Ask for More

From Cath Nolan:

There’s sense among many women that we’re getting a bit of a raw deal when it comes to workload and income. Research shows consistently that women do more work in the home (2.9 vs 5.2 hours) and get paid less in the office (24% of total remuneration).

Of course most men aren’t purposefully setting out to get the upper hand… although for anyone with a competitive streak that’s a necessary factor- male or female. The big question for me, is how can women get a little more of that competitive spirit without feeling dirty?

Let’s tackle the ‘paid less’ issue.

I’ve asked Kelly Magowan, author of The Busy Women’s Guide to Salary Negotiation to join us for a free Webinar in a few weeks, for our subscribers. You can access that HERE.

Kelly quote

Meanwhile, here are my top tips for increasing your competitive urge so you feel ready to take on that conversation.

  1. Be Prepared. First know what you want. Then know your market worth and pitch that rather than how committed you are. If your conversation is all “I deserve” you’l come across and whiny and frankly uncompelling. Kelly offers 7 steps to Salary Negotiation in this article – a few of them are the what-exactly of Being Prepared.
  2. Be Confident. Take stock of all your achievements. Not so you can list them off when you’re sitting down with the boss necessarily, but so you feel better about your abilities. Creatively the market knowledge you’ll get from Kelly’s preparation tips will help with this big time too.
  3. Use Science. You can manipulate your hormones to induce that feeling of competitive drive. By increasing your testosterone (the risk-taking hormone) and decreasing your cortisol (the stress hormone), you’ll be statistically more likely to have that tough conversation.

If you haven’t yet heard Amy Cuddy’s TED talk, How Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are – now’s the time to tune in. If you have heard it, watch it again and share it. Which power pose works best for you? And when will you apply it? Before the big meeting, or will you ALSO use it as you’re preparing?

I’ve heard many disgruntled employees complain that “I’m overlooked”  or “I didn’t get a raise / promotion / support for training I wanted”. When I delve further, they’ve not actually asked for these things that they want.  Exit surveys are filled with evidence that people leave businesses thinking that what they want isn’t available… even though it really is available. Wasted opportunities.

Don’t leave money on the table. Or opportunity or flexibility or whatever it is that’s important to you. Others are asking and receiving. Why not you?

Gear up your confidence and gather your data, be clear about what you want then Ask For It!

You never know, the same strategies that work to get you more income might even work to buy you more equity in the household care department too 🙂

Want to strategise that conversation? Join us for Kelly Magowan’s Webinar and take the opportunity to have your questions answered by the guru.

Cath Nolan

An executive coach and our CEO here at Gender Gap Gone, Cath is renowned for her expertise in individual and organisational development. With over 16 years experience consulting to over 500 businesses globally in this space, Cath has coached over 300 individuals and worked with some of Australia’s best loved and most recognised brands.

Cath is a frequent key note speaker nationally, invited to share the stage with leaders of industry on Leadership and Career Advantage, particularly for women and diversity groups.

Want to hear more strategies for good leadership, diversity and career leverage? Subscribe here for the latest on our programs, free resources and articles.

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Before You Negotiate A Pay Rise…

The Gender Pay Gap for Australian women is irrefutable. But what is it for individual women? How does any employee understand what they should be paid? In truth, most people don’t know how to evaluate their worth objectively, which leaves them to negotiate (or not) based on what they feel they are worth.

The Gender Pay Gap is currently 18.8% in Australia. The implications are as complex as the contributing factors. One of those implications is that as women, when we don’t know our market value we can assume that we’re being underpaid. Sure it’s statistically possible: but without credible evidence it becomes very personal. You risk feeling undervalued and disengaged and your employer risks feeling bullied.

‘One confronting challenge in determining your salary is that it’s more about what the job is worth than it is about what you’re worth.’

And?

Well if money is very important to you, you should target industries and roles that pay handsomely. If you’re moving from financial services to aged care for instance, you should expect a dip in pay.

KNOW WHAT THE MARKET IS PAYING

This one is the most obvious. You could speak with a niche recruiter. Be sure it’s someone who knows their market well, rather than a ‘flick and stick’ transient recruiter who covers all roles and all industries. An experienced niche recruiter will be able to share insight into the salary range you can expect for your job type. This is generally going to be industry specific and affected by location.

The implied advice here is to nurture your relationships with good recruiters!

