Using Baseline & Readiness Assessments

Using Baseline and Readiness Assessments

Before your organization embarks on a change initiative to become more inclusive of women, it is critical to know your starting point. Collecting some information will help to solidify everyone’s understanding of the opportunities and the likely challenges involved.

The following suggestions outline a comprehensive assessment process. Choose a few strategic indicators that are important to your business.

Many indicators of your current state might be readily available and others can be gathered as needed. Wherever possible, make good use of existing information; leverage your current business measurement processes.

Baseline Measurements of Gender Diversity and Inclusion

Percentage of Women Workers

Many mining companies already have available statistics on their employee population. If your organization does not have existing data, developing accurate baseline counts of women and men in various job categories might not be feasible at this time. If so, choose at least one target occupation that is of strategic importance to your organization and develop a baseline measure of the gender diversity within that group.


What is the current percentage of women employees?


Compute percentages separately for the following roles where women have traditionally been under-represented in the mining industry: Senior Managers, Professional and Physical Sciences, Technical Occupations, Supervisors, Coordinators and ForemenTrades and Production.

Tip: For more detail on the occupational categories, refer to the Mining Industry HR Council’s (MiHR) annual national labour market report – Available at


Are the percentages increasing or decreasing over time?

Critical Mass

How many locations or occupations have a representation of women that is approaching critical mass (30% or more)?


How well do the percentages reflect the availability of skilled women in those professions and/or in your region?

Tip: Availability data for women in various occupations are provided by the federal government’s Labour Program based on the 2011 National Household Survey. For example, in Ontario 15% of mining engineers at that time were women. See


How do turnover rates compare for men and women?

Tip: Compute voluntary and involuntary turnover rates separately.


How do promotion rates compare for women and men?


Within a job category, how do the average earnings for women and men compare?

Tip: To fully understand a comparison of earnings, examine also the actual pay rates and hours worked.

Intersection Factors

Look further – what is the impact of age, education, cultural background (including Aboriginal status) and family status?

Gender-Inclusive Conditions and Freedom from Stereotypes

Many mining workplaces have practices that were introduced at a time before there were many women in mining. These policies and practices can present unintended barriers to a gender-inclusive workplace. Consider the following questions to create a baseline assessment of your organization’s current level of knowledge about these systemic barriers:

Describing Jobs

Has your organization carefully reviewed all job titles, job descriptions and job ads to ensure they are inclusive of both women and men?

Offering Choices

What processes are in place to ensure that women are not automatically streamed into certain jobs, or types and levels of work?

Inclusive Facilities

Are the physical working conditions (e.g., equipment, clothing, shower and toilet facilities) appropriate for men and women?

Reviewing Policies

Are there organizational policies, processes or procedures that might contain unintended systemic biases?

Tip: MiHR has created a four-part e-learning series customized to the industry, for addressing systemic gender barriers in policies and procedures. Contact MiHR to request access.

Workplace Climate

Women and men often experience their workplace differently. Many organizations have employee surveys that can be valuable sources of this information. Interviews or focus groups are effective methods to gain deeper insights into the results. If your organization does not have existing data, consider using a short targeted survey, or a series of interviews or employee focus groups to explore perspectives on the workplace climate. Within specific work locations or across the full organization, consider the following questions:

Positive Practices

  • What positive practices has the organization put into place to foster an inclusive and welcoming work environment?
  • What communication and training efforts have been undertaken?
  • What mechanisms signal to employees that harassment of any sort is not tolerated in the workplace?
  • What is the organization’s track record regarding harassment?
  • How many conflicts and formal or informal complaints arise each month?
  • Are those numbers increasing or decreasing over time?

Work Group Experiences

How do the perspectives of women and men compare on questions about their work group such as:

  • How would they describe the day-to-day interactions?
  • How often do they see or experience negative behaviour such as conflict, put-downs, harassment, bullying or violence?
  • Are conflicts increasing or decreasing?
  • Do they feel they are “part of the team”?

Career Opportunities

How do women and men assess their career opportunities?

  • Is it seen to be harder for women to succeed in the workplace?
  • How do women and men assess the fairness of the hiring and promotion practices?
  • Do men and women report having equal access to important supports such as learning and development, coaching and mentoring, special assignments, etc.?

Work-Life Balance

How do formal policies and informal norms support employees in reconciling their work and personal responsibilities?

Business Case Indicators

Review the general business case for gender inclusion in mining that is presented in the National Action Plan. Once the specific business case for greater gender inclusion in your organization has been clarified, collect some baseline measurements that will help to document the benefits achieved. Some indicators might be:

Talent Pool

The talent pool business case, including the organization’s recruitment and retention track record:

  • Numbers and quality of applicants
  • Hard-to-fill openings
  • Turnover costs

Business Operations

Specific productivity and performance indicators that are strategically important to your site, company, or aspect of the industry. Choose up to three indicators that could feasibly show some improvement resulting from enhanced collaboration, reduced stress or absenteeism, greater innovation, etc.


Indicators of the organization’s reputation, such as:

  • External stakeholder assessments of the organization’s track record on gender diversity and inclusion
  • The organization’s reputation in the industry or the community
  • The perspectives of potential employees (students, job seekers, industry professionals) and influencers (educators, search firms, agencies)

Safety, Helath and Wellness

Indicators such as:

  • Accident and injury rates
  • Equipment damage rates
  • Absenteeism
  • Health benefits costs

Indicators of Organizational Readiness for Change

Take an honest look at the organizational unit(s) where a gender inclusion initiative will be introduced. Use an informal rating system such as a five-point scale or a “red, yellow, green” rating to summarize readiness on these indicators of leadership commitment:


Readiness Rating

We have a clear summary of the business case for gender inclusion in our workplace.

Senior leaders and managers can describe the business case in their own words

We have a shared and realistic awareness of the current state of gender diversity in our organization.

Leaders understand that gender inclusion will not be achieved with a “quick fix”.

Leaders have some appreciation of the challenges and opportunities involved in fostering a culture change toward a more inclusive workplace.

The leadership is prepared to set challenging goals for this change and hold people accountable.

Overall, our most senior leaders are committed to a gender-inclusive workplace – they know what is involved and are ready to engage.

Organizational Receptivity to Change

Prior to embarking on a change initiative, it is important to understand the environment within the location(s) and unit(s) where the change will be introduced. Use an informal rating system such as a five-point scale or a “red, yellow, green” rating to summarize readiness on criteria such as:


Readiness Rating

Employees’ perspectives on other change initiatives – were previous efforts seen as well-managed, successful, sustained and positive?

Trust and engagement levels within the workforce – how will any announcements of a new workforce initiative be received?

Clarity of accountabilities and levels of commitment to achieving goals – can managers and supervisors be counted upon to deliver results as expected?

The organization’s ability to invest – is the company (or the specific location or work unit) in a position to dedicate required resources and attention to a gender inclusion initiative?

Communications Considerations

Be prepared to share the results of the baseline and readiness assessments with various audiences. It is not necessary to share all of the results. Choose a few strategic indicators that align with your stated business case and that will resonate within your organization.

Tip: Summarize some of the “current state” measurements using the customizable business presentation in the tool called A Change for the Better: Gender Diversity in Mining.

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