By guest writer Margaret Jennings, M Squared Consulting
Despite being aware that balance in all things in life (including business) is a good thing, I was quite surprised to read some of the figures quoted by Whitney Johnson in her recent HBR post about the impact women in leadership positions can have on a business.
She cited findings by the University of Michigan and Cornell University that showed that “…IPOs of companies with greater gender diversity outperformed (others) by as much as 30%.” She also quotes the research of David Gaddis Ross of Columbia University that “organizations most inclusive of women in top management achieve 35% higher ROE and 34% better total return to shareholders versus their peers.”
It is not difficult to reason that there are significant benefits for a business with a female presence in senior management in any business. However, the 2009 Catalyst Census of FORTUNE 500 Women Board Directors revealed that less than one fifth of companies have three or more women on their boards, and more than 40 percent have no women directors whatsoever.
How can organizations increase the presence of women in leadership roles and across the workforce? An article in HR Management offers insight from some leading companies:
- “What General Mills does is look at everything from soup to nuts. It looks at the hiring of women to make sure that they’re bringing in women that they know are going to stay and succeed. And, interestingly, the turnover rate is very low at General Mills. They think long-term. They hire someone to stay and not just to fill a gap.”
- Healthcare company WellPoint consistently ranks in NAFE’s list of the top 50 companies for executive women. CEO Angela Braly is also the only woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 50 company. Their company ethos is “…you don’t have to check who you are at the front door. Bring your whole self to work. You’re not just an executive, but you’re an executive and a mom or a dad, if you have kids, and it’s important that you be able to spend time on both.” They also have many work-at-home programs.
- IBM has been supporting women in the work place for over 120 years. “Work/life integration is extremely important and luckily IBM is a leader in this field. For example, we offer flexible work options and job sharing, and in 2000 IBM created a $50 million global work/life fund to support our employee’s child and elderly care needs around the world.”
Clearly, gender diversity in corporate leadership is good for business, and there is no shortage of examples to demonstrate that fact.
To help your organization leverage the top-tier of the flexible workforce, visit www.msquared.com