Recognise that there should be a win-win: you may need them to recruit for you or find your next role and they can provide you with excellent market intelligence.

recruiters

If you don’t know the credible recruiters in your market, find them. It’s an investment. Like a shortcut? Consult the Hays Salary Survey. The beauty of this annual document is that it’s divided by industry, by level of role and by location.

You’re not looking for an absolute dollar figure here, you’re looking for a salary range. If you’re being paid above the range, consider whether your job title could do with adjustment.

Some time on Google will fairly quickly uncover job descriptions for any role. Feed this information back into your salary enquiries.

KNOW WHERE YOUR SKILLS SIT WITHIN THE MARKET

Recruiters can help with this too, but you’ll need to be able to articulate what you do for them to translate that to a market value.

Recognise the difference between responsibilities and achievements. Achievements are generally things that you did that sit above and beyond the normal expectations of your role. Perhaps you’re responsible for executing a certain task but you additionally created processes that wiped 3 days per month from that task. You can calculate the dollar value of your initiative there.

Or perhaps you overachieved your KPIs by 15% … quantify it. Quantifying your achievements is the factor that helps to determine whether you are an average performer or above average. If you can demonstrate that your performance adds value above organisational expectations, then you’re in a good position to convince that your skills sit at the top end of the market’s salary range.

Performance appraisals have a good deal of benefit for you, right? For many they’re the only time (outside of job transition) that they reflect on what they’re achieved. It’s an excellent opportunity to take stock of what you’ve achieved and to make it known.

ARE YOU EASLIY REPLACEABLE?

Are there lots of you or are your skills in high demand?

If a couple of major competitors have recently moved operations off-shore leaving dozens of highly active job seekers with your skills, you’ll have to work harder to prove you deserve a pay rise.

If the four closest competitors are actively making you job offers on a weekly basis because there are so few people with your skills: clearly you’re in a good position to negotiate.

NOT ALL NEGOTIATORS ARE EQUAL

Not all highly competent people are recognised as highly competent. Not all highly regarded employees are competent!

For sustained credibility across roles, it’s essential that you have the magical mix of competence and the ability to be heard. It’s the 2-part success formula of Executive Presence.

Executive Presence

Be really good at your job and gather evidence as you go. Gather skills along the way in communication, confidence and people management that you can apply to peers, influencers and leaders within the business. ‘Managing Up’ is as critical as managing your team.

These are all skills that are essential for effective leadership: the sooner in your career you can get them working for you, the greater your career trajectory will be.

IT’S NOT PERSONAL

I’ve heard a LOT of employees say that they’re underpaid, that they do more hours than is reasonable and deserve to be rewarded for it. Long hours is a generally a separate issue to your salary. Let’s assume here that the long hours are not related to poor productivity or a lack of training in particular skills.

If your hours are long and that doesn’t suit you, you should negotiate workload or delegation options.

“I can see how XXX is an important priority. Let me walk you through the other responsibilities I’m carrying right now and you can tell me which is less important. Alternatively, if they’re equally important we can discuss resourcing.”

Alternatively, decide that you’re prepared to do it for a defined period of time. Be vocal and get agreement on that definition.

Perhaps you’re seeking a pay rise as a reward for a hard slog on a particular project. Remember that your salary will reflect what your job is worth, so if you’re taking on a project that is going to demand a higher level of responsibility and extra hours for a period of time, you should negotiate upfront. Agree to KPIs and expectations and get written agreement on the reward for effort and/or outcomes.

EXUDING OBJECTIVITY

We’ve talked about how to find the data, but how do you clear the emotion from what can feel like a very personal conversation? The most reliable solution is to go outside yourself: speak with a mentor or coach. Being prepared with data is incredibly helpful.

Be clear about your expectations and don’t bring personal circumstances into the conversation. This is not the time to mention the favoured holiday destination or kid’s school fees!

“The industry norm for this role is between C and G. I’m being paid D, which is at the bottom end of that range, however my performance reviews, KPIs and customer reviews confirm that my performance is much closer to the top end of that range. I would like you to review my salary.

What information can I provide you to make that easier? What timeframe should I expect for your decision?”

