5 ways L&D can support women

by John Hilton25 Nov 2015
A massive 70% of 450 women across the globe agreed that their employers do not provide adequate resources and support to help them drive their career forward, according to a recent survey by Skillsoft.

To that end, L&D Professional spoke to James Law, HR Director of Envato who were recently named Australia’s Coolest Company for Women by JobAdvisor.

Law said that promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce is especially important for Envato given the lack of women in the industry of technology.

In particular, there are not enough females studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and an insufficient number enrolling in computer science at university, he said.

“That is why it’s critical that we support women to fulfil their careers at Envato,” he said.

Envato makes their L&D female-friendly by incorporating the following five tips:

Tailor initiatives to suit women

Envato make it a priority to tailor L&D strategies to support a diverse workforce, as opposed to rolling something out that doesn’t support a diverse workforce, and then tailoring it.

“We look at any initiative from a diverse and inclusive perspective, no matter what it is. We use that as a lens to look at L&D,” said Law.

He said that includes questions such as whether or not people who are primary caregivers are going to be able to attend an initiative.

“We commonly ask ourselves ‘does this initiative include people who are primary care givers or who come from an LGBTI orientation?’” he said.

Provide flexible options

Law added that Envato ensures that women who go on maternity leave as a primary caregiver understand they still have access to their L&D budgets to do their training if that’s what they want to do.

“We may need to support people with the option to access the training remotely through broadcasting it or through videotaping it so they can access it at their best time,” said Law.

Enact targeted training

Envato provides unconscious bias training and LGBTI awareness training so they can ensure their people have an understanding of what the company’s expectations are and how integral diversity and inclusion are to their values.

Encourage women as role models

When women are growing their careers at Envato they are also directly and indirectly role modelling for other women in technology, said Law.

“They can see smart female leaders working in our business and can work with those women as mentors, guides and managers to support their own career aspirations and their own development,” he said.

Be open to change

It’s also crucial to quickly embrace amendments if an L&D program is not working properly as far as diversity and inclusion are concerned, said Law.

“If it’s not right and it’s brought to our attention, or if we find ourselves saying, ‘hang on, we have a problem here’, then we have no problem admitting that and changing it,” he said.