Why companies need more women at the top

Women at the helm can bring invaluable benefits to organisations. Andrew Chan, founder, ACI HR Solutions, a specialist recruitment firm, shares insights as we uncover why there needs to be more gender equality at the top.

1. Better commercial performance
According to The McKinsey Quarterly’s A business case for women, published September 2008, companies with equal gender composition show better economic results.

Further, organisations with three or more women on their senior-management teams scored higher on all nine organisational criteria – including leadership, accountability, motivation and innovation – than did companies with no senior-level women.

Those with the highest criteria scores are also likely to have higher operating margins than their lower-ranked counterparts.

The study that sampled of 58,240 people in 101 companies worldwide, also purported that women benefited the workforce by alleviating talent shortages.

2. Achieve a stronger connection with the millennial workforce
The millennial workforce “generally likes to be managed like a coach would his ball player; someone to motivate and mentor them”, identifies Chan.

Taking into account the general nurturing nature of women, companies could achieve a stronger connection with these new aspiring leaders.

Chan also points out that mentorship as a management style – regardless of the gender of the leader providing it – is beneficial across all age groups, as it allows companies to tackle the high turnovers and talent shortage, especially in industries like the travel, hospitality and business events.

“A lot of companies don’t factor in the cost of losing a staff, re-hiring and re-training,” he explained, adding that a staff who stays on longer with a company, learns more and is a more valuable asset for the industry.

In Chan’s opinion, travel and hospitality companies – including those in business events – will get better at achieving gender diversity at the top “as more women rise to leadership position” and inspire younger females in the company.

 3. A more family-friendly work environment
“In the events industry, long hours and frequent travels come with the job, and anyone in it who hopes to break away from these traditions will find it hard, regardless of their gender. But as HR craft out a more balanced workforce, it will be pushed to look at better conditions for working mothers which in turn benefits working dads,” says Chan.

His projection is not for a distant future. Wharf Hotels (see case study) has made efforts to improve staff welfare and overall benefit structure, such as vacation entitlements, schooling allowances, flexible-work schedules, in order to encourage more talented women and those wanting to return to the industry – changes that are great for everyone.

Wharf Hotels’ success story
“The new leadership culture (with a gender-diverse executive team) as a whole has driven new policies, processes and initiatives that support a leaner, more productive and savvy work environment – moves which have benefited and been welcomed by all.”

Juliette Lim, vice president human resources for Wharf Hotels, whose president Jennifer Cronin was recognised as Mentor of The Year 2017 by ACI HR Solutions, commented that “businesses that embrace diversity… open up new opportunities, introduce new perspectives and generate creativity, energy and possibilities.”

Wharf Hotels is an example of a company with a gender diverse executive level. It has two female and two male vice presidents.

The company’s 2017 Associate Engagement Survey published in late-November showed a record-breaking increase in general satisfaction and loyalty score, and overall engagement score.

Lim explained: “We do not measure the positive response to a work culture based on the gender of the leaders but rather how effective our leaders are. As a woman however, I believe that female leaders approach management with a higher degree of compassion, and therefore create a more inclusive and humanistic environment where fellow female associates appreciate and trust that their needs are addressed.”

Lim added that it is especially critical that the hospitality industry attains gender diversity at the top, as that “brings diverse perspectives, strengths, priorities, chemistry and behavioural impact to the service cycle”.

 

This feature is part of TTGmice December 2017/January 2018’s cover story, Graceful powers.

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