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We all recognise the importance of continuing to strive towards equality in the workplace. However, there is still a long way to go. In light of the frightening information being shared through campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp we need to give serious consideration to how we better support the safety, wellbeing and growth of women in all workplaces.

Created in response to feedback from thousands of female leaders, Accord provides a simple, cost effective way for organisations to increase trust and engagement, create connections across various levels and provide a structured environment to nurture and develop female talent. Importantly, Accord represents an agreement between organisations and their female staff to work together to create a safer, more supportive and more equitable working environment.​

“One of the emerging characteristics of today’s high performing organisations is the connectedness and engagement of their female leaders. These organisations have positive and productive cultures typified by highly engaged female employees who undertake their challenging and rewarding roles in settings that are supportive. The research is overwhelming: equipping female leaders enables better organisational outcomes. It is therefore vitally important that we consistently monitor and proactively adopt strategies that will aid the development of women at all levels.”

SUZI FINKELSTEIN, WLA Program Director​

“I am honoured to be part of Women & Leadership Australia’s 100 Days for Change. While women have come a long way in the workplace, there’s still an awfully long way to go. What I love about this campaign is the focus on practical change, from the grassroots to the top end of town: action, not words. It will be exciting to see what we are able to achieve.”

TRACEY SPICER AM, 100 days for change ambassador

Module 1

ACCEPTING WHAT IS, IN READINESS FOR CHANGE

This introductory module explores current data and trends around gender equity and equality and implications for all Australian workplaces. Participants explore their own experiences and the insights and actions that have arisen as a result of these experiences. Data informs this module on the power of the female network and the positive impact it can have on workplace culture.​

Module 2

The critical importance of health and wellbeing 

This module explores current research around employee health and wellbeing and its broader implications for our society. The focus is on the importance of prioritising wellbeing and incorporating practical strategies into life and work.

Module 3

Addressing & overcoming our own challenges

This module begins with an exploration of the psychological and physical effects of stress and anxiety. Participants are encouraged to identify their own stress and overload markers and consider practical tools (e.g. mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, visualisation, questions) and coping strategies to regulate and manage stress responses.

Module 4

Attending to our professional wellbeing 

We cannot avoid challenges in the workplace, but we can build our resilience to assist us to identify, manage and bounce back from challenges more effectively. This module focuses on practical ways to build both personal and team resilience and elasticity. The focus is on developing skills to identify and maintain wellbeing across the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.

Module 5

Creating impact through increased self-awareness 

This module builds on the previous modules to present further practical and relevant psychological tools to master the art of influence. With greater regulation of ourselves and greater understanding of others, we can begin to role model health and wellness and make a meaningful impact on others.

 

Module 6

Career and professional visioning

This module attends to our career focus and the impact that this can have on our overall health and wellbeing. We explore ‘career transitioning and planning’ with an emphasis on aligning our passion, gifts and purpose in order to enhance both wellbeing and success. The imperative of networking is also considered.

Module 7

Moving the dial on gender equity 

This module builds on the previous modules to present further practical and relevant psychological tools to master the art of influence. With greater regulation of ourselves and greater understanding of others, we can begin to role model health and wellness and make a meaningful impact on others.

The program comprises seven self-paced and self-facilitated learning modules. The seven modules are designed to be run fortnightly meaning the suggested duration for the full program is roughly fourteen weeks. Importantly, the program is designed to ensure minimal disruption to existing employee responsibilities.

Each module comprises a 15 minute expert video tutorial followed by a 60 minute interactive peer learning session. Video tutorials are provided online allowing participants to view them independently prior to the peer learning session or collectively during the session. The peer learning sessions provide a structured forum for participants to collaboratively explore the themes presented in the expert tutorial. These sessions are facilitated by a member of staff who has been nominated as the Program Leader. Each peer learning session comprises a mix of discussion topics, group activities and reflective tasks. 

To extend their learning, participants also have access to an extensive range of online tools and resources (approximately 30 minutes of material per module). These resources tie back to key module themes and support participants to create lasting outcomes from the program.

EXAMPLE OF MODULE FLOW​

Program Ambassadors​

Prior to commencing the program, organisations nominate one or more Program Ambassadors (depending on the size of the group) to facilitate the peer learning sessions and encourage commitment and collaboration. This provides a perfect opportunity for senior and respected women within the organisation to shine as role models and mentors to other staff.

