How to ensure women reach the top
Tomorrow’s Global Leaders: How to ensure women reach the top is an exciting project bringing together organisations from different sectors, academics, D&I professionals and professional women’s networks.
After so many years of public debate about - and attempts to solve - the lack of gender balance in organisations we are still at the same stage - women are still under-represented in the work place.
With this project we have the ambition to achieve systemic and lasting change by looking at the impact organisational cultures have on the issue. We recognise that the question is systemic and multi-dimensional. Satiating the leaking pipeline of talented women is an imperative for business success and their value creation. Bolting on new arrangements for flexible working is no longer the solution. Processes are expressions of organisation’s culture.
We need to look at culture first and then processes and structures underpinning the culture to fully understand the barriers which still impede women to reach the top.
We have set up workstreams designed to help inform the work on understanding how company culture continues to contribute to a failure to successfully build and maintain a pipeline of female talent for the future.
Our first workstream relates to the ‘expectation gap’ problem. At the heart of this issue is the sense that companies are not very effective in connecting the work that needs to be done with the skills, capacities and experience of the people that can do that work.
We often continue to use stale, lazy and outdated thinking on the nature of the job role and function which in turn leads to traditional, inflexible and risk averse recruitment practices. This matters a lot if we are to understand the expressions of cultural behaviours that select out women when it comes to allocating jobs and designing career pathways.
The workstream will meet and begin to work through these issues in order to make some recommendations to the project on how our companies need to shift their approach to matching jobs to people as part of shifting cultures towards creating and building a pipeline of female talent for the future.
The second workstream deals with meritocracy. Who defines ‘merit’, what is the ‘best and brightest’ are questions which contain heavy assumptions that could potentially harm the efficiency of the talent pipeline. That’s why we are looking at how a dogmatic engagement to meritocracy can either help or hinder the progress of talented women to senior leadership positions.
Simon Langley, UK Lead Manager for Inclusion & Diversity at National Grid exposes his views on the project in the video below.
If you would like to become involved in the project or have any comments please contact Anna Jones at email@example.com
With the support of Alison Maitland and Elisabeth Kelan, Tomorrow’s Company seeks to answer the following questions:
- What makes an organisational culture attractive to women and encourages them to stay and progress to the most senior ranks?
- Is there, by implication, a prevailing leadership style or ‘tone at the top’ in most large global companies that prevents women progressing?
- What needs to change in order to achieve a culture that maximises the potential of both female and male talent?
BA, BAE Systems, National Grid, Kingfisher, YSC and Linklaters have joined us in exploring these issues.