Want to Know Your Company’s Business Case for Women? Do Your Own Research.
The recent Women in the Workplace 2018 – Lean In and McKinsey & Company report found that 78 percent of companies are able to articulate the Business Case for Gender Equity. The problem is that only 16 percent of companies hold their people to any type of metrics. No metrics, no accountability. Additionally, as I work with clients I talk about women controlling 83 percent of all purchasing decisions ($7 trillion dollars!), women holding 40 percent of B2B purchasing roles and 10,000 Baby Boomers a day (mostly old white men) leaving the workplace and a gap of almost 4 million jobs a year.
These big numbers are meaningless unless you know and can articulate your business case for change down to a mid-level manager, and you hold people accountable. How powerful is this analysis? Beginning in 2015, Sodexo undertook a major study to leverage its large global workforce to determine how gender balance was impacting their financial and non-financial performance. They collected and analyzed data from more than 50,000 managers from 70 entities worldwide. Management teams from a diverse range of functions, ranging from top leadership to site management, were all included.
Rohini Anand, PhD, SVP, Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity Officer of Sodexo, wrote at the time, “The study is based on the premise that gender balance affects performance only when the optimal balance is reached. The results clearly confirm that this balance corresponds to a male-female ratio between 40 percent and 60 percent, reinforcing that no one gender is better than the other; rather, diversity is key to enhanced performance.”
She continued, “Sodexo found that the management teams that fit within this gender balance ‘zone’ generate, on average, results that are more sustained and predictable than those of teams with less than 40 percent or more than 60 percent of either gender.” The company noted that gender-balanced teams achieved, on average:
- A four-point higher global engagement rate compared to other management groups
- A five-point increase in brand image
- A 12 percent increase in client retention; positive organic growth, growth profit and operating profit over three consecutive years
Anand summarized that, “Creating an inclusive culture free of biases allows everyone to reach their full potential. Based on the data from the study, it’s clear that organizations can benefit significantly from ensuring all team members have that opportunity and fully contribute to the success of the enterprise. This can be supported through educational opportunities via tuition reimbursement as well as mentoring and sponsorship initiatives.”
In 2018, Sodexo updated their findings to note that entities with gender-balanced management scored higher on five key performance indicators.
Sodexo has made workplace gender equality a top priority with a commitment to ensure 100 percent of employees work in gender-balanced teams, and the number of women holding senior leadership positions grows from the current 33 percent to 40 percent by 2025.
10 Metrics Every Company Should Be Tracking
What are you tracking for your company? Here is a list of things you can track and hold people accountable for:
1. The gender representation of your sales force and your customers (i.e. the number of men vs. women) for your top 50 customer-facing teams and customers/buying purchasing agents.
2. Current baseline of employees by level
3. Percentage of diverse applications for open positions
4. Percentage of diverse slates/interviews conducted (i.e minimum of 1 of 3 is a woman or person of color)
5. Percentage of diverse panels conducting the interviews, (i.e minimum of 1 of 3 is a woman or person of color)
6. Percentage of hires/promotions
7. Regrettable losses of women
8. Percentage of “ready-now” promotable women along with a development plan if none are ready (i.e. when a leader says, “I don’t have any women ready,” ask, “Why not?” and “What are you doing to groom women in your organization?”
9. Engagement: Participation rates, engagement levels by age/function/tenure/organizational level.
10. Pulse surveys and formal interviews with women’s resource groups to identify trends, issues and opportunities.
For a more comprehensive look at suggested measurements and metrics, download the YWomen 30-Point Assessment with Leadership Measures/Metrics.
Enough with the temporary fixes. It’s time for leadership, bold thinking, strategy and accountability to fix the inequities and imbalances within corporate cultures, which will lead to more level playing fields and inclusive workplaces where all employees can thrive and work to positively impact the bottom line.
This article originally appeared on Linkedin, you can read other articles by Jeffery Tobias Halter here.
Jeffery Tobias Halter is president of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership advancement. Founder of the Father of Daughter Initiative, creator of the Gender Conversation QuickStartersNewsletter and the Male Advocacy Profile, Jeffery is the former director of diversity strategy for The Coca-Cola Company, and is the author of two books, WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men and Selling to Men, Selling to Women.