GETTING THE UPPER HAND IN SALARY NEGOTIATIONS

  1. Take stock. Many people don’t reflect on their achievements until they need to change jobs and are subject to situational insecurity.
  2. Know what your skills are worth in the market.
  3. Know how critical your role is to the organisation.
  4. Get your timing right (don’t approach a negotiation the day before a major product launch or catastrophe when all eyes are focused elsewhere)
  5. Be objective. There should be no “I feel I deserve…” involved.
  6. Be confident. Our earlier blog with tips from The Confidence Coach Lisa Phillips can be helpful
  7. Be good at what you do! And be able to talk about it. Nobody will be as aware of your capabilities as you are- they have their eyes on their own stuff.
  8. No business will pay you more than they have to. You’re an employee not a charity recipient. If you want to be paid more money, you need to be able to justify it.

THE RISK OF NOT KNOWING

Particularly for women when gender pay inequity is so prevalent in the media, it can be a quick assumption that our individual circumstances warrant a better deal.

I would encourage you to NOT assume. Instead, be empowered to uncover the facts for your circumstances. Gather your evidence and find a mentor or coach who will give you an objective ear, not just agree with you!

If it turns out you are being paid less than the market for your level of skill in the role you’re doing, be smart about putting your case forward. Be prepared and be confident.

Know how important it is it you. Be prepared for a ‘No’: there may be other circumstances going on that you’re not aware of. If your negotiation is met with a no, what’s your Plan B?

Having an alternative will be empowering and will help remove some of the emotion from your negotiations.

Cath Nolan, CEO and Founder of Gender Gap Gone, is an Executive Coach and Key Note Speaker with background in organisational and individual development. With a team of associates Cath launched Gender Gap Gone, enabling organisations to ensure that their diversity goals are translated to a lived reality for all employees and that more women enter and rise through the Leadership Pipeline. With a business model designed to fit around competing priorities, Gender Gap Gone helps more women into the roles of their choosing. Subscribe for  the latest free resources and upcoming Programs, or follow us on Twitter Instagram or Facebook and be inspired to keep your career on your work-day radar.

The Diversity Debate… Over Dinner

As far back as 2004 we knew that there was a direct correlation between the number of women at board level and an organisation’s financial success. A report by Catalyst showed that there was a higher financial performance for companies with higher representation of women board directors.

Since then there has been a gradual increase in the numbers of women at board and management levels, but the progress has been really slow. We know that’s not the result of a deliberate choice by any organisation or group, so what is the hold up?

And if that is what is happening for women, what is happening for other segments of our community? Which other groups are under-represented?

The Diversity Debate

That’s one of the questions that Sonia McDonald will be asking a panel of industry leaders on Wednesday and Thursday nights this week.

Leadership powerhouse and diversity champion, LeadershipHQ hosted their first Diversity Debate Dinner back in May. I was so impressed by the solutions- centred outcomes CEO Sonia McDonald drew from that first event that I just have to spread the word about the events this week.

Here are the key insights from the first Diversity Debate:

(Speakers there included Megan Houghton, CEO City Smart, Peter Birtles, MD and CEO Super Retail Group and Martin Moore, CEO CS Energy)

  • Diversity is about a focused strategy but culture is the KEY
  • We need a way to make both men and women accountable for our results
  • The GLASS ladder (source Megan Houghton) – it’s not the glass ceiling which is the problem. It’s the weakness of the glass rungs on the ladder which slows a woman’s career progression.
  • It’s about targets, not quotas
  • It’s essential to begin building leadership capability in women and develop a pipeline to feed them into the right companies and the right roles.
  • Build within the organisation rather than waiting for an external change.
  • Think outside the square when recruiting female talent. The approach which appeals to males doesn’t always work for women.
  • Be honest with ourselves, and with training, learn to be aware of our unconscious bias and the impact it has on the way we work.
  • It’s not all about gender. It is about race, age, disability and It’s aboutbusiness sense, too.
  • It’s a great idea for women to have a sponsor, coach and mentor.
  • Create an internal Diversity and Inclusion board and create your own champions of change.
  • Ask yourself how you are making a difference. If you’re not, then get up and do something.
  • We are seeing women with the right kind of experience, but why aren’t women applying for roles? What needs to change? Is it the way women see the roles, or the roles themselves which must change?
  • Women need to support women.
  • Change – it won’t happen overnight, but should we make it a priority?

In Sydney and Melbourne this week Sonia McDonald of LeadershipHQ.will again draw ideas and evidence on what’s working and what needs to, for good leadership and good business. A panel of Australia’s top CEOs and leadership experts will be sharing the strategies and insights they are successfully using within the diversity space.

