According to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 80 percent of leaders say they are committed to a D&I agenda overall. Near- ly one quarter of global companies surveyed
by Mercer also say advancing their diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda will make a significant difference to
their business results over the next few years.
That means leaders who are looking to implement
a successful D&I agenda understand it’s about people and business strategy.
Unfortunately, this commitment and passion for
change is not enough—especially when it comes to
closing the gender gap. For all our collective efforts,
good intentions and attention to detail, we have made
some progress, yet we still have a long way to go to
advance women’s representation in the global workforce. So how do we increase momentum?
Many CEOs have made pledges to diversity and
shown a desire for change. Tone from the top is critical, but it takes more than CEO commitment. In our
research and experience with clients, we see that CEO
commitments work, but only when formal programs
and processes are specifically designed and coordinated around those commitments to keep the organization accountable.
As with any other business goal, holding leaders
accountable is key to driving progress. During my
time as regional president for Mercer EuroPac, serving the European and Pacific regions, I worked closely with our talent and inclusion team to add diversity
How to Close the Gender Gap?
Design Programs and Process to Drive Accountability
BY MARTINE FERLAND, PRESIDENT & CEO, MERCER
to every manager’s goals.
For example, we introduced a goal to include ear-ly-career female employees in sales pitches. It had a
dual payoff—it gave women better exposure to client
opportunities and gave Mercer higher win rates. When
there was at least one woman on a sales team, the overall win rate increased by 28 percent.
To ensure commitment and accountability such as
this, organizations should consider asking: do our leaders and managers share the CEO’s vision for D&I? And
are they ready to drive change? This requires purposeful development of inclusive behavior in leadership and
in succession pipelines. It also means being willing to
make tough decisions when leaders don’t act according
to the company’s core values.
When companies use data and analytics, they are
better positioned to assess which programs and processes are the leading causes of too homogeneous a
workforce and solve for it. Data-driven insights as to
why women (and other underrepresented populations)
are failing to progress within organizations were cited
as highly valuable to half of the C-suite and HR leaders (combined) we surveyed in our 2019 Global Talent
““AS WITH ANY OTHER BUSINESS GOAL, HOLDING LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE IS KEY TO DRIVING PROGRESS.
Mercer continues to grow the When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive research and consulting practice it began
in 2014 to help organizations build diverse workforces
and inclusive cultures. Martine Ferland, Mercer’s President and CEO, reflects on what it takes from organizations to close the global gender gap and realize their
Diversity and Inclusion agendas.