Three of four women think gender diversity programmes don't work

According to BCG

Gender diversity at companies leads to markedly better performance, yet most executives don’t have a clear plan for achieving it. Instead, they use a trial-and-error approach, launching one program after another and seeing what sticks. To avoid wasting time, money, and energy, company leaders need to understand which initiatives lead to real, sustainable results. Those are among the key findings of a new report by The Boston Consulting Group. The report, titled Getting the Most from Your Diversity Dollars, is being released today.

The report analyzes survey data from 17,500 male and female employees at organizations around the world, along with interviews of 200 senior leaders. The results show a consistent mismatch between the effort level of companies and the actual progress those efforts generate. For example, 91% of women said they were aware of gender-diversity initiatives at their company, yet only 27% said that they had benefited from those initiatives.

Men and Women See the Problem Differently

A central challenge is that senior men and women start with different perspectives on what matters. Men tend to think the biggest challenges lie in recruitment, while women point to retention and advancement as the biggest issues. “Given that the leadership teams at most companies are predominantly male, those differences can lead to a misallocation of resources,” says Matt Krentz, a senior partner at BCG and coauthor of the report. “Instead, it’s important for leaders to understand which investments can have the greatest impact.” 

Baseline Measures Versus Hidden Gems

To resolve these differences, company leaders must treat gender diversity the same as any other strategic objective, focusing on a small number of measures that are likely to yield the biggest payoff. The report looks at 39 initiatives and ranks them by their effectiveness, to determine which ones deliver the biggest payoff—and which are likely to fall short.

 

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