Gender + Diversity Playbook

8 min read | Diane Coffey Chaput


With the launch of our groundbreaking research on Cultural Dynamics, now is a great time to take a look back at our Gender + Diversity Playbook series. Understanding the barriers to building an inclusive culture, and the steps you need to take along the way, are all outlined in our 7-part series, summarized below. 

Part 1:

2020’s Miss is Now a “New” 2030 Promise – But Will Orgs Break This Promise Too?


This season of Covid has certainly shed a new light on the inequities in the workforce and communities. From the new pressures on working women with children at home full-time, to the data that’s emerging on how Covid is impacting the underserved, to horrific demonstrations of racism. Many have said that Covid has become the tinder for the flames that are needed to burn down the vast array of inequities that exist.   

From a gender perspective we have seen lots of “new” goals and promises make headlines, with more and more organizations willing to state their commitment to a 50/50 gender balanced workforce by 2030. Yes, in response to the coronavirus, but also in response to data like this from McKinsey’s latest “Diversity Wins” which states: “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 25 percent more likely to experience above-peer average profitability.”  ...

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Part 2:

From One CEO to Another—It’s Time to Get Focused


Time for a reality check about “Closing the Leadership Gender Gap”—something every CEO should strive for in their organization, but few actually get right (or get it done!). And while you’ve probably been talking about becoming a more inclusive and diverse company for a while now, have you ever really asked yourself why you’re no closer to closing that gap than you were ten years ago? 

No doubt you’ve signed the pledges, had the conversations, read articles like this one from the WSJ, and had the best of intentions, but let’s be honest—what have you really done? 

The reality is that we’re halfway through the nightmare that is 2020 (thank you, COVID-19), and it’s time for CEOs to get focused. It’s time to make diversity a business imperative, not something you pass off to HR and then hope for the best. Building a diverse and inclusive company isn’t like turning on a light switch. You MUST do the gender dynamics work. The success of your company depends on it. That’s the reality. ...

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Part 3:

How to Engage & Retain More Women - Top 5 Things You Can Do!


... Next up, we’ll break down those Top 5 actions—addressing each action individually—to help organizations get the results they want, to achieve gender balance in the organization.


How to Engage & Retain More Women

Executive commitment to, and sponsorship of, women’s advancement—advocating for the business case: Simply put, leaders need to demonstrate their commitment by mentoring/sponsoring women in order to ENGAGE & RETAIN them. Make sure your leadership puts them into the mix for promotions and make sure they’re part of their own succession plans.


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Part 4:

How To Change Your Company’s Culture To Be More Inclusive


... This week we'll tackle #3 on our top five list of things you need to do to get results and close the leadership gender gap: 

Educate your leadership to reduce the negative impact of Gender Dynamics on talent decisions.

First, it’s important to understand what Gender Dynamics are. For decades, Leading Women has tracked research on over 15 mindsets about women and men, careers and leadership, and we’ve examined the concrete ways they impact talent decisions and talent development behaviors. We call the impact of manager’s mindsets on decisions and behaviors: Gender Dynamics. ...

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Part 5:

Make Your Company Policies Inclusive by Looking at these 3 HR Tools

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Remove gender-biased language from HR tools

You’ve heard it before -- changing a company’s culture starts at the top with the CEO. But they can’t do it alone. They must also hold the CHRO responsible for eliminating gender-biased language from HR tools and policies (job descriptions, performance reviews, manuals, etc.). After all, it’s the CHRO’s responsibility to make the company’s policies and procedures inclusive. And while this may sound like stating the obvious, it’s important for CHROs to recognize there could be potential hidden biases lurking in the very policies they think are inclusive. As such, they need to be held accountable to identify and eliminate them.


..Read ON!


Part 6:

These 5 Tips Will Help You Recruit More Women/Diverse Candidates


... Part 6 focuses on how to recruit more women to help achieve your diversity goals. Read ON!  

Create A Company Policy

If you don’t have one, The CEO should immediately institute a company policy which requires Human Resources and any outside recruiting firms MUST offer up a slate of diverse candidates to interview for ALL OPEN POSITIONS. Having a policy in place that requires a diverse slate of qualified candidates helps mitigate similarity bias, and helps companies improve gender and race/ethnic representation among the ranks. This popular article from Harvard Business Review states, “if you only have one woman candidate in your pool of applicants, there’s statistically no chance she’ll be hired.” Enough said.

Recruiting more women and diverse candidates means tweaking your traditional recruitment process. 
These 5 Tips Will Help You Recruit More Women/Diverse Candidates

..Read ON!


Part 7:

10 Strategies for 2021 to Help Engage & Retain Women


... This final installment of the playbook, Part 7, covers the ten things your organization can do in 2021 to hit the ground running and ENGAGE & RETAIN women. The list below provides a road map of recommendations to help set your company up to achieve diversity & inclusion goals for the coming year, and to keep you on track for years to come.

Implement These 10 Strategies in 2021 to Engage & Retain Women: ...

..Read ON!


To better understand the dynamics at play in YOUR organization, and why some organizations achieve DEI success and others struggle, request the Executive Summary of our latest research on Cultural Dynamics in the Workplace™: 5 Key Factors in Driving Successful DEI Initiatives to Achieve Business Outcomes
Download the Cultural Dynamics Executive Summary
Leading NOW: Cultural Dynamics in the Workplace
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