Businesses led by women do more than just tick boxes; they also excel. Chris Stappard, Managing Director at Edward Reed Recruitment, shares his advice for attracting more women to senior positions.
In 2018, a survey found that many women feel ready to move into leadership positions but are afraid to make mistakes (JUMP.eu), likely because they feel more harshly judged than men. The same survey also found that women believe there is bias favouring their male peers in both pay and promotion distribution, so it’s important to consider whether you could be doing more to encourage women to apply for senior roles within your organisation.
Below are my recommendations for attracting more women into senior positions, and why it’s necessary that we do so.
Revamp your company culture
Attracting women into senior positions is about more than just meeting a quota. Building and maintaining an inclusive culture is good for business, as it has been shown that those sorts of work environments can improve innovation, productivity, and communication. Businesses that are gender-diverse even make more money (gallup.com), so there are plenty of reasons to attract women into senior positions.
Task managers and other higher-ups with eliminating excluding behaviour from the workplace, if necessary. This behaviour includes jokes and harassment, as well as discrimination. Creating a female-friendly atmosphere will allow women to do their jobs effectively and feel confident and safe enough to collaborate on projects, as well as progress through the company’s ranks.
It’s also important to show your inclusivity through your website, social media, and other means. Not only will this demonstrate to job-seeking women that you’re a company worth applying for, but you will encourage other companies to do the same and perpetuate equality.
Rethink the hiring process
Women are less likely to apply for jobs if they don’t feel they meet 100% of the criteria (HBR.org). Men, on the other hand, are more likely to ‘wing it’ and apply even if they don’t fulfil all the necessary requirements. A lot of the time, not everything listed in the job description is a deal-breaker so, when writing out the roles and responsibilities for your advertisement, try to focus on the most relevant day-to-day tasks rather than ad-hoc duties. This way, female candidates can feel confident enough to apply.
During the interview process, use women who are already in senior roles at the company as interviewers. They can be an invaluable source of insight into aspects of the working day that male interviewers might not have considered and having more women on the panel of interviewers is less intimidating than subjecting candidates to a purely male panel. Remember to ask all candidates the same questions, regardless of their gender.
Use exercises and tasks that allow candidates to demonstrate their ability to do the job, rather than ask them to tell tales about their education and experience. If certain degrees or certificates are required in order to perform the senior management role, candidates can bring a portfolio as evidence.
Provide the right salary and benefits
Part of attracting the right candidate is looking after the employees that you already have. Employee benefits have much more of an impact now that anyone can post online about how they are treated at work, so it’s important for PR that you get them right.
One of the most pressing issues for working women is the matter of equal pay. Despite campaigns, company efforts, and media attention, women are still paid 11.9% less than men on average (Financial Times). One of the ways you can help eradicate the gender wage gap is to pay your employees based on the market rate, rather than their salary history. That way, you’re not repeating the mistakes of their previous employers.
Flexible working is another extremely attractive prospect for candidates, and more and more companies are recognising the benefits of focussing on performance rather than hours spent in the office. Cloud-based working, part-time hours, or alternatives to the 9 to 5 working day mean that women can work from home or fit work around their personal lives, so their work-life balance is improved, and staff retention is increased.
Using the tips in this guide, you can begin to think about why your company may have struggled to attract women to apply for your senior positions in the past. With my advice, you should be able to encourage more diversity within your business through a change in culture, advertising, and providing the right benefits.
STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19
By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe
The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and more forced to close their doors following the Government’s orders that they should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While this is expected to flatten the curve and reduce the number of coronavirus cases, it will of course have an impact on businesses and employees alike. For small businesses especially, there are many concerns about how they can claim on their insurance to weigh the fall of this impact.
In response to calls to help struggling businesses, the Government has informed the public that companies who are facing turmoil will be able to claim on their business interruption insurance during this difficult time. For most, this is wrong.
The insurance industry has also been extremely vocal that there is no cover for any coronavirus-hit businesses during this tough financial period. This isn’t strictly true either.
How can businesses see through the mixed messaging and best secure their future and their livelihoods and reduce money worries? It’s an extremely stressful time for many companies, and confusion over whether or not they can be covered can only cause more unnecessary stress.
Since it’s a new disease, most businesses will not be covered for business interruption due to COVID-19. In fact, the vast majority of policies do not cover anything related to COVID-19.
That said – don’t rule out the idea that you may be covered. There is a chance that you will be covered against COVID-19, but not know it. This is a very small chance, but your current cover may already protect your business against the consequences of coronavirus, and the nationwide response to it – though those with this cover are unlikely to realise it.
How Could I Be Covered?
Not everyone has business interruption insurance, as it’s not a legal requirement. It is entirely up to the policy holder to weigh up the benefits of having it, and their ability to trade should a disaster happen.
