A 2017 report revealed that gender diversity in leadership teams can have a number of significant benefits for businesses, including increased innovation and the ability to attract and retain top talent. McKinsey’s Diversity Matters Report also demonstrated that gender diversity can have a substantial impact on profitability, with companies in the top quartile for gender diversity 21 percent more likely to have financial returns above their industry median. So why is it that a gender gap still exists across the global workforce, and how can this improve?
Progress is being made as organisations work hard to address the balance, but the further you move up the corporate ladder, the worse it gets. Among the world’s 500 largest companies, only 10.9 percent of senior executives are women.
In recent years, advances in technology have had a dramatic impact on closing the gender gap. Technology has allowed company initiatives that work towards increased gender diversity in the workplace to take place on a global scale. Unified communications platforms enable women to connect and communicate worldwide and policies are beginning to change to suit their needs. As Product Manager at Arkadin and leader of the organisation’s Women@Arkadin initiative I have seen first hand how unified communication tools can support women in the workplace and ultimately make businesses work smarter.
With the use of technology, businesses can create global networks for employees. At Arkadin, we use video conferencing features to connect women across the company, and the world, in order to meet, discuss and share ideas on the issues that affect them in the workplace, as well as learn about the specific challenges of different locations. The discussion will often revolve around managing a career alongside your family life, how to negotiate a salary increase and unconscious bias in the workplace. We are able to hear testimonials from peers about how they have approached these topics and found a solution.
Unified communications allow global businesses to replicate a ‘workshop’ environment, and allow women to collaborate in real time, in one place, without the need to travel. Enabling women to connect in this way allows for innovation to thrive. Global networks encourage effective and enlightening debate that lead to new ideas and new initiatives and eventually the creation of new business policies and company models, ensuring your organisation stays ahead of the curve.
Technology helps to open the communication channels across and within different teams. For Arkadin, unified communication tools have enabled a wide range of communication channels that are flexible and able to provide for the different requirements of each team.
- We host a global network that welcomes engagement from anyone across the company. This allows us to exchange videos, books, articles and statistics on gender diversity to form a starting point for our focus groups.
- We have a team per world group, enabling women of the same culture to discuss the most relevant concerns. This feeds back to our leadership team and ensures we’re representing truly global concerns.
- Our leadership is made up of 10 women from all corners of the earth, who organise the world groups, discuss overarching themes and share feedback.
The use of technology enables instant communication for teams in any location. Initiatives are shaped globally with input from all as ideas progress quicker than ever and spread across the whole business. It also allows training to be held on a global scale, ensuring an immediate drip down effect within the teams resulting in new policies making a real difference across the organisation quickly.
With the use of technology and the initiatives that promote gender diversity in the workplace being adopted quickly, the whole business will soon start to reap the benefits. Education around women’s issues in the workplace is the first step to evolving company policies to reflect the needs of the entire workforce e.g. enabling flexible working hours to fit around childcare needs. It can also shed light on unconscious bias within the hiring process, increasing the chances of your organisation getting the best talent into the right jobs.
A study by BCG explains that there is also a significant correlation between the diversity of management teams and overall innovation revenue. Compared to individual decision makers, all-male teams make better decisions 58% of the time, while diverse teams do so 73% of the time. In other words, an increasingly dynamic business environment with a focus on diversity means that businesses are able to make better decisions and quickly adapt to industry changes.
Unified communication tools are facilitating the journey of smart women to work in a smarter workspace. It enables modern businesses to answer the needs of today’s workforce by creating a diverse environment. At Arkadin, we have seen first hand that gender diversity enhanced by the use of technology enables organisations to make smarter business decisions, stimulate innovation and ultimately, drive profitability.