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Employee Development: 5 Killer Ways to Break The Glass Ceiling

Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for today’s enterprises.
Ronald Corker attends Community College of Philadelphia and plans to pursue his MBA after earning a bachelor’s degree. His passions include business, mountain biking, home construction, automobiles and entertainment. He views writing as an awesome and enlightening opportunity to share his interests with readers.
Ronald Corker attends Community College of Philadelphia and plans to pursue his MBA after earning a bachelor’s degree. His passions include business, mountain biking, home construction, automobiles and entertainment. He views writing as an awesome and enlightening opportunity to share his interests with readers.

Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for today’s enterprises. By understanding how today’s newest wave of professionals think about diversity, enterprise leaders can make their firms look more attractive to potential recruits. In the modern workplace, Millennial males are seemingly unlikely allies for promoting inclusiveness. However, a study conducted by Boston Global Management (BCG) reveals that the viewpoints of young male professionals closely aligns with that of women. Because they typically share responsibilities with their mates, today’s Millennial males are more likely to support equality for women in the workplace.

Women represent a significant segment of skilled professionals. Despite this, they still face unfair career obstacles. In the modern workplace, this is just as much as a problem for men as it is for women. To remedy this issue, business leaders can create value with their job offerings, improve employee retention and create a balanced talent pool by implementing the following 5 tips in the workplace.

Tip 1: Encourage Growth and Experimentation for Women and Minorities

Business leaders should encourage minority and women employees to continuously evolve and experiment, both personally and professionally. During maternity leave, for instance, female professionals should be encouraged to stay active in the community and find ways to stay productive outside of the home. Leaders should accommodate women professionals during this joyous time of life. For instance, programs that allow new mothers to return to the office part time following a maternity leave, and ease back into full-time work, could be beneficial.

Male professionals should evolve and experiment as well. Additionally, they should understand the added responsibilities that comes with bringing a new life into the world.

Tip 2: Support Mentor-Mentee Relationships

Successful women executives should take an active role in supporting the next wave of female and minority leadership. As mentors, accomplished female executives can inspire, encourage and empower aspiring women and minority professionals. This show of solidarity is especially beneficial in a male-dominated workspace.

Male advocates can also take the initiative to mentor aspiring women and minority leaders. For male leaders who feel as though they may be out of touch with the reality of existing company culture, one-on-one meetings can help them gauge current conditions in the workplace. For male executives who truly want to contribute to fairness and inclusion in the workplace, it’s important to ask, “What does our glass ceiling look like?”.

Tip 3: Start the Bias Conversation

In today’s workplace, unconscious and unfair bias can negatively impact both male and female professionals and affect executive decision-making. Enterprise leaders should make sure that staff members, managers and executives are self-aware of how they relate to their minority and female peers. This begins with introspection into how individuals feel about bias and what can be done to eliminate it. For example, enterprises can host workshops that examine how stereotypes impact thinking. These kinds of sessions increase self-awareness of bias and stereotypes and teach staff members how to overcome them.

Tip 4: Leverage Targeted Initiatives to Mitigate Bias

Often, female employees set aside their professional aspirations in favor of parental responsibilities. Leadership programs and internships as well as maternal back-to-work transition programs can help to advance the role of women in the workplace. Additionally, telecommuting, work-life balance and family flex leave programs can help working parents manage their personal and professional roles.

Programs that target minorities and women, such as college recruitment initiatives, make a significant difference in building a balanced workforce. The Harvard Business Review reports that five years after firms launch targeted college recruitment initiatives, minority and women management increases by an average of 10-percent.

Tip 5: Work to Eliminate Systemic Bias

It’s important to encourage real and sincere participation in diversity and inclusion programs among male professionals over the age of 40. This group typically represents the senior and middle managers who shape culture in the workplace. If this group doesn’t honestly buy into organizational inclusion initiatives, any attempt to promote fairness and inclusion will likely fail. Furthermore, the process of eliminating systemic bias should begin with the recruitment process and continue for the entirety of the employee career cycle.

Most organizations are not as racially diverse and gender balanced as they’d like to believe. For example, daily exposures to unnecessary and unfair inconveniences in the workplace due to unconscious bias can affect how individuals feel about their job. However, enterprise leaders must forge ahead with inclusion and career advancement initiatives to retain skilled talent, as business demands increasingly outweigh available trained workers.

As younger generations enter the workforce, the demand for racial and gender balance will increase. Firms that meet this demand will realize immediate improvements in organizational performance. Additionally, these organizations will attract more skilled talent by maintaining a reputation for fair hiring and career development practices.

Racial and gender balance is a challenge as well as an opportunity for today’s enterprises that requires the collaboration of the entire team. With the nation’s brightest young Millennial recruits as allies, today’s business leaders can lead their organizations toward a future that’s fair and inclusive.

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