When Women Thrive: Accelerating for Impact

Accelerating for Impact: 2018 Gender Imperative | Mercer

Accelerating for Impact: 2018 Gender Inflection Point


Now four years into our When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive research – we are at an inflection point. With the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report showing a deterioration in women’s economic standing over the past several years, and the recent attention given the issue of gender parity – we have a choice – to either seize this opportunity or watch the potential for progress for women slip away.

In Accelerating for Impact: 2018 Gender Inflection Point, we set out to further understand the drivers of female advancement and identify concrete steps organizations can take to change or improve their trajectories. The result is a holistic look at the future of women in the workforce - from the headwinds impeding progress, to the system accelerators that provide great hope for sustained improvement.

Making the changes necessary to advance gender equity in the organization takes commitment - and it takes time. When we began this work in our own organization and in others, we knew we were on a journey that would take years to show meaningful results. Although we are thrilled by the outcomes achieved by some, there is still a long way to go in order to truly help women thrive. So we must be visible, vocal and active in our impatience and we must persevere. 

Hear more about the focus and intention of this year’s research

The current landscape and dynamics of gender diversity provide a unique opportunity and platform for organizations to make strides now. It will require:

  • Data and analytics that underlie and support all of the decision being made to advance women
  • Courageous leadership at all levels of the organization committed to helping women thrive
  • Holistic coordination and linkage across all aspects of the change effort to make sure they reinforce one another and accelerate progress

Assessing the linking mechanism in your organization across efforts that exist is key to driving and sustaining change. In this year’s research, in addition to the "how to" on advanced analytics, change management, programs and practices, we highlight the importance of creating an organizational structure that captures and connects otherwise disparate efforts. If the following are not linked or aligned to one another, you are missing the opportunity to effectively drive change: 

  • Advanced workforce analytics & strategy
  • Pay equity analyses and adjustment
  • Employee engagement
  • Benefit program design
  • Promotion practices
  • Recruitment and hiring
  • Succession planning
  • High-potential and leadership programs
  • Training and development
  • Business Resource Groups

Mercer When Women Thrive at the World Economic Forum

Our fourth annual briefing at the World Economic Forum included over 150 individuals - CEOs, board members, academics, and influencers - from global organizations, representing more than 60 countries. Featuring a powerful keynote from Mercer President and CEO, Julio Portalatin and two panels, discussions focused on how to advance women through cultivating an environment of trust, prioritizing access to care, collaborating with men to drive change, and leveraging data, analytics and technology to address systemic barriers to progress. 

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