Yours Sincerely, Nicole

Martin Schneider from Philadelphia was left shocked at the rude and dismissive responses he received to his emails at work, until he realised why.

Communicating from a shared inbox, Martin noticed that he was still signing off his emails in his co-workers name, Nicole Pieri. Using his initiative, he re-introduced himself as ‘Martin’ and experienced an immediate improvement in the client’s attitude.  The only difference was that Martin is a man.

The Experiment

As an experiment, Nicole and Martin began to sign off their emails with each other’s names to reveal how far men and women were treated differently in the workplace. Nicole, who had been missing targets and had been recently pulled aside for slow work ethic, saw an immediate improvement in productivity. Martin on the other hand, felt there was little to be desired. Martin explained that, as Nicole’s supervisor, he was always under pressure to make her more efficient as tasks took her much longer – now he understands why.

Economic Growth and Women

Women continue to feel the strains of gender inequality in the workplace by earning less, being offered little progression, undervalued and treated unfairly in comparison to their male counterparts.  Studies show a large link between women in the workplace and economic growth. In economies where more women work, the economy grows.

That being said, only 24% of women make up senior management jobs globally creating a global gap for women to innovate the economy.

The CIPD explains that there needs to be a level of cultural change within organisations to encourage a genuine gender equality.

How can your business achieve a Genuine Gender Equality?

HR policies are not strong enough on its own. The importance of gender equality should be promoted at all levels of seniority and encouraged in everyday behaviour. Having an inclusive culture that is both sensitive and supportive of all members of staff, will allow individuals like Nicole to reach their full potential and grow your business.

Professional Development

You could be blocking diversity and innovation with your unconscious bias. Unconscious bias happens when our minds make judgements and assessments of people and situations without realising it.  It is influenced by our cultural environment, personal experience and background.  The clients in our example, who were dismissive of Martin when they thought he was Nicole, may have been unaware of their unconscious bias, but this can still be representative of discrimination. It is your responsibility as an employer to learn how to control and filter unconscious bias to ensure incidents like these are avoided in your organisation.

This Tuesday, 4 April, we’re hosting an Unconscious Bias Workshop, where we will be creating a dialogue between you and industry professionals, exploring real-life scenarios and providing you with the tools to identify and combat unconscious bias.

There are only 6 places left, book your place and develop your skills and reputation as a fair employer today.


Published 31 March 2017.