Creating access: you can’t win the game if you aren’t invited to play

  • Posted on June 4, 2014

creating access

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Eddie Pate.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, creating access is the key. But, the key to what? The key to improving an organization’s ability to impact its hiring pipeline for important roles, or helping senior leaders target whatever diversity dimension needs to be addressed.

I really like the concept of creating access because it is so easy to explain using any one of the hundreds of sports analogies we’ve all heard – such as “you can’t get a hit if you aren’t allowed in the batter’s box” or “you can’t win a race if you don’t get access to the starting line” or you can’t score a goal if you aren’t allowed on the pitch.”   Believe me, there are many more where these came from!  When I think about creating access for diverse candidates to certain roles or levels, I picture this as a two-pronged strategy… hiring from the outside and promoting from within.

Let me explain what this looks like in terms of Avanade’s pipeline strategy to increase our representation of women in business at the Director level and up. We are creating access by implementing a candidate slating guideline that requires at least one woman be interviewed for every job search for directors and above. It also calls for at least one woman to be included on the interview panel.  You’ll notice that I didn’t say we automatically hire the woman because she is a candidate.  We are simply saying, include women in the process and let the best person win.

Creating access through candidate slating guidelines is a remarkably successful strategy for increasing female representation. Looking at our results, as an example, from the last year and a half, we’ve had a percent change of 44 percent in the number of women at the director plus level! Again, the idea is not to hire someone simply because she is a woman, but because she is the best person for the job… we just didn’t know it before, because we hadn’t created access for those candidates.

At Avanade, we are also creating access to senior level jobs through programs like the Accelerator Program for Women, which is designed to increase capability, enhance skills and create visibility – all to drive the possibility of improving promotability for the women taking part. It doesn’t hurt that these programs also often increase employee satisfaction and retention. Bonus!

The bottom line is that we are filling the pipeline for senior levels throughout Avanade by creating access for amazing talent to our top jobs. We’ve chosen to be inclusive, aware and purposeful in our efforts to create access!

Glenda Stone

Insightful article! Days when companies simply "hope" women might be on the shortlist should be long gone. Taking active measures like these at Avanade, is the only way women's equality in the workplace will gain decent pace. Industry leaders aren't shy  declaring such measures. Well done Avanade!

June 4, 2014

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