A few years ago, Deloitte & Touche took a good hard look at its efforts to retain and advance talented women professionals. They were recruiting nearly as many women as men, but they experienced a much higher turnover rate for women. They realized that many of the women left due to a lack of advancement opportunities in the male-dominated environment.
The firm decided to hold an intensive workshop for over 5,000 of its U.S. managers to discuss the subtle gender-based assumptions many of the women experienced. They also formed an external advisory board to help keep the firm on track to retain women in the firm.
Today, this turnover has now nearly vanished, and the number of women partners and directors at Deloitte is the highest among the Big Five, according to a report by the Harvard Business Review. The cultural changes were not easy for the firm, but they've enabled Deloitte & Touche to grow faster than any of its competitors in this area of employee retention.
The lessons learned during this culture were:
- Ensuring that senior management is front and center; make an airtight business case for cultural change.
- Let the world watch you.
- Begin with dialogue as the platform for change.
- Use a flexible system of accountability.
- Promote work-life balance for men and women