Certification FAQs

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Who created the GEN Certification?
The GEN Certification Assessment Methodology and the GEN Certification Standard were created in partnership with award-winning data analysts and a team from the University of Washington. Findings from a national survey on workplace experience, a comprehensive review of current research on behavioral science and institutional bias, subject matter expert interviews, and case studies all formed the foundation for the standard. Please refer to the ‘Methodology’ section of our 2018 Guide to the GEN Certification Standard to learn more about the creation of the GEN Cert.

Is there a minimum number of employees a business must have to be GEN Certified?
GEN has created a certification model for small businesses of under 50 employees, in addition to its standard certification model. There is no minimum headcount for the GEN Small Business Certification.
The methodology used to assess businesses for the standard GEN Certification cannot necessarily be applied to small businesses. For example, the standard certification evaluates the ‘perception gap’ between how men and women experience the workplace, as part of the overall assessment of the business. Small businesses may not have enough participants of each gender to draw significant conclusions from this gap, so we employ other methods, such as comparing employee responses to normative data gathered from our national public-facing survey. In addition, small businesses may not have the departments or stratification of seniority levels found in larger companies, so we do not include this criterion. For these reasons, we have tailored a separate certification process for small businesses.

How long does the certification last?
Businesses that are GEN Certified maintain that status for three years. They may then be audited for re-certification at approximately 35% the cost of the original certification fee.
GEN is committed to updating its criteria to keep pace with evolving knowledge around gender equity best practices. If GEN’s criteria have changed since a business was last certified, the organization will be audited for re-certification according to the newest criteria.
The re-certification requirement acknowledges that gender equity requires ongoing commitment, and ensures that certified businesses take a long-term approach to intentionally fostering inclusive cultures.

Who issues the certificate?
An approved third-party auditor issues GEN Certifications. These are trained certification specialists who have gone through a GEN Certification Auditing program to ensure integrity, competence, and consistency.

If an organization participates in the GEN Certification assessment, can that organization opt out of the certification?
Certification is not a requirement, but it does visibly demonstrate an organization’s commitment to gender equity in the workplace. GEN will still deliver the same diagnostic report to the organization, including a quantitative and qualitative assessment, identification of gaps, and recommendations for next steps.

What resources are required from the organization?
Your organization should expect to be responsible for the following:
  • Distributing the employee survey to your staff for completion. (We’ll provide a sample introductory e-mail with a secure link to the survey.) Expect surveys to take approximately 15 minutes for each employee to complete.
  • Access to your leadership and a sample of your non-management employees, if applicable, for 30-60-minute interviews.
  • Access to a focal point for a processes audit meeting, which may last up to 8 hours.
  • Completion by your lead(s) of a feedback survey, so we can continue to improve our processes.
  • Information that you should expect to disclose is included in the Certification Assessment Checklist, which you receive after we complete an eligibility conversation.
  • If you choose to participate as a featured organization in a related case study, we may need to conduct further interviews and will need your review and approval of content to be published.
For more questions on getting started on the Certification Assessment process, please contact us.

Is it possible that an organization participating in an assessment finds that it does not qualify for certification?
Yes, and the GEN Certification Assessment fee does include a retest option for organizations to redeem within one year. GEN’s initial assessment includes a diagnostic overview of your organization and recommendations for improvement. Our experts can work with you to create and follow an action plan to ensure you’re tracking the most effective Gender Equity Targets.

What is the assessment fee?
The assessment fee depends on the total number of employees in the organization. Please contact us to receive specific details for your organization.

How long from the start of the assessment to the granting of certification?
The timeframe depends mainly on the responsiveness and pace of the organization being assessed. The assessment process typically takes 2-3 months, and GEN certifies only organizations that meet the criteria.

What exactly is the organization paying for?
The fee includes administration of the employee survey and the processes audit, an analysis of survey results and an audit summary, benchmarking against the GEN Standard and peers, a summary of GEN Assessment results, recommended next steps and an action plan, advice and support in creating and distributing the internal and external communications on the results of the GEN Certification Assessment, an image file to be used if certified, and an invitation to join GEN’s case studies of Gender Equity Leaders.

What is involved in the audit process?
GEN will work with you to plan the audit schedule, including a remote review of documents and an on-site visit from your GEN auditor. To learn more about what is included in the Certification Standard Rubric, please contact us to start an eligibility conversation.

How long will the auditor be on site?
An on-site visit may be a single day or more, depending on the size and complexity of the organization.