She told me an interesting story: “We’ve got a target of 35 percent females employed at TGL, which, when you think about it, is really not that ambitious. But we’ve been stuck at 30 percent for the last two years. I’ve tried everything, Siobhan, but I don’t know how to move the dial on these diversity stats. Any ideas?”
“What have you done so far?” I inquired.
Myra took a quick breath. “We’ve developed a compelling business case for why diversity matters, we’ve invested in putting more than two hundred leaders through an intensive two-day diversity and inclusion training program, and we’ve implemented a best practice mentoring program to help women take charge of their careers. But nothing has changed. Here, look.”
Myra pulled her iPad out of her handbag and popped open reports full of detailed company statistics and quantitative data.
As I scanned the numbers, I noted that women filled 70 percent of TGL’s support staff roles, while men performed 70 percent of the more senior leadership roles (from the CEO to front-line managers).
I looked up at Myra. “You can talk about diversity until the cows come home, but if you don’t add more women to your leadership roles, even if you hit your 35 percent target, those added women will be working in support and administration. I’ve got one suggestion. You need to uncover the underlying issues and the patterns that drive behavior in your company.”