With the initial impact of #MeToo in the rearview mirror, forward-thinking businesses are asking themselves what to do next. How do we overcome inherent biases, tired stereotypes, and systematic barriers? How do we increase productivity, profitability, and employee engagement? How do we make a long-term impact on workplace culture?
Recently released research outlined in the Women in the Workplace 2018 Report, authored by McKinsey Consulting and LeanIn.org, confirms what we have long suspected, and underscores the widely accepted research that diverse boards lead more profitable organizations that generate better ideas, with happier employees. The 2018 Report offers scientific confirmation of what most professional women have long known; that is, women are underrepresented in leadership positions for a long list of reasons– including sexual harassment, exposure to everyday discrimination (known as micro-aggressions), and are expected to perform on behalf of their entire class.
The 2018 Report also offers specific suggestions for fighting the good fight on #MeToo, diversity, and inclusion. For example,
- Solidify the Basics: Set goals, establish processes, and make managers accountable for developing and advancing diverse employees.
- Ensure Fairness in Hiring and Promotions: Insist that women and diverse candidates have a seat for top positions.
- Champion Diversity from the Top: Demand that senior leadership walk the talk.
- Foster a Civil and Inclusive Culture: Update policies, discourage micro-aggressions that demean women and minorities.
- Allow Flexibility: Think creatively for policies in work, communication, and family care.
The 2018 Report won’t surprise most business leaders; it supports experience with science. I encourage you to read it, think about the issues, and figure out how to apply them in your organizations.