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Driving Innovation through Inclusion

Source | LinkedIn : By Programme EVE

Diversity for years has been the goal; however, it has not always had the desired effect. Simply hiring for the sake of checking the “diversity box” is not enough. How are you engaging that pool, using their unique insights and bringing them into the dominant group? Individuals must feel valued and engaged to retain the full benefits of a diverse organisation.

We know that women’s talents and abilities are being wasted in the workplace. The proportion of women on boards across the globe remains staggeringly low at 14.7%. The S&P 500 figure, in the United States, has stalled just under the 20% mark in recent years, while in Europe the number of women on public boards hovers at 25 per cent and at just over 26 per cent in the UK for the FTSE 100.

Studies, including several produced by Catalyst, clearly demonstrate the value of having more women in senior leadership positions. Our Bottom Line series shows that companies with more women board directors and senior officers, on average, financially outperform those with fewer women.

Not only does increasing women’s representation in senior leadership improve companies’ bottom lines; it also enables them to better serve their customers. The majority of global consumers are women, and smart companies have senior leadership teams that reflect the diversity of the marketplace, as well as of their employees and key stakeholders.

But why aren’t more women rising up the ranks in organisations? From our global research, women cite the following barriers as obstacles to their advancement: a lack of access to informal networks, gender bias stereotyping; a lack of or limited contact with potential sponsors ; few role models; and insufficient access to job opportunities.

For instance, we found that women are missing out on the  ‘hot jobs’ in organisations i.e. those mission-critical, often international assignments which provide visibility to senior management. Formal leadership training isn’t the answer either. Catalyst research indicates that on-the-job experience leads to advancement more quickly than training—and even among those who have completed training programmes, men are still more likely than women to get access to ‘hot jobs.’

Instead they receive projects with smaller teams and smaller budgets, impacting their internal visibility and their ability to find an influential sponsor. Seventy percent of development happens in on-the-job experiences (only 10% is on formal development programmes).

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