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We are a global management consultancy that delivers exceptional outcomes and sustainable change



How to make #Each­ForE­qual more than a hashtag


Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day has become a fix­ture in our cal­en­dar at Renoir as it cel­e­brates one of our core val­ues – equal oppor­tu­ni­ty for all. Like our clients, who are oper­at­ing in an increas­ing­ly glob­alised mar­ket, busi­ness­es must seek to reflect that diver­si­ty (be it gen­der, race, age, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, etc) in its oper­a­tions, if it aspires to con­tin­u­al­ly inno­vate and grow.

The ben­e­fits for it are also clear  – diver­si­ty in all forms is vital for com­pa­nies to thrive as diver­si­ty of thought is nec­es­sary to get a broad range of views and opin­ions which allows a com­pa­ny to con­sid­er the widest pos­si­ble alter­na­tives and ideas. With­out that diver­si­ty of peo­ple around the table, diver­gent views and oppor­tu­ni­ties to stay ahead of the curve are like­ly to be left out.

But beyond the organisation’s abil­i­ty to “think” bet­ter, one has to also con­sid­er broad­er shifts in the bat­tle for tal­ent and investors.

Work­force atti­tudes and behav­iors are shift­ing with the emerg­ing pres­ence of mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z advanc­ing through organ­i­sa­tions. Our obser­va­tions point to the fact that the most tal­ent­ed of these indi­vid­u­als go to places with diver­si­ty. Even when view­ing it from an investor’s per­spec­tive, an inclu­sive approach to hir­ing is also a sig­nal that the firm is apply­ing best prac­tices and that it is well-run.

To share their thoughts on the top­ic of gen­der diver­si­ty and espe­cial­ly on the suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of gen­der diver­si­ty in organ­i­sa­tions, we talked to our col­leagues at Renoir Con­sult­ing — Mar­tyn Web­ber, CEO, South East Asia and Yen Nguyen, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Philip­pines. (Editor’s note: The chal­lenges and prin­ci­ples that we’ll be cov­er­ing below, could apply to any diver­si­ty initiative)


The World Eco­nom­ic Forum’s Glob­al Gen­der Gap Report 2020 bench­marks 153 coun­tries on their progress towards gen­der par­i­ty in four dimen­sions: Eco­nom­ic Par­tic­i­pa­tion and Oppor­tu­ni­ty, Edu­ca­tion­al Attain­ment, Health and Sur­vival and Polit­i­cal Empow­er­ment. In its lat­est instal­ment, it made the sober­ing con­clu­sion that gen­der par­i­ty will not be attained for 99.5 years.

Whilst the report cites pos­i­tive progress in the world of lead­er­ship, women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the wider labour mar­ket has stalled and finan­cial dis­par­i­ties are increasing.


The hard truth is that diver­si­ty is not easy to imple­ment. It goes beyond espous­ing one’s belief in cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and HR poli­cies; it requires top-down, sys­temic changes to the com­pa­ny cul­ture and its dai­ly way of work. As the effort and time required is often under-estimated, and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the ini­tia­tive over-looked, it’s typ­i­cal­ly approached as a “side project.” By focus­ing only on the soft­er aspects of the change, large com­pa­nies espe­cial­ly fail to make mean­ing­ful change to more ingrained aspects of the com­pa­ny, such as its man­age­ment style, its struc­ture and how per­for­mance is mea­sured (and rewarded).

Because of that, Renoir’s expe­ri­ence has led it to approach gen­der diver­si­ty as a strate­gic out­come like any oth­er in busi­ness – it must be planned for, active­ly man­aged and communicated. 


1. Does your organ­i­sa­tion (and its peo­ple) tru­ly believe in the val­ue of diversity?

That con­vic­tion has to go beyond “I believe it’s the right thing to do.” One has to be per­son­al­ly con­vinced that diver­si­ty will con­tribute to the organisation’s performance.

A pro­fes­sor at Har­vard Busi­ness Review con­duct­ed research at 1,069 lead­ing firms across 35 coun­tries and 24 indus­tries and con­clud­ed that “beliefs about gen­der diver­si­ty cre­ate a self-fulfilling cycle. Coun­tries and indus­tries that view gen­der diver­si­ty as impor­tant cap­ture ben­e­fits from it. Those that don’t, don’t.”

