Our newly founded consultancy company DOIT-smart has developed a business approach that is geared to operational feasibility and positions the topic of diversity as a corporate goal. We advise and support companies in the implementation of their gender diversity strategy and improve the entire personnel lifecycle of the company with concrete measures and suitable products.

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McKinsey’s latest Women matter study is entitled „Time to Accelerate“. It shows that gender diversity brings advantages for corporate success and that mixed teams achieve better economic results.

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2018 could be a decisive year for gender equality in Switzerland. The introduction of the women’s quota as well as measures against wage discrimination will be decided in the parliament. The Federal Council plans to introduce a quota for listed companies with more than 250 employees. The future goal is that women will be represented to 30% in boards of directors and to 20% in management boards.

There is need to catch up regarding the fact that Switzerland currently is lagging severely behind in this topic. The female representation in the 100 largest companies is 17% in boards of directors ans 8% in management boards.

Soft Quotas

However, there should not be any sanctions, if these quotas are not achieved. The better solution would be to demand that companies must explain in a compensation report why the benchmark has not been met and identify measures that will lead to improvement. The vote has not been taken yet, but the bill has been approved by the National Council.

Nevertheless, the obligation to report will only be fully in force after a transitional phase of 3 years and is only going to be valid for 10 years.

We advise companies to take action now

In order to increase the female representation and to make it possible for women to advance to the top management, it not only takes suitable programs and measures, but also persistence and patience. Our DOIT-smart team advises and accompanies you in the implementation of a gender diversity strategy that suits you and your needs. Furthermore, we help you to improve the entire personnel lifecycle with concrete suggestions and products. With our level 1 analysis you would already meet the requirements of the revision of the law. At the same time, you are going to receive a fact-based analysis of your current situation, which allows you to embed measures and goals into a larger frame of your company.

Our module „Female Leadership Pipeline“ could help you with that. The pipeline of female junior staff needs to be analyzed and weak points need to be understood. Based on a quantitative analysis our experts determine the causes of a thin pipeline and submit tailor-made proposals, whose success will be measured via the Gender Diversity Dashboard. The sustainability of this module can be intensified with an additional block, for example the „Unconscious Bias“ module.

In the context of gender diversity, the issue of stereotypes is receiving more and more attention. The magazine Psychoscope (a product of the federation of the Swiss psychologists) concentrated/focused its January issue on the topic „Women and Careers“.

It investigates the question, how careers of women succeed – despite stereotypes and unfavorable conditions.

Constantin Schön and Katja Rost, from the Institute of Sociology of the University of Zurich, dedicate one article to the topic „Stereotypes as Stumbling Blocks“.

What is a stereotype?

A stereotype is a simplified description of a person or a group. It is usually very pictorial and corresponds to widespread imaginary ideas.

Stereotypes help to understand the complexity of our social world by processing its impressions very quickly. However, stereotypes are also problematic, as they simplify reality too much, especially when complex behaviors are involved (such as the behavior of managers).

Stereotypically, managers should be self-confident, decisive and competitive. These characteristics are also considered to be typically male, which is why men are often regarded as the „natural leaders“. Women that have made their way up to leadership roles find themselves in difficult positions, as they do not correspond to the typical gender stereotype.

How do organizations deal with these stereotypes in the best way?

According to the authors of the article, employees should be provided with tools to raise their awareness of distorted expectations and stereotypes. They suggest for instance, a management training on „Unconscious Bias“. It is crucial that the fight against stereotypes becomes an important matter for the top management, as the issue must be strategically anchored in the corporate structure to initiate targeted measures and advance projects.

In our „Unconscious Bias Trainings“, HR managers and executives are sensitized to distortions such as prejudices, stereotypes and other misconceptions. The practical workshop supports the participants in identifying „critical events“ and situations and helps them to define adequate countermeasures.

Our next public workshop „Unconscious Bias in the Company: How to overcome the autopilot in our brain“ will take place on the 5th of September 2019.

You can find the registration and further information here.

What we can learn from the latest Schilling report: the importance of the pipeline

According to the latest Schilling report the development of gender diversity in management boards of the largest companies in Switzerland is sobering. After a promising increase last year, the female representation is currently declining again, falling from 8% to 7%. Only 8% of the vacant management positions were filled by women in 2017 (compared to 21% in 2016). In 59% of the 118 companies that were surveyed, there is currently no women at all to be found in the managing board.

In order for this to change, more attention needs to be paid to the internal pipeline.

Of course, external candidates can also be recruited for management positions. However, in order to achieve sustainable change, the next generation must be supported internally.

And there is still a lot of trouble, when we look at that.

As a recent McKinsey study shows, women’s chances of advancing in the hierarchy are significantly lower than those of men. Therefore, is is important to address the female management pipeline in a structural manner and be aware of Unconscious Bias, especially in companies that have a performance-oriented employee assessment.

More Information to the McKinsey study here.

The corporate environment is rapidly changing and diversity is becoming increasingly important for corporate success. An aging population means that companies need to make more efforts in recruiting. Various studies show that diverse companies are more successful.

We support companies in identifying their „pain points“ and approaching these with innovative methods. A data-supported process helps us with this.

Our modules provide tailor-made offers for the most important points on the way to a successful, diverse organization. The modules can optimally be combined with each other or supplemented with further measures.

Our team is looking forward to your inquiry and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

„A father and his son drive together in a car and have a horrible car accident. The father is dead at once, while the son is taken to the hospital. There he is immediately brought to the operating theatre. The doctor takes a quick look at him and says: „I can’t operate on him, he’s my son“

(Stöger, Ziegler & David, 2004, P. 515)

This question, who the doctor was, was posed by Stöger and the others to students that were studying success concepts of academic persons. Only one third of the students came up with the correct solution, namely that the doctor is the mother of the injured child.

This experiment clarifies two points:

1. Gender stereotypes or unconscious bias influence our perception- in this case the attribution of leadership potential.

2. The Leadership habits is still strongly associated with masculine attributes.

Angelica Marte and Jasmin Wenzel dedicate their article „Leaders are made, not born – What we really think about leading women“ to the connection between gender stereotypes and the assessment of women’s potential for leadership. This is done from two different scientific perspectives- from a psychological and a social one.

Here you can read the whole article: Leaders are made, not born – What we really think about leading women