Creating or refining your strategy
The process for developing a strategy, whether you are doing this for the first time or improving what is already in place, need not be complex. The key is to ensure that all the relevant data has been gathered and considered, in order to define your gender equality objectives.
The gender equality roadmap and diagnostic tool are intended as the essential framework that will enable organisations to develop and maintain a gender strategy which is relevant, coherent, succinct and adds value (i.e. it will increase impact and the rate of change). Of course, as we have indicated earlier in the toolkit, there are also a number of additional, complementary data sources (internal and external – e.g. WGEA Competitor Analysis Benchmark Reports) to help inform decision-making. The diagnostic process should have identified areas where the organisation is performing more and less effectively. Use this information to prioritise where you wish to concentrate effort and investment.
Building a vision
In developing your workplace gender equality strategy, it is important from the outset to consider your organisation’s overall vision and strategy to ensure alignment. When setting broader gender equality goals, it is recommended you revisit the gender equality roadmap and consider how your organisation wishes to move along the roadmap and the appropriate time fame.
Other goals an organisation may seek to achieve include:
- becoming an EOCGE citation holder
- standing out and leading the industry in gender equality
- further developing a unique and gender-equitable employee value proposition
- specific cost reductions as a result of improvements to gender equality (e.g. reduced cost of turnover).
The vision and goals that are set will influence the strategies and actions that are developed.
Setting specific goals and priorities
One of the most useful features of the diagnostic framework set out in step 4 is identifying priorities for action. Inevitably, organisations will demonstrate strength against some key focus areas more than others and weaker scores suggest areas for prioritisation.
For further support in setting specific goals and priorities, please see the extended Gender Equality Strategy Toolkit.
Strategy development process
A practical process for developing a strategy is:
- assemble a small strategy development working group (which includes several diverse stakeholders)
- collate and analyse all necessary data
- review and agree on the implications of the data
- identify which of the key focus areas are priorities
- develop draft objective(s) for each of these areas.
A strategy does not necessarily need to be a complex document. A simple, succinct and focused articulation of strategic direction is easier for leaders to communicate, for employees to understand, and for everyone to mobilise around. When the objectives have been endorsed, the remainder of the strategy detail can be completed. Below is a simple structure for headings within a gender strategy, followed by examples of the essential information anticipated under each heading.
- organisation specific gender equality business case
- linkage to business strategy
- supporting data (quantitative and qualitative)
- assessment of current state – refer to roadmap / diagnostic outcomes and Competitor Analysis Benchmark Report
- statement of vision / values (if applicable)
key focus areas – as identified as priorities by the diagnostic process
- action / response
- success factors / enablers
- risks / barriers
- outcomes / benefits
- measurement of impact / progress / return on investment (ROI) [Repeat the above for each focus area that has been prioritised for inclusion]
timeframe – sequencing of actions for each objective (over next 2-3 years)
one-page strategy summary: for easy, effective communication
There are a number of ways in which a gender strategy can be presented. Structuring it around some or all of the key focus areas is a methodical and natural progression from the diagnosis process as shown below. Inclusion of the business case is highly desirable, because the strategy document, if appropriately communicated, is a means of building stakeholder engagement and support.