When Women Thrive Businesses Thrive, & that means YOU

Do you ever find yourself trying to justify why you need some gender equality initiatives at your place of work (like attending or booking a RenewYou course)? If so, this will help. It’s a report from an American organisation called Mercer; they polled 168 companies in 28 countries. Here’s a brief excerpt of what they found:


Standalone programs and silo-ed initiatives are not advancing gender diversity. Statistical analysis of the data provided by respondents reveals the following key drivers:

1. A BROAD, ENTERPRISE-WIDE FOCUS IS LINKED TO SUSTAINABLE CHANGE. Organizations that focus on broad and holistic approaches to support female talent are on an accelerated path to gender equality.

2. ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT ENOUGH — LEADERSHIP NEEDS TO BE ENGAGED IN PROMOTING AND MANAGING DIVERSITY. Formal accountability turns out to be insignificant in increasing gender diversity when divorced from true leadership engagement. But organizations in which leaders are actively involved in diversity programs have more women at the top and throughout the organization, as well as more equitable talent flows between women and men.

3. THE ACTIVE MANAGEMENT OF TALENT DRIVES MORE FAVORABLE OUTCOMES THAN TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS. Simply implementing programs to support women’s needs is not enough — and may actually slow the trajectory for women in the absence of proactive management of their careers. Specifically, the research found that:

  • Actively managing pay equity, as opposed to making a passive commitment, drives gender equality.
  • Ensuring that women and men have equal access to profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities leads to better gender diversity outcomes.
  • Traditional “check the box” leave and flexibility programs are not sufficient to improve gender equality — and may even hurt diversity efforts when not complemented by proactive coaching.

4. NONTRADITIONAL SOLUTIONS IMPACT FIRMS’ LONG-TERM ABILITY TO ENGAGE AND RETAIN FEMALE TALENT. Innovative programs that target women’s unique health and financial needs are helping organizations better attract, develop, and retain female talent and include:

  • Customized retirement solutions geared toward women’s unique financial behaviors, attitudes, and needs — such as differences between women and men in lifetime earnings, in longevity (which impacts the length of time savings need to last), and in investing behavior.
  • Health-related programs, when prioritized and focused on the unique needs of women. Women are affected by different health issues and illnesses than men, experience and use the health care system differently than men, and are more likely than men to be caregivers.

5. MEN AND WOMEN OFFER EMPLOYERS DIFFERENT BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT SKILLS. Although companies view female and male managers as having somewhat different strengths, they rank those strengths as equally important to success. And those companies that embrace the different strengths that men and women bring to their roles are more successful at achieving gender diversity.


These findings are a call for employers to think and act in new ways in order to better utilize female talent. To accelerate progress on gender diversity, employers should:

  • ACTIVELY ENGAGE THE RIGHT PEOPLE WITH THE RIGHT COMMITMENT AT THE RIGHT TIME. Rather than trying to get the full executive committee to lead from the front, organizations should focus on identifying champions who are ready to drive change.
  • COMMIT TO IMPROVING PAY EQUITY BETWEEN GENDERS. Only 38% of respondents use a robust statistical approach for conducting pay equity analyses and only 35% have a formalized remediation process to address any pay equity risks.
  • ACTIVELY MANAGE WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL LIFE CYCLES. This requires ongoing, transparent communication about the implications of possible career choices and encouragement to take risks and reach for higher rungs on the ladder.
  • INCREASE THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN P&L ROLES. Among survey respondents, only 26% agree that women in the organization are equally likely to be in P&L roles as in non-P&L roles.
  • HELP WOMEN IMPROVE THEIR FINANCIAL WELLBEING THROUGH PROGRAMS AND EDUCATION GEARED TOWARD THEIR UNIQUE FINANCIAL NEEDS, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIORS. Only 12%– 15% of respondents have introduced gender-specific elements into their retirement and savings programs.
  • ADOPT MORE INNOVATIVE, GENDER-SPECIFIC APPROACHES TO SUPPORTING WOMEN’S HEALTH. Health education programs geared to women and more flexible approaches to health and well-being could significantly impact female participation in the workforce if adopted by employers.

This analytically rigorous research points employers toward fundamentally different and more effective approaches for fully utilizing the female workforce. However, those who apply predictive analytics in their own organizations to identify and respond to their vital talent business issues — whether they relate to gender,the engagement and participation of other diverse groups, or other workforce matters — can identify their own most impactful interventions and, in doing so, facilitate the achievement of rapid and dramatic change.

You can download the full report here from the Mercer website.

You might also enjoy reading this post on the topic of getting women into the management pipeline.

Posted on June 10th, 2015 by

2 Responses to “When Women Thrive Businesses Thrive, & that means YOU”

  1. I love the summary, and the research reflects my experience. Long term, and cater specifically for men and women. Recognise we are just not the same. We see, think and respond differently, so we bring different strengths and need a different type of support from our manager and organisation.

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