“... (diversity) is so difficult. There is no one thing—or even a number of things—that will necessarily deliver the outcome that you want or expect. You need to be bold in experimenting.”
–Elizabeth Broderick, a senior adviser to the head of UN Women in New York
‘Company culture’ is a term thrown around frequently to discuss everything from an organisation’s values to the vibe in the office. An array of terms exists to describe company culture, both when it is healthy (‘vibrant,’ ‘social,’ ‘exciting,’ ‘innovative’) and when it is unhealthy (‘bullying culture,’ ‘culture of fear,’ ‘abusive work environment’). If your business is tilting towards the latter end of the spectrum, then organisational culture consulting and change is due. If you’re one of the organisations that have a great company culture, no doubt you are looking for ways to consistently improve, be the industry or market leader, and need to refresh what currently works so you never get stagnant.
Gender diversity in the workplace is often thought of as a separate issue. However, the truth is that gender equality (or lack thereof) can also have a massive impact on an organisation’s company culture. ‘Male-dominated’ is another term that can be used to describe unhealthy company cultures. While male-dominated cultures are not necessarily as harmful as cultures of fear or other toxic work environments, they are unlikely to appeal to or attract women. Consequently, the business in question misses out on 50% of the talent pool.
Any business that is alienating half the talent pool with its company culture cannot be said to have a healthy company culture. The problem is, companies in this situation can and do have very robust and positive office environments (amongst their male employees!), leading leaders to believe that there are no culture issues to be solved.
More gender-diverse companies enjoy the benefit of different perspectives. These added attitudes lead to more balanced decisions, with lower risk and increased profit. A group where women don’t feel welcome—or don’t see pathways for advancement—cannot enjoy these benefits.
If gender diversity is a problem for your business, then an organisational culture consulting session can
help you find ways to evolve.
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