More Female Leaders, Increased Corporate Performance

By : Hariyanto And Aldo Bella Putra | Friday, March 09 2018 - 17:00 IWST

Ilustrasi wanita dalam bekerja
Ilustrasi wanita dalam bekerja

INDUSTRY.co.id - Jakarta - International Women's Day which falls annually on March 8th, is the right momentum to revive the issue of gender diversity in the business world. Grant Thornton International participates in this issue by issuing the annual report "Women in Business 2018" to coincide on a day devoted to the appreciation of women's social, economic, cultural and political achievements.

Reports of survey results to business people around the world this year recorded a positive result, where businesses with at least one woman in senior management positions rose significantly from 66% in the last year to 75% this year.

But on the other hand, the percentage of women holding senior leadership positions decreased slightly from 25% to 24% this year. This leaves a question mark for the possibility of appointing a female leader just a mere formality in order not to have the entire leadership held by men.

Franscesca Lagerberg, global leader for network capabilities and sponsors of women in leadership, Grant Thornton International Ltd. said there is a strong correlation between gender diversity in leadership and the success of a company.

"Although women currently have a senior role in business is increasing but their distribution is still very small, it still signifies a concentrated business concentration so the benefits of gender diversity are not yet optimal," said Franscesca Lagerberg.

The uncertainty of current global economic conditions and the emergence of technological innovations that disrupt the market push business leaders to act quickly to remain competitive, where gender equality in leadership can be a major capital of faster business escalation.

Policy is not enough

Grant Thornton also reports with extensive data coverage on the role of business and government policies in bringing about change. The most applied policies and implementation of gender equality are:

1. Provide equal pay for men and women at the same level (81% of respondents)

2. Non-discrimination policy on recruitment (65% of respondents)

3. Paid Parental Leave (59% of respondents)

The survey results also show that the company's reason for implementing gender equality is to:

1. It is easier to recruit and retain human resources (65% of respondents)

2. In accordance with corporate values (65% of respondents)

3. Encouraging company performance (55% of respondents)

However, policy alone is not enough, it is difficult to find correlations between the type and number of business policies with gender diversity in senior leadership.

Grant Thornton for the past 14 years has been conducting business investigations in various parts of the world to know the thinking of business leaders and underline practical steps to create change. In this year's report Grant Thornton summarized 10 recommendations for business leaders to improve gender diversity within their organizations:

1. Commitment from Top Leaders

 improvement can be realized, Peak Leaders need to be a motor change by showing commitment.

2. Make Diversity and Inclusiveness a company's value

It is necessary to include the diversity and inclusiveness of everyday business operations, because the values ​​embedded within the company play a major role in shaping the behavior of their employees. A company that has a foundation built of diversity is believed to be able to move faster.

3. Setting Goals

Clear goals are needed so that progress that has been made in terms of diversity and inclusiveness can be measured.

4. Integrate improvements with compensation

Progress from measured diversity and inclusiveness should be included in the compensation package that the leadership team will receive to encourage change.


5. Avoid Mere Formality

Often companies place one woman in senior management positions only for the sake of formality, but it is actually important that the various perspectives (in this case of women) are represented.

6. Reduce Recruitment and promotion of positions based on "Mini Me"

People tend to recruit, like and promote people who are similar to themselves. This needs to be realized and reduced.

7. Introduce Sponsorship

Compared to mentoring, sponsorships have a far more significant impact on gender diversity.

8. Investigate the Benefits

The evidence of commercial benefits brought by gender diversity will help convince those skeptical of the need for change. In addition, gender diversity can be a key consideration when clients choose with whom they work.

9. Befriended with Discomfort

Creating an inclusive business environment that supports gender diversity in leadership will not be easy, so leaders need to engage in it for the long term.

Indeed the first step required is the willingness itself to talk about gender diversity. Many business leaders feel uncomfortable starting conversations about it. This can be overcome by taking the time to listen and interact with their employees.

10. Sharing experiences

Experience in developing the gender diversity of a company can motivate other companies to develop the same.

"Gender diversity is not just about women's representation in leadership, but how their voices can be heard and has the same strength as men," says Johanna Gani, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Indonesia.

Johanna said companies that are able to realize an inclusive work environment will create stability on all sides of operations so as to open the potential width of the company's performance for the better.

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