We were pretty chuffed to be contacted by St. James’s House and the History of Parliament Trust earlier this year. And even more flattered when they asked us to contribute towards the official commemorative album, entitled ‘Voice and Vote’ for Vote 100 – a celebration of 100 years of suffrage for women.
Voice and Vote embraces equality and diversity across all spheres, highlighting achievement and progress across social, cultural, political and commercial boundaries. In the book we’re described as the ‘Dream Factory’ with employee engagement at its core and an inspirational female leader at the helm, our very own Nikki Gatenby.
And last night, complete with embossed invitation and photo ID, Nikki and I enjoyed some pomp and ceremony around the launch of the album at Westminster Abbey, along with a number of other people involved in helping tell the story of women’s struggle for the right to vote and how the fight for equality continues to this day.
Key for me at the event was a focus on how much more needs to be done to encourage equality for women, not only in politics but also across the business world – particularly when it comes to bringing diversity into decision-making in order to drive better outcomes. Points raised included the need to create a better female leadership pipeline, do more to attract women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based roles, and the importance of flexible working, with a focus on parents in particular (something Propellernet introduced earlier this year in order to Make Life Better for our team).
Recently, we’ve been thinking more about diversity at work, and have started exploring ideas such as unconscious bias, particularly when it comes to recruiting talent. You might have heard the statistic that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the criteria, whereas women only apply if they meet 100%. So I loved the idea of hiring people with potential and shaping roles around them, rather than being confined to restrictive and potentially (unintentionally) off-putting job descriptions.
Another important point, echoed at the recent Happy Workplaces Conference, is the importance of engaging all genders in conversations about equality to bring about long-term, sustainable parity. This feels really important to drive change that will impact everyone as businesses explore alternative ways of doing things, instead of inviting women into traditionally male-defined organisational structures.
It gives us lots of food for thought as we develop a more conscious focus on diversity within the workplace. While we have some stats to be proud of – a pretty much 50/50 split of men and women across the team, balanced salaries and women in key leadership roles – we want to make sure we’re doing as much as we can to support diversity at Propellernet (including supporting a broader definition of diversity than female equality).
We’d love to hear stories from you too – what ideas have helped drive positive change across your organisations? What’s still puzzling you? And, are there any initiatives that didn’t land as you intended? Let’s keep the dialogue and positive change going – drop us a line at [email protected] or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.