Anyone up for an extra $12 trillion? That’s how much additional productivity can be squeezed out of the global economy simply by creating more gender-diverse workforces, according to this McKinsey & Company report
So what does this mean for c-suite and, in particular, HR leaders? The case for increasing gender diversity is about more than just equal opportunity. A diverse workplace makes for competitive advantage and bottom-line financial sense. Consider this: A 2014 Gallup study of more than 800 business units from two very large companies in two different industries found that gender-diverse business units have 14% higher average revenue and 19% higher average quarterly net profit than less-diverse units.
Similarly, MSCI Inc. conducted a five-year study of U.S. company performance from 2011-2016 and found that those with at least three women on the board had 45% higher earnings per share compared to companies with no women directors.
Can this message be any louder or clearer? Keep reading!
So it’s no wonder the World Economic Forum says, “ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half the world’s talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness
While it’s clear that superior financial performance, alone, is the business world’s most powerful driver for appointing
Why Gender Diversity Matters
According to McKinsey’s Women Matter 2016 report, over 75% of CEOs consider gender equality to be a top business priority. But there’s a disconnect. Even though the majority of CEOs recognize the importance of gender diversity, and it’s been established that boards with at least three women directors are almost 50% more profitable than those without, women still make up less than 20% of executive-committee members and corporate board members overall!
As a whole, business has been pretty slow on the uptake. Computing, architecture
But adding one or two women to a large male-dominated group won’t cut it. Successful gender-diverse operations require true balance. In Michael Moore’s 2015 documentary, Where to Invade Next, the former director of Iceland’s Chamber of Commerce makes this point: “one [woman] is a token, and two is a minority.” But when you have at least three women in the
It’s no surprise the only bank standing after Iceland’s banking collapse was women-run!
To top it off, organizations with a reputation for being a good place for diverse groups to work – gender or otherwise – find it easier to recruit top talent, saving time and money in the long run. After all, who doesn’t want to work with the best of the best?
Unlocking the Benefits of Gender Diversity
Many organizations fail to create successful gender-diversity programs. Sometimes, the efforts backfire by introducing more bias in the workplace. The key is to embark on a genuine journey. Filling a quota just won’t do. Bare-bones quotas are ineffective because they can negatively affect relationships between coworkers, instill a sense of distrust, and even end up overlooking the best fit for the position. Instead, create a hiring strategy that does not reduce or ignore merit.
Similarly, a “blanket” diversity and inclusion policy isn’t likely to achieve results. Lack of focus and detail forgoes a crucial aspect of personalization and fails to promote an open, supportive work environment. Leaders must take care in implementing a diversity strategy. It’s worth taking note of business sections and units that have less gender diversity – and this doesn’t only mean adding more women to
Don’t talk the talk if you’re not willing to walk the walk. Leaders can, according to Gallup, “unleash the power of diversity by enabling employees to turn their differences in thought, behaviors, skills, knowledge, and talent into innovative ideas and practices that can drive a company forward.” But this requires managers to lead by example, hold themselves and others accountable for diversity measures, and create an overall company culture that catalyzes comfort by being inclusive, open,
Creating an open culture is a process. Ultimately, businesses need a comprehensive transformation program that doesn’t just work to reduce
Gender diversity is more than just an equal rights issue. It’s an economic issue. Gender-diverse workforces are more inclusive, catalyze higher engagement, and undoubtedly increase economic performance – enhancing the entire organization from workers to customers to other stakeholders, as well as prospective employees.