NEW YORK, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Though challenges remain in the quest to ensure that global businesses give women a seat at the proverbial table, panelists and participants in Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited's (DTTL) fourth annual International Women's Day (IWD) webcast agree that significant progress has been made toward embedding diversity and inclusion into the culture of their organizations, and that "bold moves" can help to continue this momentum.
An audience poll of webcast participants indicated that more than two-thirds (67%) believe that diversity and inclusion have been wholly embedded within their own organizations or that "a large amount of progress" has been made toward embedding diversity and inclusion, suggesting that significant strides have been made toward gender parity in the workforce.
"From DTTL's perspective, in order for diversity and inclusion to have a significant and tangible impact on business, they need to be embedded into the fabric of an organization. The confidence that our webcast panelists and participants have in the progress made against this goal in their own organizations is encouraging, especially for the next generation of female business leaders," said Margot Thom, Managing Director, Global Talent, DTTL.
To help businesses progress in embedding and evolving their diversity and inclusion strategies, the webcast panelists* suggested a number of "bold moves" that have been successful with moving the needle at their organizations. These bold moves include:
- Establishing the business case for diversity and inclusion so that they become components in the organization's overall strategy
- Linking diversity and inclusion benchmarks to performance compensation
- Pairing high-performing, high-potential female employees with sponsors who can act as career stakeholders
- Facilitating an understanding of "unconscious bias" and training organizations to counteract it
- Securing government mandates to help women in the workplace resolve critical challenges that they often encounter (e.g., parental leave, child care)
More than half (53%) of the webcast participants indicated that "directly linking diversity with company goals and competitive strategies" was the most significant move that organizations and governments can take to strongly weave diversity and inclusion into the fabric of their businesses.
Many of the panelists in the webcast emphasized the importance of correlating diversity and inclusion initiatives with a company's bottom line. Panelist Aase Aamdal Lundgaard, managing partner of the Deloitte Norway member firm, reiterated that "the most important step organizations can do is to establish the business case for diversity and inclusion and map it to their bottom line. It has been demonstrated that when diversity and inclusion become strategic priorities on the executive agenda, organizations can truly begin to gain momentum."
About DTTL's commitment to diversity and inclusion
DTTL was a founding signatory to UN Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP), launched by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Global Compact. DTTL is also a member of the IM WEP Leadership Group, which was created to help further promote the principles.
DTTL and its member firms also contribute to the ongoing diversity and inclusion dialogue via thought leadership. This year, the DTTL Center for Corporate Governance issued its annual report, Women in the Boardroom: A global perspective. Additionally, the DTTL Global Diversity team collaborated with Forbes Insights on its report Diversity & Inclusion: Unlocking Global Potential, which features a Deloitte member firm case study.
For more information about the Deloitte global network's IWD and diversity and inclusion activities, and to access a recording of the webcast, visit www.deloitte.com/iwd.
*Webcast panelists included Dr. Rohini Anand, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo, USA; Aase Aamdal Lundgaard, State Authorized Public Accountant, Managing Partner, Deloitte Norway; Bruce Stewart, Deputy Director Training, Compliance, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), USA; Sanjay Rishi, EVP and Asia Business Head, Emerging Payment and New Ventures, American Express, India. The panel was moderated by Linda Tarr-Whelan, Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow, Managing Director, Tarr-Whelan & Associates, Inc., Author, Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping up to Leadership and Changing the World.
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SOURCE Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited