Empowering positive change: operationalizing gender equality

By Jan Kwak | November 24, 2021

Hatch thrives on fostering a diverse and fully inclusive work environment, empowering positive change, thought and innovation. As a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador, I see a crucial need to build a workforce that upholds a plurality of perspectives required to create value for our clients, communities, and for our world at large—committed to cultivating a collaborative workforce and nurturing an inclusive work environment for all.

Hatch’s diversity and inclusion journey has been an exciting one. In the last four years, our organization has addressed the many facets of D&I to tackle social challenges and support the implementation of policy that empowers positive change.

At the beginning of 2021, we reflected on our D&I strategy respective to the changes and themes highlighted throughout the pandemic. By seeking advice, and utilizing educational tools, we identified a number of opportunities that allowed us to address the issues underlying the pay gap and disparities in our workplace and that of our industry.

So how are we going to address gender equality in 2021 & beyond?

Operationalizing gender equality.

Converting concepts into action to make a genuine impact is important. In the words of one of our employees, referring to our approach to inclusion and diversity, “we don’t just talk about it, we live it”. To operationalize gender equality in our industry, we are taking action to ensure it doesn’t get lost in lip service. I admit we are not there yet, not by a long shot, but I feel we are making progress.

We have cast the lens back on ourselves to identify barriers that prevent our employees, and in many cases the women in our organization, from taking on additional responsibility and moving into leadership roles. Identified barriers included assumptions that certain opportunities may not fit the home life and responsibilities of the individual; perceptions that they may not be ready to take that step and somewhat more troublesome, that our clients were interested in the people they know and have delivered for them in the past, or that the client wanted someone to fulfil a roster or work from a location that they couldn’t commit to.

The question we then asked was, why?

Can we challenge these perceptions to ensure a more equal playing field, regardless of gender?

We have now taken action to train our hiring and project managers to not make assumptions about people’s interest or ability in stretch or site-based roles, but to ask them directly. We have challenged the same group to look inwards and check for any bias when they are deciding on someone’s suitability to take a step up. We have started the conversation with our clients, in the early stages of the project set up, around flexible ways to deliver the work and demonstrated that new team members are ready to take on the responsibilities and have the necessary support networks in place.

These are important steps and we will continue having the conversations.

I hope it will lead to lasting change.