A disturbing trend started to emerge in 2022: more and more women leaders are leaving their companies, and the gap between the rate at which women and men were leaving is the largest it’s ever been. These results, derived from over 333 companies surveyed in McKinsey’s 2022 Women at Work study, reveal that even the best-intentioned organizational diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts simply aren’t cutting it.
With over 42% of women experiencing burnout at work, companies can’t afford to ignore the consequences of these findings. In this two-part story, discover why women are stepping away from their companies. You’ll gain insights from notable thought leaders on building impactful, energizing and supportive programs and strategies that welcome women and help them stay with an organization.
Anti-Bias Strategies that Create Impactful Inclusion
McKinsey’s data highlights how demeaning and “othering” microaggressions, such as having judgment questioned or being mistaken for someone more junior, come together to form a less psychologically safe culture for women at work. With Black, Latina and Asian women reporting the highest impacts, sentiments steeped in bias remain too common in the workplace, despite many organizations’ best efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in meaningful ways.
Amy Gallo – author of “The HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict” (2017) and the 2022 bestseller “Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People),” and a 2022 LinkedIn Voice for Gender Equity – is providing new pathways for understanding motivations behind racial and gender bias, then giving leaders and managers practical recommendations for how to act in response without experiencing negative career impacts. Thoughtful, candid and relatable, as she displays on her much-loved “Women at Work” podcast, Gallo’s anti-bias strategies empower individuals and teams to consider their immediate emotional responses to bias and to activate their growth mindsets, increasing their motivation to confront discrimination they experience or observe. While bias in the workplace can be corrosive, Gallo’s techniques for recognizing exclusion, addressing defensiveness and shifting perspectives help people re-engage with their coworkers and their work in meaningful ways, spurring innovation and collaboration across teams.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion” must be more than a workplace buzzword to become an empowering action plan for employees at every level, as NYU Professor and Dolly Chugh describes in her bestselling book “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias” (2018) and in her top-rated TED Talk. Her gateways of understanding that simplify DEI show leaders and individuals how to take advantage of the many opportunities for inclusion that exist every day. She gives honest and actionable strategies to overcome shame, guilt, disbelief and resistance in order to achieve openness and truth in her latest book, “A More Just Future: Psychological Tools for Reckoning with Our Past and Driving Social Change” (October 2022). By adopting Chugh’s new definition of diversity and inclusion as “the actions we take to achieve the goal of equity,” organizations will see their meetings naturally become more inclusive, communication more streamlined, and their teams more aligned.
Opening Paths on the Company Ladder
Women leaders are just as ambitious as men, but at many companies, the barriers to advancement are almost impossible to overcome. The McKinsey data makes this clear: for every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted.
“Despite women’s progress, most organizations and societies still hold onto masculine archetypes of leadership,” says award-winning INSEAD associate professor Jennifer Petriglieri, author of “Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love and Work.” “This has a strong effect on talented women’s career prospects, leading to self-doubt that can undermine workplace performance, leadership ambitions and professional engagement.”
Petriglieri’s proprietary Systemic Web of Challenges framework, which gives both aspiring and established female leaders the insights and tools they need to carve out their goals and successfully advance their careers, provides organizations the tools they need to fix “broken rungs” on the promotional ladder. From senior executives to “high potentials” being groomed for the C-suite, her key interventions improve the effectiveness of leaders by paying close attention to the dynamics around individual life stories, group memberships, leadership styles and how people make decisions.
McKinsey’s study makes one undeniable conclusion clear: companies that ignore the importance of impactful DEI programs do so at their peril. By making DEI a priority, organizations can foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment for all employees, which can lead to increased innovation, productivity and sweeping success. Overall, building impactful DEI programs is crucial for any organization that wants to thrive in today’s diverse and rapidly changing world.
When a company has built a culture of belonging with impactful, energizing and supportive strategies, it attracts and retains top-level talent across gender boundaries. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.