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A how-to guide: gender diversity in the workplace

Gender Post It Notes

Leading entertainment company Sky provides a prime example for how to achieve a gender-balanced leadership team.

Even if you aren’t a current affairs buff, you’d be hard pressed to have missed the recent news on gender equality in the workplace. The business case is clear. Bringing a greater diversity of experience and approaches helps an organisation anticipate the needs and wants of its customers.

It enables businesses to innovate further, equalling greater success.

But how do you actually ensure your organisation gets there? Take Sky, the broadcaster, as an example. It’s building on a strong foundation – today a third of Sky’s senior leaders are women. Its aim is to move that to a 50/50 split.

Today a third of Sky’s senior leaders are women. Its aim is to move that to a 50/50 split

Sky is taking a three-pronged approach to achieve this.

First, creating a level playing field for talent – this is the foundation stone. Optimising job descriptions and adverts minimises the risk of women self-selecting themselves out of roles. 50/50 balanced shortlists for senior positions ensure a gender mix at interview stage, while unconscious bias training creates interview processes that are fair and equitable, which focus on underlying skills and experience.

Secondly, the company is supercharging existing talent, helping the women already in the organisation reach their potential. Now over 100 women are benefiting from Sky’s Women in Leadership Sponsorship and Development Programme.

This 12-month programme provides participants with a senior sponsor who advocates for them around the business, helping them to identify and land new opportunities. Alongside this, the scheme offers development and knowledge sessions on topics ranging from self-belief to strategy and finance.

Sky is also empowering its employees to work flexibly to get the job done, providing family care support, such as its shared parental leave scheme

Jeremy Darroch, CEO, explains why Sky decided to focus on sponsorship: “We created this programme to help talented women identify opportunities for future advancement, but to also remove any barriers that might prevent them from succeeding. This helps ensure our senior management team has the right gender balance.”

Sky is also empowering its employees to work flexibly to get the job done, and is providing family care support, such as its shared parental leave scheme, which offers six months’ fully paid leave to new parents.

The last part of the puzzle is attracting external talent to your organisation. Finding the very best talent for the role, the team and the business is no easy task, particularly in areas where there is a more limited talent pool – but it’s a crucial part of the mix. Sky has started holding Women in Technology events at its sites in Leeds, London and Scotland to encourage women to consider building a tech career at Sky.

There isn’t one silver bullet – it’s about a multi-faceted approach that is tailored for your organisation and industry. Creating the best-performing, balanced leadership team will take time and commitment. However, as Bella Vuillermoz, Sky’s director of women in leadership, says: “It’s a no-brainer – it generates better ideas, better decision making and better business outcomes. Why wouldn’t you?”

Discover Sky’s leadership programme at sky.co/women

This article was originally produced and published by Business Reporter. View the original article at www.business-reporter.co.uk

Source: The Telegraph

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