The interesting link between diversity and EX

While research has shown that companies with gender diversity already are typically better poised to turn a profit, a new report from Willis Towers Watson has found an additional benefit of gender diversity.

Specifically, the global advisory, broking and solutions company found that employers with practices that support greater gender diversity are rated more effective by their employees across a range of topics than those that do not. Also, employers that offer supportive family services and health-education programs for women provide better environments for finding work/life balance and managing workloads, according to the employees.

For its analysis, WTW linked diversity practices with opinions from 1.7 million employees surveyed at 32 major companies that are included in the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI). The employee attitude data are integrated with Bloomberg data on gender-related programs and practices to examine linkages between gender-diversity policies and employee opinion. The GEI tracks the financial performance of companies that are committed to advancing women in the workplace through disclosure of gender-related data.

“We are seeing more and more companies making gender diversity and equality a top priority, and rightfully so,” says Laura Sejen, managing director of human capital and benefits at Willis Towers Watson. “As our analysis shows, even small steps can make a difference. Companies that are making a push toward gender diversity are experiencing a meaningful and positive impact on employee attitudes toward leadership, career development and other aspects of the workplace.”

Among the key findings from the analysis:

  • Companies that grant a higher percentage of promotions to women generate more favorable employee views, especially opinions of senior leadership. The advantages are most apparent when at least one-third of promotions go to women.
  • Companies with more women among their most-compensated staff have more favorable employee attitudes, especially regarding opinions of career development. The advantages are most apparent when at least one-third of women are among the top 10% highest-compensated executives.
  • Offering family support and health-enriching benefits, such as adoption assistance and women’s health education, are linked with more favorable views of work/life balance and the ability to manage workloads.

“The results from this study echo what we have learned through our work with the GEI: Diversity is good for business,” says Kiersten Barnet, global head of the Gender-Equality Index. “Disclosure not only pushes each organization to take a data-led approach to their own practices, but also inspires other employers to do the same across the broader inclusion and diversity spectrum.”

Note: Employers and HR leaders looking to create and promote gender diversity within their workplaces can learn about these issues at the New Technologies to Manage Workplace Diversity session, happening  Oct. 1 at the HR Technology Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. One of dozens of informative sessions (along with an expansive expo), this workshop will explore how driving pay equity and gender diversity in the enterprise requires much more than old-school approaches. Featuring a panel of women HR analysts, experts and leaders, attendees will explore a new category of tech-based solutions that ensure legislative compliance, create cultures of transparency and trust, and help employees raise serious concerns with confidence.

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Tom Starner
Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at