14 November/December 2015
the CEO may publicly state this as a priority, it doesn’t
appear that the staff sees this in the form of action.
What About Networking?
Women and men agree that sponsorship is vital to
success and advancement, with two-thirds describing
it as “very” or “extremely” important. Yet, they do not
have the same type of professional networks, which
may result in different levels of support. For instance,
men’s networks are predominantly male and women’s
networks are mixed.
So What Can Be Done About it?
This study recommends five Steps:
• Track Key Metrics so you understand the problem
- What does your employee pipeline look like and
is there potential, based on that talent pool, for
women to advance in your organization as well as
the men are that are advancing? Tracking the key
metrics outlined in the study will help you get a
• Demonstrate that gender diversity is a top priority - It appears that many CEO’s believe this is a
top priority, but if their employees don’t see this
demonstrated, then it makes it hard to believe that
it really is a top priority. This means taking a hard
look at gaps in wages and compensation along
with publicly sponsoring high-potential women.
• Identify and interrupt gender bias - Generally
speaking, men don’t think gender biases exist and
women do. Part of this is how it is perceived and
how employees are trained to identify it. Additionally, executive teams need to take a hard look
at the hiring processes as there may be training
issues that need to be addressed there as well.
The study has a great primer on Gender Bias, so,
I recommend you take a look at that for ideas on
how to counteract these stereotypes in your training
• Rethink Work - Work is not working for lots of
employees. While many companies offer programs aimed at addressing the commitments
employees have outside the workplace, their low
uptake suggests that their efficacy needs to be
evaluated. It is this author’s hope that the Millennial attitudes of workplace environment will drive
• Create a level playing field - Companies need to
make sure that women have access to the same
opportunities as men, and managers and sponsors
have a critical role to play in making that happen.
Suggestions for this are sponsorship opportunities
and networking events among other great ideas.
In conclusion, the study recommends that companies create a “virtuous cycle of female leadership.”
Company leaders should make it a priority to make
senior-level women feel encouraged and appreciated.
The study points out that senior-level women are particularly disillusioned and dissatisfied with their careers,
and this works against creating an environment that
fosters female leadership.
You can download the entire report on our website at