How to conduct an effective executive workshop

It is critical to engage your executive and management team in your workplace gender equality journey. Workshops provide a collaborative space for you to gain a better understanding of where your organisation is at, existing concerns or barriers, and what your strategic priorities should be.

You can also read  our tips for conducting a focus group for more detailed considerations for effective facilitation.

Clarifying the purpose

When setting up your workshop, it is important to set clear objectives specific to your organisation. We recommend downloading the gender strategy toolkit to conduct an initial assessment of where your organisation is on the gender equality journey, which will help determine the key objectives when engaging your executive team.

Common objectives of executive workshops on gender equality include:

  • understanding senior management perspectives on gender equality and current status
  • clarifying the business drivers and benefits of building a gender equality strategy
  • defining the success measures for achieving gender equality
  • identifying the main barriers to achieving gender equality and potential responses
  • identifying priorities for action within the implementation of a gender equality strategy.

Managing logistics

Consider the following when preparing your workshop.

  • Facilitator: you may engage an external facilitator to run the workshop or select a relevant, internal member of staff. While an external facilitator can bring a fresh perspective and remove any potential bias, an internal facilitator can bring in-depth knowledge of the organisation and dynamics in the room.
  • Participants: Agree on and engage the relevant stakeholders for the workshop. We recommend aiming for ten participants—this is large enough to generate discussion but small enough to hear everyone’s voices and keep the discussion on track. 
  • Logistics: Agree on the workshop time and place. We would expect your workshop to take approximately two hours. When scheduling, consider any external factors that might affect their engagement. For example, you should avoid scheduling workshops:
    • back-to-back with other regular meetings
    • over lunch time
    • first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.
  • Preparation: Make sure to provide necessary background information to participants, including any pre-reading materials or documents such as existing policies and strategies. You may also want to develop and circulate an agenda and PowerPoint presentation.