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Employees view gender-diverse companies more favorably

(September 18, 2019, bizwomen)  The benefits of gender diversity in the workplace go beyond fairness, from improving employee attitudes to boosting stock prices.

A recent analysis by Willis Towers Watson, which reviewed opinions from 1.7 million employees at 32 companies within the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, discovered companies with practices to encourage gender diversity are rated more effective by their employees than companies that don’t.

When a company actively promotes women, its employees view the company more favorably, especially senior leadership. The analysis found advantages were most notable if at least one-third of promotions go to women.

Employees also view a company more favorably when women are among the most-compensated staff; if at least one-third of women make up the top 10 percent of the highest paid executives, advantages were most evident, per Willis Towers Watson.

Another finding: When companies offer benefits that support families and employee health, like adoption assistance or women’s health education, staffers tend to have more positive views of work/life balance, and feel better able to manage their workloads.

“The results from this study echo what we have learned through our work with the GEI: Diversity is good for business,” said Kiersten Barnet, global head of the Gender-Equality Index. “Disclosure not only pushes each organization to take a data-led approach to their own practices but also inspires other employers to do the same across the broader inclusion and diversity spectrum.”

The analysis adds more weight to the assertion that women-led companies are more successful and their employees more engaged than those at companies led by men, which is notable since one survey found more than three-quarters of workers aren’t fully engaged.

Per Fast Company, companies like Bank of America, IBM and LinkedIn are among those with programs in place to ensure women are promoted to leadership positions. Fidelity has launched a mutual fund to invest in companies that prioritize women’s leadership.

Peakon survey this year found employees at female-led organizations more strongly believe in their companies and their strategies. Research also shows gender diversity translates to employee retention and satisfaction, greater productivity and innovation, and improved decision making, per Forbes contributor Caroline Castrillon.

Plus, companies with greater gender diversity are more likely to attract investors. One new study discovered share prices shot up after finance and tech companies shared positive gender diversity figures; prices dropped when numbers were disappointing, Bloomberg reports.

When researchers pursued the “why,” they found investors believe gender-diverse companies have a greater tendency to innovate, and a lower likelihood of drawing negative regulatory attention or settling lawsuits, per Bloomberg.

In this year’s ranking of America’s Best Employers for Women — which considered diversity among executives — Estée Lauder, Ulta Beauty and the University of Utah were the top three employers.

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