Program Ambassadors are supported with detailed guides that cover all aspects of their responsibilities pre, during and post the live sessions. The deliberate use of internal resources is an important factor in building internal capacity, increasing coaching and mentoring and creating trust and commitment to agreed outcomes. It is recommended that Program Ambassadors include a mix of respected female leaders as well as L&D or HR professionals.​

The learning approach is based on a blend of direct instruction and broader social constructivist theory, with a particular focus on dialogic learning and self-discovery. WLA’s pedagogical methodology is optimised for maximum impact and applicability. Participants will benefit from surface level learning via identification, articulation, description and recognition, as well as deeper learning associated with interpretation, relation, discussion, planning, application and evaluation.

Evaluation and Reporting

Accord uses adaptations of two highly regarded tools in an anonymous pre-/ post application designed to provide organisations with broad measures of both wellbeing and social capital before and after the program. The inclusion of robust and effective impact evaluation throughout the program ensures that organisations have clear visibility of both wellbeing and social capital across their participant group. This data, in conjunction with other complementary impact measures around performance and accountability, will assist organisations in the implementation of initiatives geared towards elevated staff engagement, wellbeing and performance.

for more information...

Creating a safer, more equitable professional climate
and a commitment to nurturing female talent​

To discuss the Accord program and your organisational requirements, please contact WLA’s Client Solutions Team:

WHAT IS THE ACCORD PROGRAM?

Accord is a self-paced, internally managed, group development experience for female employees. Built around a series of focused group discussions, activities and reflective tasks, the program assists participants to explore their professional wellbeing and provides strategies for successfully navigating the complexities of the contemporary workplace. In addition to creating critical safeguards for female staff, Accord is built on the concepts of united purpose, shared experience and solidarity. Focused on constructive dialogue and action, the program enables women to work together, with the backing of their organisation, to explore their ongoing development and fulfilment. Connecting staff at various levels also helps to increase mentoring and role modelling, two of the key enablers of female success.​

Additionally, numerous studies have indicated a strong positive correlation between gender diversity and organisational profitability. Companies that have top-quartile gender diversity have a 21% likelihood of outperforming their fourth-quartile peers on EBIT margin, and they also had a 27% likelihood of outperforming fourth-quartile peers on longer-term value creation (see McKinsey & Company’s report Delivering through diversity, January 2018).

WHY SHOULD MY ORGANISATION PARTICIPATE?

An overwhelming body of research is highlighting the increasing stress and duress faced by Australian workers. Additionally, campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp are highlighting that women are still at risk inside our organisations and that more effective strategies are needed in order to adequately support their personal and professional wellbeing. Along with a growing number of stakeholders, we argue that this is a critical challenge and requires immediate attention at multiple levels. Accord provides a way for employers to create powerful internal support systems and demonstrable advances in gender equity.​

HOW WILL IT BENEFIT FEMALE STAFF?

Fourteen years of experience has demonstrated to us that a strong sense of social capital along with access to effective support networks, role models and mentors are critical elements in the development of women at all levels. Accord provides a platform for participants to build critical internal connections to support their development and to lean on in times of need.​

WHAT ARE THE KEY BENEFITS FOR MY ORGANISATION?

Organisations will benefit in a number of ways, including:

-  Increasing mentoring and role modelling

-  Increasing engagement and commitment of female staff

-  Identifying potential risks and establishing safeguards for female staff

-  Advancing gender equity and diversity initiatives

-  Capturing data on wellbeing, engagement and social capital

-  Connecting staff across various levels, divisions and teams

-  Demonstrating a commitment to providing equality

-  Identifying and nurturing emerging female talent.​

HOW WILL THE PROGRAM COMPLEMENT OUR EXISTING GENDER EQUITY INITIATIVES?

Research suggests that some initiatives geared towards enhancing organisational culture fail to provide safe, non-judgemental environments for women to candidly give feedback to their employer. In addition to providing much needed support and a place to discuss key issues, the program utilises a number of evaluation techniques to measure the current levels of wellbeing and fulfilment experienced by female employees. In this way, the program provides valuable insight into internal perceptions of social capital, inclusion and gender equality.​

“I am honoured to be part of Women & Leadership Australia’s 100 Days for Change. While women have come a long way in the workplace, there’s still an awfully long way to go. What I love about this campaign is the focus on practical change, from the grassroots to the top end of town: action, not words. It will be exciting to see what we are able to achieve.”

TRACEY SPICER AM, 100 days for change