To be considered for cover for COVID-19, there are two types of policy extensions to your business interruption cover that can potentially cover you for this situation:
Infectious Disease Extension
Many policies expressly state which diseases fall within the realm of being an infectious or notifiable disease. If this is the case, your policy will not provide cover. As it is a new disease, these policies will not have included COVID-19.
Other infectious disease extension policies will define the disease with reference to the actions of the government. Since the UK Government has named COVID-19 as a notifiable disease throughout the UK, it is possible that your business may fall into this definition, thus meaning you may be able to make a claim.
However, again, it’s not always that simple. Many policies require the disease to have been on your premises, while others specify a radius from your premises in order to qualify.
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage)
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage) policies may cover you if you’re prevented from accessing your property. This could be due to an event, or by the actions of a competent authority, which could cause your business interruption cover to engage.
If covered by this clause, there are often very subtle differences in wording in your policy. This could depend on the insurer or policy. You may well be covered, but it will depend on your particular circumstances, and the specific policy wording.
It’s clear that the Government needs to do more in ensuring there is clear messaging for businesses, and to help the insurance market look after policy holders. This is an unprecedented situation, and with many people looking to claim on their insurance, we’re already seeing major delays which could have a domino impact.
People throughout the world are understandably facing all kinds of worries because of the current pandemic. Our ways of living have changed, and many business owners will not have experienced a situation like this in their life times. If you own a business and are unsure about whether you can claim for business interruption, or are confused about ambiguous wording, get in touch with a loss assessor.
These claims are not simple, but loss assessors will be experts in business interruption insurance, and will specialise in large and complex claims. They will be able to help and guide you along the way, check your wording and work on your behalf to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.
HARNESSING ANALYTICS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD
By Anna Lykourina, EMEA Fraud Analytics Expert at SAS
In the past, the fight against fraud has been a bit hit-and-miss. It has relied on auditors to identify patterns of behaviour that just didn’t quite fit. They often only detected problems months after the event. And then organisations had to claw back stolen funds through legal processes.
In a world where transactions happen in under a second, however, this is no longer acceptable. We need to be able to detect fraud immediately, if not before it happens. Customers want safe and protected data that is not vulnerable to identity theft through company systems. But they still want to be able to pay online and in seconds. The stakes are high, but fortunately new tools and techniques in fraud analytics are enabling companies to stay ahead of fraud.
Trusting machines to do the work
Machines are much better than humans at processing large data sets. They are able to examine large numbers of transactions and recognise thousands of fraud patterns instead of the few captured by creating rules. On the other hand, fraudsters have become adept at finding loopholes. Whatever rules you set, it is likely that they will be able to get ahead of them. But what if your system was able to think for itself, at least to a certain extent?
New approaches to fraud prevention combine rules-based systems with machine learning and artificial intelligence-based fraud detection systems. These hybrid systems are able to detect and recognise thousands of fraud patterns and learn from the data. Automated analytical-based fraud detection systems can reveal novel fraud patterns and identify organised crime more consistently, efficiently and quickly. This makes them a good investment for businesses across a wide range of sectors, including public sector, insurance, banking, and even healthcare or telecommunications.
How, though, can you harness analytics as a tool in your fight against fraud?
Identifying needs and solutions
The first step is to identify which options you need. Probably the best way to do this is through a series of company-wide workshops with the fraud analytics experts to determine what analytics you need, which data to include and techniques to use, and what results to report. They can also identify the ideal combination of rules-based and AI/ML approaches to detect fraud as early as possible.
Companies looking towards advanced analytics for fraud detection will need to make a number of decisions. They will need to optimise existing scenario threshold tuning, explore big data, develop and interpret machine learning models for fraud, discover relevant information in text data, and prioritise and auto-route alerts. There may be industry-specific decisions to make, too, such as automating damage analysis through image recognition in the insurance sector. By automating these areas, companies can both significantly reduce human effort – reducing costs – and improve their fraud detection and prevention.
Benefits of an analytical approach to fraud detection and prevention
Companies that are already using an analytical approach for fraud prevention have reported several important benefits. First, the quality of referrals for further investigation is better. Investigators also have a much clearer idea of why the referral has been made, which improves the efficiency of investigation. Analytics also improves investigation efficiency by reducing the number of both false positives (that is, alerts that turn out not to be fraud) and false negatives (failure to spot actual frauds). This improves customer experience and reduces risk to the company.
Analytics makes it possible to uncover complex or organised fraud that rules-based systems would miss. Companies can group together customers and accounts with similar behaviors, and then set risk-based thresholds appropriate for each scenario.
There are several sector-specific benefits too. For example, insurance firms can identify fraudulent claims faster to prevent improper payments from going out. Claims investigation is likely to be more consistent because claims are scored through technology, algorithms and analytics, rather than by people. Finally, it becomes possible to shorten the claims process through automated damage analysis. It is no wonder that organizations across a wide range of sectors are placing analytics at the heart of their anti-fraud strategy.
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