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New guidelines a valuable resource for gender balance reporting

Here’s a big tip for those of you charged with measuring and monitoring gender balance in your organization: the new Guidelines for Gender Balance Performance and Reporting Australia developed by Women On Boards will save you loads of time and money and give you access to leading practice tools (finally!) all in place.

I’ve spent the past few days test driving the comprehensive references and guidelines and the free (yes – I mean totally and completely FREE!!!) excel-based reporting tool for tracking your progress. And I’ve got to say I’m impressed. And grateful. But most of all, I’m surprised that all of this is now available free of charge – absolutely gratis – from the Women on Boards website.

Anyone who’s been involved in tracking and strategizing on the gender balance front will know that there are loads of tools and resources available in the public domain.  What’s different about these new Guidelines – the brainchild of Women on Boards – is that all the relevant leading practices, legislation, frameworks and – importantly – reporting tools, are now all in one place.

That this is all available free of charge, when many consulting firms charging significant fees for similar resources, is a pleasant surprise.  Though when I think of the collaborative nature of Women on Boards – and the generous coalition behind this initiative to develop a practical and relevant framework to help organisations measure, report and improve performance in relation to gender balance – then perhaps it’s not surprising at all.

In the interests of full transparency, I can declare that I have no commercial interest in Women on Boards, or the Guidelines, though it will certainly be a valuable addition to my resource toolkit on my future gender balance consulting assignments.

So what’s under the bonnet?  Here’s the official spiel from the Women on Boards website:

They are a resource for entities to achieve cultural change, rather than to achieve compliance with reporting obligations.

The Guidelines contain gender balance indicators that entities – from the largest ASX listed company to small to medium-sized enterprises – can adopt in order to:

  1. collect and analyse data on gender balance
  2. report on the current state of gender balance, and
  3. report on progress against measurable targets to improve gender balance outcomes.

The key element of the Guidelines is the Framework for data collection, analysis, reporting and performance improvement (the Framework), which is intended to assist entities to set measurable targets for increased participation by women. The Framework covers seven sections as follows:

  1. Policies and practices in relation to gender balance in the workplace
  2. Areas where data should be collected in order to develop a comprehensive workplace profile
  3. Good practices to achieve pay equity
  4. Measuring effectiveness of flexible work practices
  5. Policies for recruitment and promotion
  6. A guide for evaluation and development
  7. Mechanisms for communication and information

The Framework is progressive, so that entities can identify at which stage of the gender balance journey they find themselves, and select activities for implementation that progresses them to the next stage. The Guidelines also contain a sample of a dashboard/ scorecard that can be used to report to the board on gender balance within the entity.

If any part of your job description is to monitor, identify, track or promote gender balance and gender diversity in your business, I can highly recommend these guidelines to get you started.  You can check them out at the WOB website here and a big thanks goes out to Women On Boards for making this available to us all.

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