Putting the pledge into action
So, I’ve (re)committed to the Pledge. Now what?
As a starting point, we strongly suggest that you complete the new AXIS Pledge self-assessment. Ensure that the Senior Sponsor who has signed the Pledge in instrumental in completing this. Pull together your ideas, evidence and questions and if you’d like to discuss with an AXIS Committee Member, we’d be delighted to help you.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this topic, so we’ve put together some guidance to help you get started (see the AXIS Pledge site). Keeping up with AXIS via social media (LinkedIn) and our regular email newsletters will provide you with the latest thinking on gender balance. In addition, we’ve put together the starter guide below.
To build an effective, long-term strategy to deliver the Pledge, leaders need to consider:
What is your commitment to the AXIS Pledge?
What actions and changes will you make to deliver it?
How will you track progress?
How will you sustain progress?
A suggested process is:
Every organisation is unique and efforts which have worked successfully for others may not be appropriate for your organisation. Pledge Signatories should take time to understand the reasons for the gender imbalance in their own organisations. This is likely to require engagement with staff, through focus groups or surveys, to understand their perspectives.
It will be helpful to review any data you have, including:
Recruitment – advertising wording and strategy, short-listing practices, interview processes, hiring manager knowledge and training
Retention - particularly around maternity leave and for the 12 months following return, and for women between the ages of 45 and 55
Promotion - are women progressing within your organisation at rates proportionate to their representation and at the same pace? If not, why not?
Flexible/agile working – is it available and accessible? Do employees consider there are consequences to them working differently?
Performance reviews - are men and women faring equally in performance ratings? Can or should you remove ratings?
Once you understand the key issues impacting your organisation’s gender balance you will be able to create a bespoke plan to address them. Your plan should include ambitious targets to maintain focus and detail what success looks like.
We are committed to providing Pledge signatories with the latest and best available research and thinking in this area. Our AXIS Resources page has lots of useful content including the Powerful Women report, and evidence-based guidance from McKinsey and the UK Government Equalities Office. We often share new and interesting information on our LinkedIn page too.
Transparency is vital in achieving gender balance and has been proven to help reduce gender pay gaps. We do not have strict requirements on transparency but encourage organisations to be as transparent as they can in relation to pay, promotion processes and decisions, work opportunities and flexible working. It will also be important for your employees to understand your commitment to the Pledge, what actions you are taking and why, and any progress made. Remember that progress is not linear – you may have to share disheartening updates from time to time but doing so honestly and reconfirming your actions is very good practice.
Gender balance is everyone’s issue! Get your staff involved – let them know you’ve signed the Pledge, ask for suggestions and support, and be inclusive (see this link from Inclusive Employers for some inspiration).
Talk about your commitment with your supply chain and encourage them to get involved too. Share your commitment on your social media. We want to celebrate your successes with you! As we move forward with the Pledge and gathering data from the AXIS Pledge self-assessments, we will produce articles and compile an annual report showing trends, progress, and sharing best practice. Don’t be afraid to try something and let us know if it works and any lessons learned.