The data sug­gests that for the val­ue of diver­si­ty to be realised, the organisation’s lead­er­ship and employ­ees have to them­selves be con­vinced of its con­tri­bu­tion (not just hear some rules about it). They can’t just see gen­der inclu­sion as an obligation.

2. Is top man­age­ment vis­i­bly involved?

Hav­ing done the above, this next part is a lot eas­i­er. Top man­age­ment has to be an active “spon­sor” of diver­si­ty ini­tia­tives. Senior lead­er­ship must be involved and vis­i­ble through­out. And to walk the talk, diver­si­ty needs to be first imple­ment­ed at the very top.

3. Have you includ­ed a diver­si­ty of peo­ple in design­ing for a more inclu­sive environment?

The most impor­tant facet of this plan­ning is to include a diver­si­ty of employ­ees (phys­i­cal­ly, cul­tur­al­ly, ide­o­log­i­cal­ly, func­tion­al­ly and across the organ­i­sa­tion­al hier­ar­chy) in set­ting the path. The focus here is less about edu­ca­tion but more about putting inclu­sion into action.

The diver­si­ty of per­spec­tives is key when con­sid­er­ing how the new way of work needs to accom­mo­date dif­fer­ing needs, ambi­tions and mis­sion part­ners. Get­ting this right helps to deliv­er on this one key ingre­di­ent in mak­ing diver­si­ty tru­ly work – psy­cho­log­i­cal safe­ty. Peo­ple only con­tribute unique ideas to the group when they feel com­fort­able enough to speak up and present a con­trar­i­an view.

By co-developing the path­ways for peo­ple to fol­low in fos­ter­ing a more gender-inclusive organ­i­sa­tion, it helps them to realise for them­selves where the oppor­tu­ni­ties may arise and where the chal­lenges might be.

4. Does your lead­er­ship devel­op­ment and suc­ces­sion plan fac­tor in for diversity?

One of the bright­est sig­nals to tal­ents, of the organisation’s con­vic­tion about the val­ue of diver­si­ty, lies in its lead­er­ship devel­op­ment and suc­ces­sion plans.

This is where organ­i­sa­tions need to take a long, hard look at its organ­i­sa­tion­al struc­ture and fore­cast its future needs, and strate­gi­cal­ly plan how a more diverse man­age­ment team can fuel its growth. This cas­cades to how indi­vid­ual per­for­mance is mea­sured and reward­ed, and iden­ti­fy­ing great per­form­ers and help­ing them to devel­op the skills and tools for advance­ment. The sup­port­ing ecosys­tem for devel­op­ing your future lead­ers would like­ly go beyond just train­ing and devel­op­ment, to include a holis­tic approach to pro­vide greater flex­i­bil­i­ty to fit work into their lives. This can include leave poli­cies, flex­i­ble work­ing arrange­ments and oth­er cus­tomised employ­ee benefits.

5. How is diver­si­ty inte­grat­ed with the busi­ness’ objec­tives and performance?

Mea­sur­ing out­comes is key. For any diver­si­ty ini­tia­tives to be sus­tain­able, it needs to be assigned with mea­sur­able objec­tives that are inte­grat­ed with the rest of the company’s strate­gic objec­tives and oper­a­tions. A robust per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion pro­gramme – even for diver­si­ty ini­tia­tives –  func­tions as an account­abil­i­ty mech­a­nism, and pro­gres­sive­ly estab­lish­es and val­i­dates the busi­ness case for diver­si­ty, inter­nal­ly and to key stakeholders.

Hav­ing cov­ered five key con­sid­er­a­tions above, if there were to be one key take­away from this arti­cle, it’s the fact that imple­ment­ing diver­si­ty with­in the organ­i­sa­tion won’t come from a one-size-fits-all approach – there is no sin­gu­lar path to inclu­siv­i­ty. Any suc­cess­ful cul­ture change requires first get­ting down into what makes the organ­i­sa­tion “zig”, before being able to iden­ti­fy how to make the organ­i­sa­tion “zag.” And that’s where change man­age­ment comes in.

Speak to us on how we can apply our exper­tise in change man­age­ment, from more than 25 years of results-based expe­ri­ence, to pre­pare your organ­i­sa­tion for its next phase of growth.

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