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Here’s how to tell if your company really cares about promoting women

Source | LinkedIn | Caroline Fairchild | Managing News Editor, LinkedIn

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When Michelle Peluso finds herself with a group of male executives, she sometimes likes to play a little game. 

The CMO of IBM, Peluso will ask how many of them believe more inclusive teams produce better business results. Roughly 80% will raise their hands. Then she asks a follow-up: How many of you have inclusive teams as a formal business priority? That’s when most of the hands go down. 

“If you are someone who thinks more inclusive teams produce better business results, then great, let’s see it. Make it a priority,” she told me when we sat down on Monday. “If you want to make progress, then formalize it.” 

Despite increased chatter around the importance of building diverse teams, very few companies track the initiative as a business priority. In a recent IBM survey of 2,300 executives of organizations across 10 industries and 9 regions around the world, just 12% had advancing women as formal business priority that is tracked and measured. The disconnect between companies talking about the issue and taking action against it shows in the numbers. Only 18% of top leadership positions are held by women worldwide. 

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