As the financial penalty for companies with poor gender diversity increases, new analysis by Willis Towers Watson says that better gender diversity at a senior level impacts the employee experience, too.
Although performance is a big company focus, a great performance is unachievable without staff who enjoy their job. And gender diversity has become more of a priority for employees in recent years, especially for those currently in the job market, according to employees from 39 companies included in the 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) who shared their opinions on diversity best practice.
The participants reported feeling better supported by their management and having more confidence in their leaders when women held executive and managerial roles. When at least one-fifth of a management team is female, 73% of employees are happy with their career growth, as opposed to 61% when there are fewer women.
Company perception improves when women are treated well, too. Companies with more women in their most highly compensated staff have employees who feel that they are a part of an innovative organisation. The same companies often provide wellbeing programmes for women, proving why their employees have a better perception of their workplace.
Gender diversity is not the only concern for employees. Employee focus on diversity and inclusion has risen by 74% in recent years, and Willis Towers Watson’s research shows the impact that has. When there are chief diversity officers and similar roles within a company, employees view their company as more effective in providing an inclusive work environment.
“Companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to inclusion are continuing to see a payoff that benefits the entire organisation,” said Gaby Joyner, head of talent consulting, Great Britain, Willis Towers Watson.
“In the current disruptive environment, greater gender diversity in leadership roles can help companies foster a much-needed employee experience of trust, support and the ability to have a voice — all of which are critical during these challenging times.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it increased investor interest in social factors — the ‘S’ in environmental, social and governance investing — like gender equality,” said Patricia Torres, head of Sustainable Finance Solutions at Bloomberg.
“And it’s no surprise as research has shown that a diverse workforce drives innovation and performance, leading to stronger financial returns for investors. The data behind the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index further underscores this trend, showcasing how nurturing corporate environments can impact a firm’s bottom line.”