Keeping A Level Playing Field

In December, 2009, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) announced that they planned to expand their existing corporate governance principles to include a mandatory diversity policy for all listed companies. Since that announcement, gender diversity has become an increasingly hot topic for Australian employers – be they large or small. Maureen Frank, CEO, of Australia’s leading Gender Diversity Company, Emberin, explains why Gender Diversity is important for Real Estate Businesses.

If the ‘big end of town’ is required to have a formal gender diversity policy, why not smaller businesses too? It may only be a matter of time before this is actually a requirement rather than a nice to have. The reality is that small businesses are nimble, flexible and able to make gender diversity practices part of everyday business. Many are in fact already doing it. We are seeing a large majority of small businesses now run by women, this already means that gender balance has seen some impact at this level.

Essentially, having more women at work can be really good for business. It helps the organisation to have diversity of thought and diversity of representation back to your buyers and vendors. Let’s face it women have a big say in the real estate decision making process, so why wouldn’t you want more women represented in your business?

Is your brand female friendly? Is your team made up of a good percentage of females? There is well–documented evidence that shows how intrinsically good women are at building relationships with both existing and potential customers. These relationships are a key fundamental building block in growing listings, sales and all round customer satisfaction.

So, what can you do to make your business an employer of choice for women and lead the field in being a great office all round? When your employer brand is humming on the inside, word gets out and your customers can feel it too – this always leads to sales, loyalty, word of mouth and more business.

Honing in on gender diversity, Emberin’s view is that creativity and a fresh approach, combined with a measured understanding of what has worked for other organisations around the world, can deliver balanced and sustainable change. We would suggest that an integrated approach needs to occur throughout the business and be championed by it’s leaders.

Maureen Frank is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Emberin and is considered Australia’s leading gender diversity expert. Maureen is an entrepreneur, a best–selling author, business strategist, facilitator and professional speaker on the global stage. Maureen is the creator of the highly successful My Mentor series of women’s advancement and gender diversity education programs for men and women. For more information, visit www.emberin.com.

The following key points illustrate what small businesses can do to attract (and keep) more women in the workplace.

  • Leadership commitment, ownership and communication about your support for and involvement in gender diversity;
  • Flexible working for your employees: how creative and inclusive is your company?
  • Pay equity: do you need to tackle a gender pay gap?
  • Encouraging both men and women to network their way to success;
  • Have a mentoring program: peer, reverse, group, one to one, at home or at work;
  • Creating opportunities for your team to work on key assignments and experiences throughout their career.

One thing is definitely clear, and that is that women are becoming a very big voice in the industry; and to take advantage of everything they can offer to your business, you need to be ready!

Maureen Frank is CEO of Australia’s leading Gender Diversity Company, Emberin.

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