Grant Thornton has tracked the progress of women in business for 14 years
According to Grant Thornton, the professional services company, that has tracked the progress of women in business around the globe for 14 years, explores how business leaders think and feel, and outlines practical steps that can create change.
1. Champion the cause: To create change, senior leadership need to take the issue seriously and lead from the top.
2. Make diversity and inclusion a core value: Organizational values drive behavior, so it’s important that the whole business is signed up to diversity and inclusion. Our research shows that translating good intentions into practice is an ongoing challenge for businesses.
3. Set goals: Making gender diversity a core value is not enough in itself; business leaders should set clear goals by which they will measure progress.
4. Link progress to pay: They say that what gets measured gets managed, so business leaders should make diversity and inclusion goals part of the leadership team’s compensation packages to encourage change.
5. Avoid tokenism: Simply putting one woman on the senior management team is not enough to ensure a range of voices is heard and for the business to reap the rewards of diversity.The issue is not only about whether there are women present but also whether women feel their perspectives are valued.
6. Reduce ‘mini me’ recruitment and promotion: Providing support to understand why this happens and how it can be avoided will forge a better process. Unconscious bias training can help people at all levels of the business avoid the temptation to hire and promote employees who look, speak and think in the same ways.
7. Introduce sponsorship: Sponsorship can have a significantly greater impact on gender diversity in leadership than simple mentoring schemes.
8. Investigate the benefits: Evidence of the commercial gains brought by gender diversity will help convince sceptics of the need for change and provide justification for investment in new initiatives.
9. Be comfortable with discomfort: Creating an inclusive business environment that supports gender diversity in leadership will not be easy, so leaders need to be in it for the long-term.
10. Share your story: Business leaders who are open about what is driving change in their own companies can encourage others and help them overcome the complexity of turning theory into action. It can be challenging for business leaders to feel able to be transparent about internal ways of working, and particularly about mistakes they’ve made, but without this we are unlikely to see widespread progress.