Monday, January 30, 2012

"Quick wins" good for diversity, but more lateral approach needed

Organisations are building some "quick wins" toward their diversity targets by boosting the numbers of senior women in traditionally female-dominated areas of business, but gender diversity experts say they need to broaden their approach in order to make real progress.

According to Emberin founder Maureen Frank, many organisations subject to the ASX gender diversity guidelines - which require companies to set targets and report on the representation of women in senior executive roles - are currently using a strategy of "Let's get some quick runs on the board".

"They're going for the quick wins to start with. And certainly if you look at some of the areas where there has traditionally been a number of senior women - HR, corporate communications, legal, even finance to some extent - those are areas where there is a very obvious talent pool of women who are senior, and who they can call upon to fill those roles.

"That's a start; it starts to set the right tone. However, if companies are really going to conquer this issue, they're going to have to start looking at putting women in operational roles.

"That's the key to it. You want women who are running profit and loss centres and you want them to start bringing the women in their organisations through into operational roles."

Karen Morley, co-founder of Gender Worx, says that the "quick wins" strategy makes sense "in some ways, because it's much easier to move women into roles in a context where there are already women - into female-dominate areas. It's just easier to do.

"There are more risks associated with moving women quickly into male-dominated areas." (See
this article for more on this topic.)

But, she says, these organisations are the ones taking a compliance approach to the guidelines and might struggle to maintain the momentum needed to reach their targets.

Frank says organisations need to realise that for most, meeting targets will require a long-term focus.

"A lot of companies have put a lot of energy in, in the last 12 months, but there's still not a huge amount of progress in most. So I think it's important to recognise that the journey has just begun. And there are no quick fixes or silver bullets, but this is going to require persistent effort probably over the next five years."

Further, many will need a new mindset for hiring, she says.

"Traditionally, companies have had very rigid mindsets around the way people progress in an organisation. That's been what I describe as a masculine model - 'That guy has been in the organisation for 15 years; he's ticked all the traditional boxes, therefore he becomes the head of that department'. So I think they need to start thinking laterally, and more broadly, about how they hire and recruit into those senior management roles, and they need to recognise that subject matter expertise and experience does not necessarily make a really good senior manager."

Act now to avert a male backlash
Both experts warn that without providing a high level of education about gender diversity, organisations risk a "backlash" from their male employees.

According to Frank, there is a high degree of knowledge, at very senior levels, of the business case for gender diversity, but "middle management still feel very threatened".

"I think there's still the mentality that it's... positive discrimination against men. So there is a fairly urgent need for education of men at middle management level."

Morley agrees, saying, "It's really important that organisations carefully manage the perception that people are missing out on jobs".

"It's certainly one of the anxieties that people have. There's a concern that one of the consequences of introducing gender diversity guidelines is that talented men will find it increasingly difficult to get roles.

"There's a lot of discussion about that in terms of board positions - there are men who are saying they're board ready, but they're not able to get access to new roles. And a part of the reason is that women are being given priority for that."

Morley says that "on a statistical basis", the recent increase in the percentage of women being promoted to board positions does mean that men are not being promoted into those positions, "so... there is slightly less opportunity for men".

"But let's be clear that those appointments are still not 50:50 appointments," she stresses.

"We have to be clear that we've not had a level playing field; we've not previously had 'merit', in terms of placing people in senior positions and board positions. So for a period of time we may have to go back in a different direction, and that's just what it will take for us to get to better representation of women."

Frank says that on an individual level, she does not think that men are being discriminated against and missing out on positions and promotions.

"In my experience, although [organisations] very clearly want to see a candidate slate that has equal representation of men and women on it, they are still absolutely picking the best person for the job."

Source: hrdaily

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Career Advice for Parents program introduced by the DEEWR

We are proud to be part of the New Career Advice for Parents program, being run by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The program has just been introduced and is now live!

Career Advice for Parents is a free telephone service which provides professional, informed career advice by qualified Career Advisers to assist eligible parents in identifying transferrable skills, explore career options and develop a plan of action to help them achieve their employment goals.
The Career Advice service is only available via telephone. It does not include a face to face option.


An employment service provider can determine eligibility for the service. A parent is to be registered with an employment service provider, if they are not registered already they can find a provider by using the search tool:
Career Advisers offer two distinct but related streams of service, Career Planning and Résumé Appraisal.

Career Planning

A Career Adviser can help with a range of activities such as:
  • identifying transferable skills
  • researching industries and occupations
  • improve understanding of job search strategies in today’s labour market
  • identify education and training options
  • developing a plan to achieve employment goals.
To get the most out of a Career Planning session, eligible parents should do some of the activities in My Guide before speaking to a Career Adviser. My Guide is a personalised career exploration service that records interests, skills and experience, and assists in developing a career profile. My Guide includes My Career Plan which helps set and achieve career goals.
To access My Guide, go to My Guide and sign up to My Guide. My Career Plan can be emailed to the Career Adviser ahead of a career advice session to

You'll find an overview of the program here.


