Three Barriers Diagnostic Survey

Listening to your employees’ perspective to drive powerful EDI transformation


While many organisations are aware and willing to act on initiatives to address gender equality issues, they lack the insights on the specific root causes that are triggering attrition, blocking the pipeline and disengaging women.

Shape Talent’s Three Barriers research shows that barriers to progression exist for women at three levels: societal, organisational and personal. We know that meaningful change happens when solutions target the barriers that make up all three. All too often, we see interventions which focus on ‘fixing women’ but ignore the influence of a broader ecosystem within which these barriers exist.

The Diagnostic Survey provides a safe and reliable way to hear your employees’ perspective

To successfully advance gender equality, organisations require a deep understanding of the behaviours, systems and processes that are creating barriers for the women in their business. The Three Barriers Diagnostic Survey has been designed to help EDI leaders pinpoint with precision the true underlying barriers to greater gender balance, providing real clarity on the areas which will make the biggest difference.
The survey provides:

  • Powerful insights as to how your employees’ perspective of career barriers compare with company ambitions
  • Uncovers the root causes for gender disparity so EDI investment can be targeted and meaningful
  • Delves beneath the superficial to pinpoint the underlying issues requiring attention and shines a light on high-risk areas for gender disparity
  • Allows the creation of a focused gender balance action plan for your business, which is targeted, cost efficient and effective
  • The option to analyse different elements of identity (intersectionality) provides you with unparalleled precision in identifying employee segments at risk, further aiding your action planning
  • Identifies target segments for focus in accelerating the pipeline of women for leadership roles, in turn helping retain women.

Without dismantling and consequently disrupting the old system, most gender equity interventions will struggle to have any meaningful impact. The Diagnostic Survey is an invaluable foundation for all of our work.

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Delivery of the Diagnostic Survey

The survey is completed anonymously by employees of all genders and provides a detailed report clearly identifying the areas requiring the most focus.

We provide a report which clearly identifies the barriers at play in your organisation complete with specific recommendations on how to dismantle these barriers. The findings provide powerful insights on strengths and gaps across the business, identifying where an organisation needs to focus its efforts, establishing a baseline for monitoring progress.

Where desired, additional demographic data can be collected in the survey allowing you to understand the impact of intersectionality. That is, how different elements of our identity – such as gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation or carer status – overlap and influence our experiences.

This can help to answer questions such as:

  • To what degree do under-represented groups perceive barriers and are these greater than those experienced by colleagues?
  • Does an increased perception of barriers result in an increased intention to leave? And if so, which groups are most at risk?

The survey package includes the delivery of the survey, analysis, insight extraction, report and recommendations. We can also provide strategy consulting to prepare a gender equity action plan.

Ready to hear from your people?

Talk to us about introducing a Diagnostic Survey for your organisation


A strategic approach to managing your organisational barriers

As identified in our Three Barriers model, women face disproportionate challenges to inclusion and the climb to senior positions. We offer a range of services to assist organisations in addressing these barriers. Our Gender Equity Strategy Review provides an objective assessment of the effectiveness of your gender equity strategy, along with recommendations and support to your Exco. The Three Barriers Debias Audit provides a detailed view of the biases that may be unconsciously embedded within policies and procedures. This is complemented by our Three Barriers Diagnostic Survey, which pinpoints the barriers experienced by employees in different parts of the business.

Strategy Review

– How clear is your gender equity strategy?

Diagnostic Survey

– How does your employee experience vary by gender?

Debias Audit

– How gender inclusive are your policies and practices

Three Barriers Debias Audit

Dismantling barriers and disrupting gender biases

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Gender stereotypes and biases in organisations are often subtle and unconscious. Many workplaces inadvertently perpetuate outdated work norms that reinforce gender stereotypes, create an impossible double burden and disadvantage women. This means your female talent pool is being whittled down without you even being aware of it.

People processes, policies and systems may have been passed down for years without anyone looking critically at them and asking whether they are gender inclusive in their ability to attract, retain, promote and reward talent.

Organisations may not be aware of the simple, subtle and often quick changes they can make to their HR policies and practices that positively influence gender equality in the workforce.

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The Debias Audit provides a launchpad for serious gender equity transformation

The Debias Audit gives a clear view of hidden biases in the talent management lifecycle and clarifies where resources and effort should be allocated so that the greatest impact can be made in the short, medium and longer term.

This exercise demonstrates a clear commitment to identifying and addressing the less obvious, systemic barriers to gender equity, building credibility both inside and outside of the organisation. This is doubly powerful when coupled with the Three Barriers Diagnostic Survey of employees.

Having a clear plan of action, focused on the highest-impact barriers gives confidence and helps ensure engagement from leaders and other stakeholders across the organisations. This in turn helps build momentum. The Debias Audit is a powerful tool to help address the barriers that exist for women within the organisation.

Audit checklist

The Three Barriers Debias Audit provides a thorough review of processes, policies and culture to identify and disrupt gender biases in the talent management lifecycle:

• Job design

• Talent attraction

• Talent selection

• Onboarding

• Talent identification and performance management

• Promotion

• Development

• Reward

• Retention and engagement

• Separation and exit

• Culture and leadership

By examining policies and practices across all touchpoints of the employee lifecycle we identify bias and provide recommendations for improvement.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss our detailed audit criteria and engagement process.

ready to TACKLE BIAS?

Our Debias Audit is the perfect place to start