- Unconscious bias training and mentorship programs are common but ineffective ways to achieve gender equality in tech companies, according to new research published in the Harvard Business Review. Although these programs were designed to prepare women for advancement, women remain underrepresented in leadership roles, the research showed.
- According to the research, tech companies have placed the responsibility of achieving gender equality on individuals instead of executive leaders, who need to make cultural changes within organizations. As a researcher described the problem: "I found that executives tended to focus on teaching women to fit the existing mold in order to advance in senior leadership, instead of on how they might change the mold." The research suggested that "broader recruiting strategies, specific and measurable performance evaluation criteria, and transparent procedures for assigning compensation" will aid tech companies in reducing gender inequality.
- The research also recommended accountability and transparency in promotion decisions. Without these two approaches, "performance-reward bias" can set in, whereby rewards are unfairly given out, with women and underrepresented nonwhites receiving fewer rewards than their performance merits.
Performance management leaves a lot to be desired, according to various studies. Appraised survey results released in August revealed that a third of managers don't follow up on scheduled check-ins in non-traditional continuous performance management programs; and that failure devalues a worker's time and deprives them of important information about their performance. As the most recent research pointed out, without accountability and transparency in managing performance, women and other underrepresented groups of workers are likely to be at a greater disadvantage.
Many employers are intently focused on closing the gender wage gap, but according to a recent WorldatWork survey, 71% of are extending audits of their compensation practices to include bias in culture and performance management. The trend could uncover discriminatory practices and culture-generated biases that keep women and other underrepresented groups from advancing in their organizations.
Additionally, three-quarters of employees in a VitalsSmart survey described "glaring flaws" among managers, which included being overwhelmed and ineffective, a poor listener, disinterested, aloof, forgetful and disorganized. The adverse impact these flaws have on employees in general may hit women and other underrepresented groups even harder.