In a new research study, Women Wanted: How a Renewed Focus on Culture Can Break the Diversity Stalemate, PA Consulting Group analyzed the performance and workplace equality of 50 leading organizations to determine what the relationship is between high-performance cultures, the number of women executive teams, and the gender diversity challenge. The research team focused on identifying if high-performance cultures and gender diversity are mutually exclusive.
The results corroborate many of the findings of corporate gender diversity studies conducted in the past. The three primary findings from the PA Consulting Group study show that:
- A high-performance culture is more likely to exist in a company when there is gender diversity at the most senior level.
- Organizations with the strongest cultural and financial performance also have the highest proportion of women on their executive boards.
- High-performance cultures could be the key to creating conditions for women to be more willing and able to rise to the top in companies.
The research found that there is a very clear relationship between organizations with strong financial performance, a higher percentage of women in executive leadership teams, and a high-performance culture.
The report authors write:
“The organizations with the strongest performance (measured by both cultural and financial indicators) also have the highest proportion of women on their executive leadership teams. In fact, the organization that came out on top in both performance and culture had the greatest proportion of women (50%) on their executive leadership team. This organization was found to perform best at communicating their core values, strategic direction, and organization goals over and above the other culture criteria. Noticeably, there were only two organizations without any women on their executive leadership teams. Interestingly, these two firms sat in the bottom five positions of both the culture and performance measures.”
The report authors are quick to point out that it’s not too late for companies to change their cultures and offer the following four recommendations to increase diversity in executive leadership teams:
- Start with the organization’s culture by embracing diversity from a culture perspective first rather than focusing on programmatic interventions.
- Focus on building talent from within, by challenging roles. This means providing a clear path for both male and female top talent to reach executive leadership roles with the next challenging role visible and achievable. Skills to reach the top roles should be clearly communicated and transparent.
- Challenge the language of merit, which should not be an excuse for not having gender diversity at the top of an organization.
- Look to the future by understanding what the next generation of female leaders want from their employers to engage the best female talent.
You can follow the link above to read the complete report, which includes details about the findings, statistics, and more.