Gauging the Location, Height & Strength of the ‘Glass Ceiling’ in Your Organization Murad Mirza Global Thought Leader

 

(Striving for an Equitable Approach to Talent Management)

Qualified/capable females and minorities frequently suffer the adverse aspects of an invisible ‘glass ceiling’ across the world in a wide range of organizations within multiple industries.  There are several factors that contribute to such a phenomenon, e.g., outdated talent management policies/practices/procedures, inherent corporate bias, ‘the boys’ club’ syndrome, misogynistic attitude, xenophobic inclinations, personal insecurities, technological alternatives, labor oversupply, lack of proper safety/security/infrastructure in remote locations, lack of sufficient learning/development/growth opportunities, shortage of budding female/minority talent in a certain profession, poor regulatory oversight, etc.

Savvy organizations are increasingly gravitating towards institutionalizing judicious approaches that can reflect a more diversified and inclusive workforce to stay relevant and competitive in the Digital Age.  However, it remains a significant challenge, especially, due to active/passive resistance by influential quarters who feel threatened by the prospect of their ‘entitlement’ being reduced by ‘equitable’ talent management practices.

Unfortunately, progressive legislation and strict regulation often seem to have an opposite effect since that is generally construed as an infringement on the prerogative of the corporate sector to govern itself in the most ‘customized’ manner.  Consequently, it is not surprising to see an army of lawyers that are employed by ‘harried’ organizations to exploit legal loopholes that can provide legal justification for the continuance of the ‘status quo’ in terms of ‘desired’ talent management practices.

Interestingly, the real driver of change in mindsets and subsequent practices often happens from the sobering realization during tough economic times due to the adverse impacts of an unseen significant market risk, e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic, that requires the modification of the old adage of ‘all hands on deck’ to ‘all the qualified and capable hands on deck’ to assure and ensure survivability/sustainability during precarious times.  This necessitates the need for higher level of urgency and imperativeness to break the ‘glass ceilings’ at all levels of the organizational hierarchy.  The following tool, in the form of a questionnaire, has been developed to provide an honest internal reflection and a ‘wakeup call’ for the leadership of an organization that is willing to accommodate uncomfortable truths about the prevalent talent management practices in order to ingrain effective remedies that can help them to become an espoused ‘Employer Brand’ among the rich talent that abounds within the female and minority segments of society:

Internship & Placement Stage

  • Do you prefer to hire interns who are not females and/or from the minority segments of society?
  • Are there policies/practices/procedures in your organization that discourage females and/or minorities from applying for internships in your organization?
  • Do you prefer to hire interns on discretionary basis, e.g., kinship, rather than, on the merits of their qualifications?
  • Do you systematically exclude capable females and/or minority interns from being considered for hiring as employees?
  • Do your interns mostly come from academic institutions that have a significantly low proportion of females and/or minorities?

Note: The number of ‘Yes’ responses show the location, height and strength of the ‘glass ceiling’ in your organizational hierarchy.  Don’t proceed further with correcting the next higher level of your organization before achieving ‘No’ in all the aforementioned questions.

Recruitment & Selection Stage

  • Are there policies/practices/procedures in your organization that constrain the hiring of female and/or minority talent for most positions in your organization?
  • Do your recruitment campaigns primarily focus on gaining talent from academic institutions that do not have a significant number of female and/or minority students?
  • Do you have a very small number of female and/or minority employees on your recruitment teams?
  • Are job specifications for most positions in your organization designed to hire less females and/or minority talent
  • Do you use any analytical approaches and/or advance technologies, e.g., AI-enabled, which have an inherent bias against the hiring of females and/or minority talent?

Note: The number of ‘Yes’ responses show the location, height and strength of the ‘glass ceiling’ in your organizational hierarchy.  Don’t proceed further with correcting the next higher level of your organization before achieving ‘No’ in all the aforementioned questions.

Induction & Early Years Stage

  • Are your orientations designed to convey a sense of entitlement for the privileged demographic as compared to female and/or minority talent?
  • Do you place special emphasis on providing more visibility to the privileged demographic as compared to females and/or minority talent?
  • Are the career paths for females and/or minority talent intentionally curtailed as compared to the privileged demographic?
  • Does the senior management in your organization show a preference for mentoring the privileged demographic as compared to females and/or minority talent?
  • Do your hiring and orientation initiatives reflect the ‘need’ for inducting female and/or minority talent, rather than, the ‘want’ for such employees due to ‘pressures’ from key stakeholders to reflect a more diversified and inclusive workforce?

Note: The number of ‘Yes’ responses show the location, height and strength of the ‘glass ceiling’ in your organizational hierarchy.  Don’t proceed further with correcting the next higher level of your organization before achieving ‘No’ in all the aforementioned questions.

Supervisory & Middle Management Stage

  • Do you provide more options for learning, development and growth of the privileged demographic in your organization as compared to females and/or minorities?
  • Is an overwhelming part of your supervisory and/or middle management cadre composed of the privileged demographic as compared to female and/or minorities?
  • Do the nominations and/or confirmations for promotions of talent to higher positions reflect a strong inclination for the privileged demographic as compared to females and/or minorities?
  • Is there an irrefutable record of showing more tolerance/leniency in the handling of disciplinary issues pertaining to the privileged demographic as compared to females and/or minorities?
  • Are more females and/or minorities placed in positions that have a greater chance of redundancy/obsolescence as compared to the privileged demographic due to the induction of advanced technologies, e.g., AI-enabled?

Note: The number of ‘Yes’ responses show the location, height and strength of the ‘glass ceiling’ in your organizational hierarchy.  Don’t proceed further with correcting the next higher level of your organization before achieving ‘No’ in all the aforementioned questions.

Senior Management & Top Leadership Stage

  • Are there an overwhelming number of senior managers and the top leaders in your organization who are from a privileged demographic?
  • Are succession plans designed in your organization for assuring and ensuring the ascent of the privileged demographic to senior management and top leadership positions?
  • Do you have a history of resisting regulations and/or bending the rules without breaking them in terms of having quotas for qualified females and/or minorities in senior management and top leadership positions?
  • Do you lack equity as a core component of the corporate culture in your organization?
  • Is there a high attrition rate among females and/or minorities in your organization due to the lack of promising opportunities to rise at the highest levels of the corporate hierarchy?

Note: The number of ‘Yes’ responses to the above questions show the location, height and strength of the ‘glass ceiling’ in your organizational hierarchy.  You are in dire need of profoundly transformative measures that are primarily focused on re-engineering talent management practices on a strategic level in case of conspicuously lagging at this stage.

 

An astute talent management leader can effectively customize the most appropriate approach for optimizing the benefits accrued from the available human capital by adhering to the following principle in congruence with the unique dynamics of an organization.

Organizations that have the humility and astuteness to learn well from their missteps are the ones with the foresight for maximizing the probability of success in their progressive talent management initiatives.  This is clearly manifested by those having the strongest ‘jovial anchors’ for their workforce through enriched employee experiences in terms of being at the forefront of benefiting from a healthy pool of bustling talent for securing their competitive resilience in overcoming foreseen/unforeseen challenges of the Digital Age.  How well are you placed in the respective context?

Murad Salman Mirza
Global Thought Leader

 

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