Why Businesses Need to Attract, Advance and Retain Women (and Minorities) (Part 2 of 4)

How the 80/80/80 Solution is the Critical Foundation of an Integrated Women’s Leadership Strategy (Part 2 of a 4 Part Series)

The majority of organizations today cannot articulate in simple terms why it is a business critical imperative to attract, advance, and retain women.

While senior leadership discusses broad plans, if I, as a middle manager of the organization cannot articulate why this is important to me, in my own words and how it affects my business plan, then I have no vested interest in advancing the corporate agenda.

It is important to note that this model and exercise is critical for any type of diversity and inclusion imperative. In my work I have chosen to focus on women as they are the largest cohort group in most organizations, however the principles and methodology would be the same.

In the first post of this four-part series, I surmised how imperative it was for corporate diversity strategies to be driven by a real sense of urgency. The company can’t afford to go on a diversity “journey,” where you see small results in female leadership over a lengthy period of time; rather, you need to develop and implement a long-term strategic plan to attract, retain and advance more women in your ranks.

I mentioned there were three critical reasons to implement a women’s leadership strategy; Grow Revenue, Improve Operating Profit and to Enhance Your Corporate Reputation. Now we need to create exactly as powerful yet simple sound bites for the foundational business case.

The 80/80/80 Solution

80/80/80 a great way to visualize and simplify the staggering impact women have not just in the workplace but also in the broader economy. It also helps companies understand WHY they are implementing an Integrated Women’s Leadership Strategy.

So, what is the 80/80/80 solution?

  • 80+% Revenue – generated or influenced by women.
  • 80+% Talent – new entries into the workforce that are women and minorities.
  • 80+% Engagement – the aspirational engagement level of high-performing companies.

80+% Revenue – generated or influenced by women
Women drive revenue in both the B2C and B2B world

In the Business to Consumer (B2C) world, women are the primary decision-makers and influencers of nearly everything bought and consumed in this country. Any of my male brethren reading this post know that the final say with most purchasing decisions in the household lies with the missus. The numbers speak for themselves.

According to sheconomy.com – women account for 85% of all consumer purchases from groceries and home improvements to automobiles and health care. And when it comes to the enormity of global and national buying power of women, figures like $20 trillion and $7 trillion respectively are thrown about. That number is greater than the economies of India and China put together, yet most companies still treat women like a niche.

Having more women in your workforce, including in your sales force and on the marketing side, will give you a keener understanding of what this demographic needs and how you, as a business, can provide it to them.

In the B2B (Business to Business) world, while women might not be single-handedly buying railroads, jet engines or trillions of dollars™ worth of items acquired by organizations, there is a distinct imprint of how they make their purchasing decisions and it is vital that organizations understand gender roles in B2B selling and service delivery.

In a study conducted by Deloitte over how men and women make big-ticket purchases for their companies, the study found:

  • Men view the RFP (request for proposal) process as defining the scope of an engagement and clarifying the rules of the game. Women, on the other hand, tend to view the RFP as a “useful guide that creates an opportunity for exploration with the prospective client.”
  • Women view the first meeting with a potential service provider as a chance to explore options with an expert resource while men see the event as a near-final stage in the process of narrowing down options and deciding on a vendor

The findings are a helpful reminder that if your B2B sales force does not have women on it, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity and probably losing out on big deals too. It may also be that your mostly-male sales force doesn’t know how to sell to women.

  • 80+% Talent – new entries into the workforce that are women and minorities.

By now, we all know that by 2043 America is going to be a minority-majority nation. California and Texas, two of the largest economies in the world are already minority-majority and New York and Florida will be shortly. And if you’re looking for a bright, talented, educated worker, chances are it’s going to be a woman, possibly a millennial and from a minority.

Moreover, there are the other trends in the workforce which compel you to embrace the new normal.

Trends such as more MBAs leaning towards entrepreneurship, willing to relocate to wherever their jobs and passions take them and the fact that thousands of boomers are retiring from the workforce each day and taking with them tons of organizational knowledge acquired over decades.

Many organizations talk about the diverse makeup of the new talent, yet have failed to move beyond the rhetoric and begin internalizing the trend.

  • 80+% Engagement – the aspirational engagement level of high-performing companies.

For any company to improve operating profit, you need to look at employee engagement as a metric of productivity. And if you are paying an employee for an 8-hour day, you should expect to get at least six and half productive hours from that person daily.

A recent Gallup report in the State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders shows that people who work for a female manager are more engaged, on average than those who work under a male boss.

It’s also no coincidence that companies with the highest engaged workforce are also the ones with the highest level of “female/family friendly” benefits such as flextime, telecommuting, extended maternity leaves, on-site day care, and dozens of other programs that allow companies to get the best out of all their talent.

My approach is not to reflect on engagement as a nice thing to do, but for you to take it up as a real-time action plan to drive and focus productivity on your most critical asset your employees.

Creating Your 80/80/80 Business Case

These three elements of Talent, Revenue, and Engagement make up the foundational business case for our model. While it is nice to talk in esoteric terms such as 80/80/80, it’s much harder for organizations to measure it.

Now, the hard work begins.

For each of these elements, you must go through a business analysis process. You must do the hard work so that every level of the organization understands and has measures, metrics, and goals.

If you want a playbook on how to do this, it is detailed in my book WHY Women. You’ll find out more about the specific questions that need to be tailored to your specific industry and organization that will help you use the 80/80/80 model. To buy the book, click here.

Ready to get started? Download a preview of Why Women Chapter 1 today.

HuffPost logoThis post originally appeared on HuffPost.

Jeffery Tobias Halter is the country’s leading male expert on advancing women and engaging men. He is the President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership issues. Jeffery is a TEDx speaker, Huffington Post Blogger and the author of two books, WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men 2015) and Selling to Men, Selling to Women. Keep in touch at @YWomen.