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Why Gender Diversity Really Matters for Organizational Health

Hiring and promoting talented women for top leadership positions should not be a difficult undertaking for companies. After all, the benefits of gender diversity have been so well documented and proven. In fact, most prominent executives and researchers will agree that creating gender diversity from top to bottom inside an organization adds value to the economy and helps businesses achieve a competitive advantage.  So, why are women so unrepresented in the c-suite?

At Clarkston Consulting, we offer business consulting services to some of the most complex global companies in the life sciences and consumer products industries. Many of these clients hire us for our expertise in transformational change – which almost always includes advisory work within organizational health in addition to the expected process and systems improvements.

Over the past 25 years of delivering these advisory services, we have learned some important lessons from our clients about the importance of gender diversity and how elusive it can be for many companies.  Our work has led us to the belief that a focus on organizational health is a requirement for all companies to improve gender disparity in the leadership levels.

As you look to improve gender diversity in your executive ranks, consider whether you have made the appropriate transformational changes throughout the organization to support this initiative.

Foundational Environment

It is not enough to just focus on recruiting more women. As an organization you must create a foundational environment where anybody can thrive based on their talents, desires, and value to the company.

“Building companies that are as diverse as the people who rely on our products is not only the right thing to do, it is good business.” Jack Dorsey

Designing an organization which allows your company to prepare for growth opportunities and enabling employees to achieve their personal and professional goals is the key to limiting unconscious biases, particularly as it relates to promotions and job opportunities.  This, in turn, enables your company to take advantage of the opportunities created by a diversity workforce.

Community Engagement

Companies have an opportunity to support efforts to prepare future female leaders from an early age with the skills they will need to achieve their aspirations. This is especially critical in industries where children’s experiences early can impact their career trajectories.

“The events and conditions each of us experiences during our formative years determines who we are and how we see the world.”  Lynne Lancaster

While women still confront a challenge in climbing to the c-suite level across every industry, female leadership is still falling far behind in STEM fields, especially at technology and engineering companies.  By supporting community engagement for young leaders, the behaviors of your company become aligned with the vision, mission, and critical business objectives.

Stated Goals and Accountability

Setting goals and staying accountable to them is the only way to build a gender diverse company throughout the entire organization and especially at the top levels.

“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”  Venus Williams

With women only representing 18% of the c-suite executives in the United States, most companies must set some big goals to achieve gender parity. But, companies must embrace this challenge and set up a plan that covers a variety of actions across the organization.  Focusing on talent goals enables your company to adapt to competitive forces but also plan for the future you want to build.

People and Organization

Preparing your people and organization to realize a sustainable improvement around gender diversity means making change today to be relevant in the future. Preparing your company with the tools and mindset to adapt their behaviors for sustained excellence in diversity takes hard work but it is an achievable goal.

At Clarkston Consulting, we mean to lead by example.  That is why we will continue our commitment to recruiting the best talent and build an organization where all our workforce can thrive to achieve their personal goals. We strive to create an environment which allows our stewards to succeed.  We measure a variety of diversity metrics among our leadership and it is a goal of our leadership to continually improve.

This is also why Clarkston Consulting is proud to announce our partnership with Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.

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Tags: Diversity + Inclusion, Organizational Health