In addition to high profile speakers such as Laurice Temple (CEO NAWIC), Amanda Rose (Founder & CEO of The Business Woman Media), Nicola Mills (CEO Pacific Retail Management) and Fiona Vines (Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Change Management, ANZ), the panel includes respected male speakers including Chris Lamb (HRD Lend Lease), Barry Borzillo (MD & CEO Intrax Consulting Engineers), Neil Dalrymple (CEO Bowls Australila) and Peter Birtles (MD and CEO Super Retail Group).

These are just some of the topics the panel will discuss:

  • What works and what doesn’t work when building diversity into workplace culture?
  • Does setting a numerical target really achieve diversity or it is just a numbers game?
  • Is there an organic way to build diversity within organisations?
  • Is there a right way to build diversity into the business so that both customers and your teams will benefit?

It’s important that we start finding the answers to these questions so that we can reshape the workplace to draw on the skills and talents of every one of its members. While diversity is often used as a term to refer to gender balance, it actually refers to all groups within the workplace – old, young, people with disabilities, different cultures and religions as well as both sexes.

Until we can find a way to include everyone in our workplace processes and discussions, we will not be as financially successful as we should be and, as a country, we will be overlooking some of our most talented and versatile workers.

This has to change, and the Diversity Debate Dinners are an excellent springboard for discussion. If you’re available I highly recommend you join these high profile speakers and an audience of committed change makers.

You can secure tickets for the Sydney and Melbourne Diversity Debate Dinners by clicking on the location you’re interested in. Alternatively, we’ve posted the events on our own Events page too. gapgone.com.au/events.html

Like to hear more but can’t make it to these events? Stay tuned for highlights.

Cath Nolan

Founder & Director, Gender Gap Gone

Do You Find It Difficult To Be Confident? With Lisa Phillips, The Confidence Coach

From Lisa Phillips, THE Confidence Coach

Do you suffer from a lack of confidence or self-esteem? If so, you are not alone! As a coach with over 15 years’ experience, this is one of the main issues that I help people overcome during my workshops and coaching sessions.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Company Director or stay at home mum; a lack of confidence can rear its ugly head in any area of your life and can really restrict you from moving forward, following your passions and doing what you really would love to do.

Take a few minutes now to think about your own life, is there a particular area where you lack confidence or self-esteem? Now consider how this may have held you back over the years. Has it stopped you asking for that pay rise, putting yourself forward for that great job, or has it resulted in someone taking advantage of you or walking all over your kind nature?

Thankfully (with a bit of focus, willingness and a sense of humour!) low confidence is something that can be easily resolved. Confidence is really just like a muscle, you just need to do some work on it daily to build it up! Interestingly, one of key obstacles people encounter when practising to be more confident is that they realise they really have a bigger fear that is holding them back – the fear of what could happen if they do start to change.

It sounds a little crazy but more than often it is the fear of what ‘may happen’ that can actually stop us taking action and moving into confidence. Unfortunately, these fears keep us small and comfortable. More often than not, they actually relate more to how other people will react towards us if we do begin to become a more confident and assertive person.

Some common fears which prevent moving into confidence include:

  • Worrying what people will think if you do speak up for yourself or start behaving in a more confident way.
  • Concern that you will end up upsetting someone else or letting them down
  • Thoughts about other people not liking you any more
  • Strong beliefs about always needing to be seen as a nice person!
  • The fear that we are being ‘ selfish’ in some way

Although staying small may feel more comfortable or the easy option, over time, it often ends up in resentment, frustration and blaming other people for situations we find ourselves in.staying small

Do you end up saying yes to attend functions even though you don’t really want to? Do you feel obliged to do things because you want to be seen as a nice girl or you don’t want to let anyone else down? Do you end up saying Yes when you really mean No?   Ok, it may seem the easier option but at what cost to yourself?   The chances are you will end up feeling resentful or blame other people (and yourself!) for asking you in the first place!

In my blog today, I am going to start with sharing some of my top tips for increasing your confidence and also changing the habit of being a people pleaser. If you think you haven’t got the time or maybe you believe you are too busy, then please think again! Many of these will only take a few minutes of your time or can be done when you are in the shower or perhaps brushing your teeth each morning.

Remember, every little step you take will build up that confidence muscle.

TOP TEN For Increasing Confidence (& Leaving The People Pleaser Behind)

1) Write a list of things that you like about yourself and your positive qualities. These could be the fact you are helpful, creative, traits or the fact that you get things done on time. Make sure you write down at least twenty!

