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why gender balance is better for business

It’s been clear for a long time how gender-balanced organisations and teams are not only better for individuals, but better for business too.

Research described here shows that gender balanced teams are not only more generous and egalitarian, but that teams with a larger percentage of women perform better. In fact, inclusive teams make better, faster business decisions up to 87 per cent of the time, according to research by Cloverpop.

Benefits of gender balanced teams

As well as decision making, gender balanced teams can prove beneficial across the business spectrum, including:

  1. Offering different perspectives: Having both men and women in senior leadership teams means a coming together of different life experiences and points of view. The convergence of these perspectives can help spark creativity and drive innovation.

  2. Boosting group collaboration: Research has shown that women have stronger non-verbal skills, and that the presence of more women on teams means that the entire group benefits from better collaboration and improved processes.

  3. Better reflecting customers: When the world is 50/50, then your teams should be too. The more your organisation represents the customers you serve, the more effectively you will be able to communicate with them. As reported here, women make 80% of buying decisions and yet only represent 1 in 25 CEOs in Britain.

  4. Improving recruitment, retention and reputation: According to research by PWC, 85% of millennials say that a strong record on diversity is important to them. Having a gender balanced team (especially at senior level) is a fantastic recruitment tool that demonstrates an organisations values and commitment to gender equality.

  5. Increased profitability: Time and again, evidence supports the theory that gender divers

ity has a positive impact on the bottom line. According to McKinsey, the most gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. This report by MSCI shows that having women on the board of a company boosts productivity.

Balance for Better Business

For the last three years, I have been working with Balance for Better Business which is an independent business-led Review Group established by the government to improve gender balance in senior leadership in Ireland.

The role of the group is to monitor the gender balance of senior teams and ensure that women play a role at board level. The group then monitors and publishes progress towards a set of progressive targets.

Balance for Better Business has demonstrated that gender parity at the executive leadership level in Irish businesses is improving, however still only 1 in 4 leaders in the companies listed on Euronext Dublin are women. There are still too many all-male environments, with organisations that represent a very small number of employees (270 as of 1/9/2022), one in three leadership teams still have no women.

3 tips to improving gender balance

Balance for Better Business sets out the following recommendations for boards and leadership teams to improve their gender balance:

  1. Set stretch targets and build an active plan to achieve them

  2. Build a gender balanced succession plan and pipeline for board and leadership roles focusing on CEO, CFO and Chair

  3. Mandate gender balanced candidate lists for open roles and promotion to board and leadership

What’s clear is that simply taking steps to enhance the gender balance of your leadership team can have tangible benefits for your business.

Many organisations might recognise the need for diversity, but not be using the right tools to promote it. Workplace culture needs to change and business leaders must be seen to be using these policies if greater uptake is to happen.

If you’d like to find out more about the work of Dermody, or you need support in building a comprehensive, impactful and sustainable D&I strategy, get in touch with Dermody today.

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