Monday, January 9, 2012

12 Ways to Support Your Working Parents in 2012 - Practical Tips and Ideas!

1.      ‘Career After Kids’ Seminar – 2.5hr seminar to help your parents return to work and manage work life balance.

With reputable career coaches your presenters, this seminar is designed exclusively for mums and dads needing assistance to:

·         Plan and prepare to re-enter the workplace
·         Review their career and explore flexible work options
·         Create work life happiness and manage their career as a working parent

Going back to work after full time parenting can be daunting, even when you have a job you love! Support the parents in your organisation to return to work and balance career and family with ‘Career After Kids’.

2.      Start a Stay-in-Touch Program – let mums@work develop and run it for you with our Stay-in-Touch Program.

To ensure your employees experience a smooth transition to and from parental leave, it’s vital to offer a ‘stay-in-touch’ service which allows you to continually communicate with employees at home. mums@work is making it easier for you to stay connected to your parents on leave and retain talent with our ‘stay-in-touch’ program. We can help your business create a parental leave program and better still manage the program for you, making it easier for managers and employees to transition to and from parental leave.

3.      Offer maternity leave and return to work coaching support –see our Coaching Gift Certificates!

It’s no longer enough to offer paid maternity leave if you want to be successful in retaining quality talent. Make the transition of having a family and going back to work a successful one for both your organisation and your employees. Make return to work coaching a part of your organisation’s family friendly initiatives. Provide your parents with access to a working parent career coach to assist them in:

·         Preparing for parental leave
·         Explore and implement a viable flexible work arrangement
·         Discuss and navigate the return to work process and transition from parenthood back to work
·         Consider future career path options within the organisation post parenthood
·         Improve work and family balance

4.      Create a Working Parents Toolkit.

The mums@work Working Parents Toolkit provides companies with all the information and resources you need to successfully manage your working parents. It is designed to specifically support:

·         Expectant parents
·         Employees on parental leave
·         Working parents

The Toolkit makes the transition to parenthood and return to work that much easier with valuable insight, legal requirements and advice from experts in the fields of career management, human resources and childcare, as well as real-world working parents.

5.    Implement a ‘Manage Your Own Career’ workshop for parents balancing work and family.

Help your working parents take control of their own career and empower them to take initiative in all stages of their career through having a baby, returning to work and managing work life balance. Offer advice for surviving and thriving as a working parent, how to keep your career on track and creating work life happiness.

6.      Audit your family friendly and flexible work practices –survey and find out what your working parents need!

Hold discussion groups to give your employees a forum to provide feedback.

7.      Offer a ‘Preparing for Parental Leave Package’ to expectant mums and dads that include a Coaching Session and copy of ‘Towards Parenthood’ Guide.

About the ‘Towards Parenthood publication’ – This guidebook aims to assist parents manage the complex demands of parenting; strengthen the couple relationship and the relationship between parents and infants. Skills in coping, problem-solving, enhancing self-esteem, assertive communication, bonding with your baby and understanding your baby’s cues are presented. 

Upon completion of this service, your parents will be prepared for parental leave; have a plan for how they will stay in touch whilst on leave and, feel supported as they begin their transition into parenthood!

The Flexible Work Proposal Toolkit is a simple and convenient business case tool that enables employees and managers to research, negotiate and implement a flexible work arrangement.

This Toolkit is a must for organisations who want to retain valued, skilled and experienced employee (not just parents). You can brand this toolkit as your own and your existing flexibility content can be integrated to suit your organisation’s needs.

9.      Create a Job Design Guide for Managers and Employeesask about our Job Design Toolkit. Empower your employees and managers on effective job design to create more efficient and flexible ways of working.

Job sharing can help employees achieve a balance between work and other activities, including family responsibilities, availability of a wider range of skills and experience within the job, peak period coverage – it may be possible for both partners to work during very busy times, continuity of coverage, staff retention, reduced staff turnover, attracting new staff, improved staff morale, lower absenteeism, and increased productivity. Registers can be a useful tool where interested employees can indicate their preferred hours. Organisations can then match job-share partners who have complementary hours, skills and other relevant factors.  

11.  Create a recruitment strategy to design flexible roles and attract and retain key talenttalk to our recruitment manager for more info.

mums@work offers a simple recruitment service to introduce and connect mums and dads to jobs with family friendly, flexible employers across a range of industries and professions. Best of all there is NO costly agency placement fee involved. It’s simple, flexible and affordable.

12.  Launch a ‘working parents’ group in your workplace – let mums@work develop and run it for you.

Being a working parent has its challenges but working mums and dads can thrive with support. Coming together with people in a similar situation and discussing highlights, challenges and strategies can be of enormous benefit and offer your working parents the encouragement and support that will help them be successful at work and at home.