How can organizations harness behavioural insights to ensure gender equality?

Recruiting and promoting the right people is paramount to any organization’s success. However, Gender Biases continue to negatively affect successful recruitment and selection processes. S&P 500 companies have less than 20% of women on their boards and only 5% of the companies have a woman sitting in a CEO chair. In academia, it is no better. Despite 55% women are enrolled as students and 46% as Ph.D students.,only 20% are promoted to professors.

One of the reasons is that women tend to negotiate less for promotion and salary increase. That is not because women are poor negotiators. In fact, when women are negotiating on behalf of others or there is transparency about what is negotiable, they can negotiate as well as their male counterparts.

How can employers nudge young females, early in their career, to negotiate for promotion?

The outcome: 12 great ideas, ready to be tested out on the job market . If any organization chooses to test some of these ideas, please let us know so we can share the result with the world.

A jury consisting of the founders of Develop Diverse and Nudge Crowd selected their favorite idea. Congratulations to Esther, Lisa and Lisa. Their prize: a dinner cooked with love by Jenifer and Stig.

In collaboration with the student organization CBS behavioural and the start-up Develop Diverse, we hosted a workshop to address this problem. We asked behavioral enthusiasts from Copenhagen Business to put their creativity and skills into use to develop ideas for:

Winning idea: Female success stories

The idea in short: “We would regularly publish success stories of Women in our company and initiate mentoring session called “Meet your role model” between women of different levels.”

The jury found it very interesting to combine the publication of role model stories with mentoring sessions. These two concepts have shown to make a difference, and the jury liked how the idea explores synergy effects in the interventions. It is a simple and feasible idea, which could be implemented at many workplaces.



Develop Diverse helps companies expanding their talent pool with a more diverse set of qualified candidates by making their job ads more gender-neutral using an AI-based software tool. Their inspiring founder Jenifer, opened the workshop guiding the participants through scientific research studies and exercises revealing to what extent we are influenced by gender bias.

Photo: CBS Photography, Julian Kienzle

Other ideas

Negotiation Sponsoring

The idea is to recruit in batches and make potential employees negotiate on behalf of others who are applying too. They would get an anonymizedCV in an interview for this. This way both men and women are encouraged to negotiate right from the start, while employers can test negotiation skills and also the ability of employees to react spontaneously and to work in a team. Smaller enterprises could join a platform to engage in the practice and benefit too. Promotion negotiations could be handled similarly.

Integration of gender rights in a business strategy

A business should integrate gender-advantages and rights in either their CSR-strategy, by supporting a NGO or making a codex of ethics. This will both create values to the women working in the business because they help other women, and value to the business.


Negotiation week

Every year the first week of May should be negotiation week. Here it should be announced that this is the week where you have the opportunity to negotiate your salary. It should be announced that during the negotiation your closest manager and a representative from HR (with the opposite sex of your manager) will be present.

It has to look good on instagram

We have to make pay negotiations more attractive by making it socially acceptable to talk about pay – making it more sexy. (Aftabuisere løn) Make a great check, which can be shared on instagram every time you get a raise.


Based on the research that men are more confident in feeling competent as opposed to women, who do not have the same confidence regarding their competences, I suggest that a company makes a “rewarding” system that measures the quality of the work on different parameters (be it speed of work, research used, whatever significant for the job) and based on these, the worker’s (female in this case) confidence is boosted by highlighting the good work, making her conscious that she is of value to the company, thus leading her to wanting to negotiate e.g salary.

Foster salary transparency in your organization

Encourage employees to share their salary with their colleagues, also after negotiation and promotion talks. Don’t make it a taboo to talk about money. This can foster satisfaction,, stops rumors and possible resentments between employees. And can give especially insecure employees a nudge to speak up and a metric to compare to.

Portrait stories

Posters with strong females stating their negotiation winnings and how this affected their family/life positively

Transparency and Awareness

Create awareness about the gender bias issue, so that women are able to connect with others and notice that they are not alone with this issue. Be transparent so that women understand more about how much salary they can ask for (e.g average salaries on glassdoor)

Social raises

When a co-worker sees another co-worker do a good job, she/he should be encouraged to talk to manager in order to raise the other co-workers salary.

Sharing is caring

Women should get more informations about their “true value” and share their pay check and/or good negotiation experiences. Unions should advertise for this.

Value appreciation conversation

The idea is to change the word ‘negotiation’ into something that seems easier to engage in. Such as “VALUE APPRECIATION CONVERSATION”! WUT ?!. The words ‘appreciation’ and ‘conversation’ bring forth more classical female values to mind.

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