The Business Case for Equality
We are leaving money on the table. A typical U.S. organization has 20% or less women on their C-suite. Most commonly leading Human Resources, Marketing, or Corporate Communications, women are still outnumbered on most leadership teams.
Why does this matter?
As outlined in the latest McKinsey Diversity Matters report, they found a 21% higher profitability rate associated with organizations that have gender balance on their leadership team vs. those that do not have balance. Quantify that at your organization – look at your last earnings report and tack on an extra 21% – how much is that at your organization? Money your competitors are taking, or worse yet, lost opportunities altogether.
It begins with beliefs
The best business case I have heard to date came from one of my clients in Southern Indiana – Cummins. A male-dominated industry, headquartered in rural America, Cummins could easily make excuses for a lack of diversity. Instead, they boast 35% women on their C-Suite. They have an intentional focus on gender equality and belief that it is what is best for business.
They believe gender equality is a driver for future growth.
Their leadership team consistently shares that as a global business, their growth depends on the growth of developing countries. Developing countries with women leaders in their communities grow at a much faster rate than those where women are underrepresented. Therefore, to fuel continued growth, they need women reflected throughout their organization to mirror customers. Genius.
Questions are a great start
For leaders at organizations struggling to attract, retain, and promote women in leadership, get your leadership team together and answer these questions together:
- What would our organization look like if our gender equality goals were met?
- What are we missing out on by not maximizing the talents of both genders?
- What do we see that tells us we have room to improve our gender equality?
- What are examples of times we have gotten gender equality right?
- What is one thing I can do to make a positive impact on gender equality at our organization?
Gender equality is a tough conversation, but it does not have to be.
That is why we have the Five Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Document. This is not easy. This is the tough stuff leaders have to do. Engage with your team. Have a dialogue. I promise you will not regret it.