Gender diversity in companies: what actions to take to engage leaders?
Rémi Zunino
Rémi Zunino

Gender diversity in companies: what actions to take to engage leaders?

Gender diversity is one of the key issues for companies in 2023. What are the effective actions to put in place at the leadership level to allow companies to really score points and to accompany their talents, female or male, at the same level of equity? The point in X key actions with Valérie Rocoplan, Managing Director of Talentis & Executive Coach.

1 - Get the support of the leaders

Valérie Rocoplan: "The first thing is that we know that we need strong conviction on the part of the leaders, particularly the executive committee, the management committee. You need a team of managers who are convinced of the subject. When it's just a matter of one or two people, really get the managers on board and make gender diversity a business issue. As long as it's a social or cultural issue, it doesn't work.

2 - Ensure that leaders know their "facts & figures" on the subject of gender diversity in companies

Valérie Rocoplan: "What do managers need to understand in order to be effectively involved in the issue of gender diversity? First of all, they need to know the facts and figures in their company, but also in comparable companies in France, Europe and the world. They must understand the data. Once they understand the data, they see that there is a problem. It's not normal to have 40% of women managers, then 20% in management positions, then not even 10%, 5% or 3%. Thanks to our 15 years of experience, we know how to explain to managers: "There is problem A, problem B, problem C, problem D." And we circumscribe the problems, we help them see them.

3 - Implement an action plan at the management level.

Valérie Rocoplan: "For each of these problems, what can you do as a leader? What can you do as an HR team? What can you do as a manager? At Talentis, we recommend actions, tools and best practice benchmarks of what works in companies, which can help leaders have an action kit. Basically, a dashboard to evaluate the people recruited, promoted, in mobility, trained, departures, arrivals. Build a dashboard that is distributed and shared every month, in Comex, in CoDir."

4 - Disseminate these good practices to all employees

Valérie Rocoplan: "Then, what language should we use to communicate with our employees? How do we train HR? On what subjects should they be trained to help support the male and female talent pools? How can we develop succession plans that systematically include female and male talent, regardless of the business line?

It is a sort of battery of actions that are relevant and proven to be effective. Because the problem today, in 2023, is that many leaders and managers still recognize that there is a problem, but they don't know how to explain it and, not knowing why, they don't see what the levers are at their level. Often, they put the issue in the hands of HR or the schools, saying: "It's the fault of the engineering schools, we don't have enough women" or in the hands of the State, the governments, they just have to make laws, etc., but everything is outside. However, we know from experience that it is the day-to-day decisions of leaders and managers that make the difference.

5 - Rely on quota laws.

Valérie Rocoplan: "There are laws that have worked very well. The Copé-Zimmermann law, 2011, which said at the time: "We need 40% women on boards of directors by 2019 or 2020." It's the case, it's good, we have 45% of women on boards. Bravo to the quota law because we don't like quotas, but we like what quotas do. New law in December 2022, the Rixain law, voted on December 24, 2021, which marks a huge turning point also in France, which is going to set a precedent in other European countries that are inspired by it. The objective for companies with more than a certain number of employees, I think it's 2,500, is to have 30% of women on the Executive Committee and the Management Board by 2027 and 40% by 2030.

These laws will force all companies to get leaders, managers and employees on board now to stimulate the recruitment of female talent, to advance them at every stage of the organization and to organize a system so that there is an equal chance when you are a man and a woman to reach 30-40% at the end.

Of course, some industries, such as the construction industry, are bothered because today they have more like 10-20% women, so they're going to have to speed up hiring to get to 30-40. But the idea is that the percentage of startups increases and they progress equally at all levels."

Gender diversity in companies has not yet been achieved at all levels, but the good news is that solutions exist. Best practice benchmarks are being studied and are working. Now, the objective is to educate leaders and managers and stop doing actions only for your talented women. Otherwise, we will not move forward at the desired speed.

Do not hesitate to call upon Talentis. We have all the tools to educate your leaders, your managers and your employees on the daily actions to implement to succeed in the challenge of gender diversity before 2027.

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