2) Each day affirm to yourself (at least ten times if you can!) ‘ I am really looking forward to feeling more confident’ and I am starting to believe that I am a valuable, loveable person and I deserve the very best’

3) Quit comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself that there will always be some people who have more than you, and some people who have less. Comparing yourself to others will NOT make you feel good about yourself.

4) The next time you feel yourself saying Yes, when you really want to say No – ask yourself who you are trying to please? Then, decide to please yourself instead. If you find it difficult to say No – stand in front of the mirror a few times and practice saying it until it feels comfortable.

5) Try not to worry what people will think if you do say No or act assertive around them. The right people will respect you and your boundaries.   Don’t get into the habit of justifying your decision to them.

6) Remind yourself that you are HUMAN. Release the need to beat yourself up for not being perfect. Vow each day to praise yourself, not criticize yourself. This takes practise but even if you stop yourself from criticising yourself just once then you are making great progress. Why not get into the habit of finding one thing to praise yourself for every time you look in the mirror?

7) If you are surrounded by negative people or energy vampires, this will make you feel bad about yourself and will lower your self-esteem. Re- think the people you hand out with. Are they adding to your energy or draining it? Try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. This will help you feel better about yourself and this will raise your self-esteem.

8) Each night before you go to bed, think about (or write down if you wish) five successful things you have done that day. This could be as simple as getting to work on time, helping a friend or cooking a healthy dinner.

1

9) Set yourself a target of saying No at least twice a week. It will be scary at first but after a few times, you will feel empowered and fabulous. Recognise that you may feel uncomfortable after saying No.   Don’t let this feeling trick you into feeling guilty.

10) Make sure you are living your own life and not the life someone else wishes you live. If you feel nervous about standing up for yourself etc, make this one of your mini goals. You won’t develop self-esteem if you sit on the sidelines and don’t push yourself to take risks and new challenges.

Remember, we are all capable of having a strong confidence muscle. In doing the steps above, you will also start to take more risks and be less concerned with making a fool of yourself or failing.

One of the additional benefits is also being less concerned about what others think of you or seeking approval from others. Most importantly is the fact that you will be far more comfortable in your own skin and feel at peace with the wonderful person you really are.

Lisa

Benefits of Confidence

Lisa Phillips is a Life and Confidence Coach based in Sydney, Australia.   Lisa features regularly in the media and has her own life coaching radio show.   She is also the author of The Confidence Coach book ( Exisle Publishing) .  Lisa also runs workshops at GGG which can be found here  http://gapgone.com.au/www.html

To find out more, please see www.amazingcoaching.com.au / www.theconfidencecoachbook.com

The Gender Pay Gap and The Hidden Ism

The Gender Pay Gap in Australia is at the highest level since 1994. 18.8% nationally and a whopping 25.7% in Western Australia.

Staggering though these figures are, rather than dwell here I’d like to talk about solutions.

(But if you’d like a breakdown by location, industry, age and expressed inclination to change, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s fact sheet is well researched and offers insightful slicing and dicing.

https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/…/Gender_Pay_Gap_Factsheet.pdf

men named John

Policies that encourage female participation are seen by many as the panacea for getting more women into the leadership pipeline.

Progressive organisations of all sizes are likely to have gender policies in place, even if only as part of broader diversity policies. These policies benefit their customers as much as their employment brand. And yet. There is frequently a disconnect between the corporate policy and the lived reality for many employees.

Organisations who offer flexible work arrangements have managers saying “no that can’t be applied in your circumstances” – to both men and women. For the most part these managers are not intent on being mean or enforcing gender inequality. They are simply accustomed to a conservative model and cannot see how a newer arrangement can effectively deliver results.

The policy may be in place, but the culture is yet to adapt. 

Over coming weeks and months I’ll be speaking with business leaders who have managed to normalise flexibility. If systems are just for women, they’ll be VERY slow to take effect- if they do at all. Many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of some getting an advantage based on anything but merit.

Isn’t that what we’re doing, at Gender Gap Gone? Not necessarily.

Sure, we want to give women en masse a competitive advantage, but not a free ride. Our top-down programs are mostly whole or business solutions. That’s about helping organisations to execute their gender agenda – which also means their diversity plans and smart behaviours, more broadly. The core business practices that negatively impact women in the workplace – such as rigid work arrangements, unprofessional behaviours and the hidden ism (more on that shortly) impact the broader workforce and business outputs.

Power to the Individual

At an individual level, career and support programs have long existed to assist an individual’s development and indeed career trajectory if that’s what they choose. The programs are too often coordinated by middle aged white men who do very well selling programs to the middle aged white decision makers in organisations. Please don’t misunderstand me here. There are a number of men in talent management who are indeed offering progressive solutions and critical thought leadership. There are many senior male leaders in talent management whom I consider one or two among my mentors. But they’re a rare find.

There are also a great many solo operator coaches across career and executive coaching. Their solutions are entirely tailored to the individual and they garner excellent engagement with clear ROI for clients. They however lack a united voice to reach the broader community to enact a change en masse.

The Shift In Career Management

In 2012 the talent management market saw a shift taking form. Previously businesses chose to engage talent providers based on the individuals at the helm and long term relationships. From 2012 the uptake rates started to drop dramatically. Pre-2012 the take up rate for external but business-paid career management programs was in the vicinity of 60% (although closer to 90% during the GFC). Post 2012 it’s not uncommon to see 0-10% take up on a traditional career management program, despite it being paid for by the boss.

Why is that?

In the past career management programs were most often offered during role redundancy. Career Management programs certainly soften the impacts of transition. With so many Australians already having experienced a redundancy or 2 or 3, we’re collectively more robust. Yet the vast majority still feel unprepared in both career direction and self-promotion. Why don’t more people take up the traditional programs being offered to them? Employees are too busy to take time out for the traditional delivery models. Online access reigns supreme.

Online career programs do not provide the full effect.

Without a coach, who can help you apply learning to your own circumstances? Who will stretch you to push further than you otherwise would? Who will hold you accountable so that you don’t give in to the distraction of the day to day? One to one coaching is essential in practically applied development action.

An effective 1:1 coach program will always deliver superior results over an online program alone. But if the only options consumer consider are online vs nothing? We’d prefer to deliver an excellent online program that also offers an affordable, easy-access 1:1 solution when and if the consumer is ready.

At Gender Gap Gone our coach model facilitates ease of uptake as well as workplace flexibility for our coaches.

Our coach team is spread across Sydney Melbourne and London. Just as many working women prefer to focus on development outside of work hours, our coaches like to work odd hours too. Many of them are building their own solo enterprises while others juggle Gender Gap Gone with raising families.

The point is that by creating a delivery model that provides flexibility for our coaches, we also deliver in a way that suits our customers.

Well, that’s to say that our research tells us this suits our would-be customers, perhaps I’ll revisit this topic in a blog some months after we launch and officially have customers!

Normalising Flexibility

Skype is a great enabler. Over coming weeks and months you’ll hear about organisations implementing teleworking as one method of normalising flexibility. The software to conduct meetings remotely is readily available and low cost. For many workers this reduces both their hours and the cost of working. How much time would you save each day if you didn’t need to iron, do a somewhat professional hair and makeup job, sit through traffic jams, leave the office to buy lunch and participate in countless water cooler conversations.

There are 2 key potential pitfalls for employees utilising the remote access model. Connectedness and The Water Cooler.

Connectedness is the easier to overcome: ‘gated’ social media is allowing vast global teams to conduct meetings and conversations. IBM is a great example. Employees are able to take ageing parents to appointments/deliver kids to soccer/attend a charity event mid afternoon, then plug back in or attend an online meeting at 7pm.

Widely discussed, our lifestyles have become busier. Flexible workplace practices allow careers to better integrate with our current lifestyle arrangements as well as global business models. Not only are employees more highly engaged, but the average outputs are greater. (Are you looking forward to that blog as much as we are?)

BUSY LIFE SYNDROME

The danger of the water cooler is more subversive and far more risky for women. I’m referring to the casual conversations that happen in stolen moments, between work time, between meetings. Knowledge is often inadvertently shared amid the ‘How was your weekend?’ talk.

These casual conversations go to the very heart of the ‘other ism’. In speaking with business leaders about the Gender Gap and diversity in their organisations, there is a comment I come across repeatedly. “We don’t have to worry about sexism (ageism/racism etc) here, it’s just favouritism.”

STOP! WAIT! Here you’re describing unconscious bias in action.

