occurs sooner rather than later.