Our When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive report is not just the world's most comprehensive research on the state of women in the workplace, it's a call to action meant to drive organizations to make moves.
In an effort to amplify the conversation, we’ve asked companies to share their successes in engaging and empowering women through our When Women Thrive 2020 Challenge. Do they have Diversity and Inclusion programs that target women? How long have these programs existed? What do they hope to accomplish, and what have they accomplished?
We wanted to enhance our robust When Women Thrive data with quality insights about initiatives companies are taking and how they work, share examples of best practices with Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion leaders, and highlight those organizations who are spearheading positive change.
Here is what we have learned so far.
Most programs are just getting started
Fewer than a quarter of companies who responded to our call to share their program details had women-focused initiatives that have been around a year or more. Another quarter are still developing their programs, while the majority were sharing recent successes, with programs around for under a year.
Progress comes quickly and is measurable
"We have seen a 6% growth in women at the top and an 11% growth in women Directors and above. Our gender pay gap [is] at 4%; has had an annual 1-2% improvement," one of the survey respondents reports.
Those organizations whose programs that have been operational for three or more years are showing tangible results and significant impact. In one organization, "The number of women in senior roles has grown 2% in just one year.”
Engaged leadership and a culture of inclusivity are critical
Organizations are using these programs to address gender diversity from a wider variety of angles, from workforce planning, to addressing the unique health needs of women. Here are the issues companies are addressing most urgently:
Tied for #1:
- Engaging executives
- Fostering an inclusive culture
Having the company leaders' support and true participation in diversity efforts is key, and is tied to building up a culture of inclusivity. Still, our When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive research indicates only 57% of organizations say senior executives at their organizations are engaged in diversity programs and initiatives.
Other key areas of focus include:
- #3: Mentoring and sponsorship
- #4: Retention
- #5: Recruiting
- #5 (tied): The role of men
Most importantly, these early results of the 2020 Challenge reveal undeniable enthusiasm by those who are starting and running programs at their organizations, and a clear understanding of the benefits of engaging women.
We will continue posting more insights and highlighting individual companies as part of the When Women Thrive 2020 Challenge! Be a part of it: Share your story!