For 8 years I worked exclusively in the recruitment industry (from duck pluckers to General Managers, across many industries and multiple countries). Since then I’ve designed and delivered recruitment training programs for small and large businesses. The singular common thread is that when I would ask a manager what they wanted to recruit, their answer was a version of ‘another me’. They would look to their skill sets, their experience and want to replicate it in their future team member. We tend to recruit in our own image.

“please find another me”

Favouritism: Unconscious Bias In Action

There are SOOO many pitfalls to this outlook. A whole team of ‘me’ will likely come very quickly and harmoniously to decisions, but they will be narrow and ill considered. A team filled with one type is unlikely to interact as well with other departments or with customers as if they were more reflective of those other stakeholder groups.

From where I stand, favouritism is the most dangerous of the barriers to gender equality in the workplace. Where the decision makers are largely middle aged and white, these men will proactively have to fight their unconscious bias in order not to hire middle aged white men to follow them.

The very best resourced HR teams cannot prevent archaic attitudes. Like one business I was working for, helping to secure a CFO. Day to day, the organisation was highly progressive. Enter the renegade dinosaur. In interview the silent partner dropped in unexpectedly to participate in the interview with the female front-runner. Early in the interview he bombastically demanded “You’re obviously about that age, you’d be going off to have babies soon, wouldn’t you?”.

The question was illegal. But the damage was done. The candidate was thrown off by the question and bombed the rest of the interview.

Recourse? Why bother? The organisation went from being highly desirable to no-thanks.

We can help organisations to align their gender policies to practice and culture, but we cannot remove the dinosaurs.

The thing is, at Gender Gap Gone we don’t think we need to. At least, we’ll leave that to someone else!

More Women In The Leadership Pipeline

Good business leaders will appoint the best person for the role. If the best person on the day is male, then the male should be appointed. In my time recruiting senior leadership roles, I would have loved to have put more women forward for consideration. There just weren’t more women applying. It’s one of the reasons my move from recruitment to executive coaching appealed to me so much.

Heard the statistic that women won’t apply unless they’re 100% qualified but men will apply if they’re 60% qualified?

Tara Sophia Mohr’s more in-depth look https://hbr.org/2014/08/why-women-dont-apply-for-jobs-unless-theyre-100-qualified      is worth the read.

What if we could get more women into the leadership pipeline? LOTS more women? Let’s face it, not all women are interested in leadership roles. But if we expose female employees en masse to the tools, competitive language and inspiration to drive their own careers forward… wouldn’t that start to tip the scales? We believe it will.

Back to the water cooler- what can women do about that? It’s the golden goose. While it’s not a woman’s responsibility to create an equitable working environment for herself, there are certainly things a woman can do to raise her profile and to ensure that the projects she works on are aligned to the organisation’s values. And yes, you guessed it, stay tuned to hear more from Gender Gap Gone associates and from thought leaders on proven ways to go about just that.

A word must be said on the very obvious self-indulgence of this Gender Gap Gone intro blog: it’s been all about us and our ideology. We happen to think we’re pretty interesting & that we have a compelling story to tell! In seriousness though, in future articles you can expect to hear from experts, industry leaders and thought leaders. We do believe that with voices trained on solutions, we’re far stronger together.

The Gender Gap issue is complex and so must the solutions be. The Gender Gap Gone team is sure proud to be leading a solutions – focused change. Our business is brand new but our expertise is tested. Our advice is not unique to women, but our model is ideally suited to women and the progression of women.

Whether you LEAD female employees or you ARE a female employee or perhaps you’ve a partner or friend who is one: I hope you too subscribe to the idea that quality information can empower change. Quality information is precisely what we plan to serve up in the Gender Gap Gone Blog. A weekly dose of how-to or inspiration or case studies, from our team and guest contributors.

I hope you’ll join me. Subscribe to the concept? Then please, subscribe to the blog too and pass it on. Like us on facebook.com/GenderGapGone or follow us on twitter @GGapGone Join the conversation. We’d love to hear your contribution.

Catherine Nolan is Founder and Director of Gender Gap Gone, gap gone com.au launching in July 2015. Her team of associates are experts in their fields, in the areas of Leadership and Development, Communications, Talent Management, Careers and Consulting. At the time of writing the business is 4 weeks away from launch and yet has already attracted media attention, public acclaim and a number of guest speaking engagements. Catherine is passionate about the positive impacts of self-power in seeing the Gender Gap Gone.