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Overcoming the Glass Ceiling of Employees in an Organization

A lot of progress has been made to foster more equality in the workplace. However, some people still find themselves unfairly blocked from making career advancements.

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Unfortunately, this is when you’ve hit the glass ceiling. Various factors contribute to this, such as gender roles, discrimination, organizational management, and psychological factors.

To overcome a glass ceiling in the workplace, it is crucial to take a methodical and inclusive approach that emphasizes equity and diversity in an organization.

Suppose you feel like you’re unfortunately treading the glass ceiling in the workplace. In that case, this Pacific Prime article will dive into the different ways you can smash through an organization’s glass ceiling, so you can achieve the position you deserve.

Defining the Term “Glass Ceiling”

“So what is a glass ceiling?”, you may ask. The term “glass ceiling” can be defined as a symbolic barrier that prevents specific individuals from rising to leadership roles in their company. These groups of people are generally women and minorities.

It’s a subtle but damaging form of workplace discrimination. Despite your possession of the required abilities and efforts, you cannot take the opportunities presented to you.

Recognizing the Glass Ceiling

To break a glass ceiling at work, you must first recognize and understand why the glass ceiling exists. It can be difficult to identify it since it can sometimes be deeply embedded into an organization’s culture.

Still, there are some signs that it may exist in your company, as listed here:

  • “That’s just the way things are done here” – an explanation used to justify decisions
  • There is not much diversity up top
  • Sexist, racist, or other prejudicial language dismissed as “banter”
  • A lack of change and innovation
  • A substantial pay gap between different groups of employees
  • Career programs are available for minority groups, but only a few participate
  • Limited opportunity for mentoring from senior staff

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Since the commencement of the new millennium, significant progress has been made by women in the workplace. But truth be told, women at the higher end of the ladder of management are still rare compared to men. Up to this point, you may want to know how to break the glass ceiling.

What You Can Do as an Employee

Here are the critical ways you can take on breaking the glass ceiling in the workplace, to promote advancements in your career:

  • Direct your frustration into purposeful actions – It’s okay to be frustrated, depressed, or even angry at the injustice. But instead of being vengeful, use this strong feeling of passion as a motivation for action, while keeping control of your actions.
  • Be aware and understand the issue – Find out and understand more about where the glass ceiling exists in your company, who it affects, and how it works. The better you understand, the more chances you’ll get to promote change.
  • Voice your concerns – Recognizing the discrimination but remaining quiet about it may not help you. Speak up to your managers, or find important support or allies in the office
  • Be patient, but proactive – Breaking the glass ceiling will require much patience and time. Check in regularly with the management whether progress has been made. Don’t allow the issue to be overlooked.
  • Find a mentor – Mentors are significant in shaping career paths by giving support and advice. They can be high-ranking managers working in your company, serving as a reference and raising your credits during promotion opportunities.
  • Volunteer for opportunities in leadership positions – Go the extra mile, and take extra responsibilities by volunteering to lead a team, projects, research, or represent your company in events. This shows that you’re ready to take on more prominent roles.
  • Maintain a positive attitude – Even in unfavorable times, keeping a positive attitude is often the key to success. Understand the situation well, and stay motivated to work well with colleagues and supervisors. After all, a good team player is always important in the workplace.
  • Take charge of your own career – If you’ve been denied advancement opportunities after already trying every possible step to dismantle the glass ceiling, maybe it’s time to seek opportunities elsewhere for your potential to be realized.

Actions Organizations Can Take

Conversely, here are the helpful ways companies and senior leaders can take to dismantle the corporate glass ceiling:

  • Blind screening in the recruitment and promotion processes – This method reduces unconscious bias when recruiting or promoting employees, excluding information regarding gender or race. This promotes selections based on skills and experience based on relevant information needed for a role.
  • Conduct training against bias and stereotype – Organize internal training sessions or bring an expert on diversity and inclusion to raise more awareness on implicit biases and norms. The management can also participate since they do the recruiting and promotion of employees.
  • Establish diversity-promoting goals Assess the level of diversity in the office. Then, set goals to align with the results found. Be sure to use anonymous feedback from employees on when they have experienced barriers and bias to set clear goals to promote diversity.
  • Set SMART career advancement goals – The SMART method involves making specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, which are essential for planning and achieving desired outcomes.
  • Encourage open conversations – Ask your team members for their views. Although this could lead to some uneasy conversations, employees may give you important facts and suggestions for improving the situation.
  • Establish clear performance indicators – Set precise performance standards that align with DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) goals, and make those in the executive positions responsible for meeting them.
  • Set leadership development programs – Invest in programs that look out for high-potential workers from underrepresented groups for leadership positions.
  • Implement flexible work methods – Flexible working schedules and procedures help employees to have a better balance between work and personal responsibilities. This is especially helpful for women who have experienced career setbacks.
  • Evaluate pay structures – Make sure that pay procedures are fair and just without any racial or gender discrimination.
  • Encourage leadership to set out examples of inclusivity – Leaders and managers must understand different perspectives, and help employees from underrepresented groups to rise to positions where they’ve been previously denied of

Let Us Assist You

Achieving equality and dismantling the glass ceiling requires a continuous and collaborative effort with support from all levels. By putting these principles into practice, employers can create a more inclusive and equal work environment where everyone has an equal opportunity for advancement.

This is where Pacific Prime and our team of experts step in. With over 20 years of experience in providing employee benefits programs, and corporate insurance solutions to companies of all sizes, we strive to provide you with tailor-made solutions with expert knowledge and impartial advice.

Contact us to find out more about our comprehensive employee benefits package with our expert advisors today!

Content Writer at Pacific Prime Thailand
Veerabhatr is a content writer with over 6 years of experience with a particular penchant for storytelling and marketing, both in print and online. He now works with an experienced team of writers at Pacific Prime, aiming to shed light on the essence and benefits of insurance for companies and individuals by creating engaging, informative content across multiple platforms.

After obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, International Relations from Mahidol University International College, Veerabhatr has forged his career as a content writer in the travel, lifestyle, and real estate industries, writing in both English and Thai. He now continues to hone his skills as a writer at Pacific Prime, looking to engage and educate the audience by simplifying insurance.

Writer by day, and a DJ by night, Veerabhatr is a staunch music lover, and listens to all spectrums of genres available. He also loves to drink beer (moderately), eat all types of food, go to the beach, and learn about different cultures across the globe. He is also a die-hard fan of football and motorsports.
Veerabhatr Sriyananda