D&I Strategies for the Future of Work

Thursday 28th January 2021

By now, we’re acutely aware that COVID-19 has accelerated remote and flexible work. But how will these and other trends impact women in the workforce and their likelihood of making it to the top of the financial services sector in particular? That was the subject of a fascinating conversation with Mekala Krishnan (McKinsey Global Institute) and Julie Baker (NatWest) during the kickoff session of our latest Working Group: D&I Strategies for the Future of Work.

Krishnan, who leads McKinsey Global Institute’s research on gender economics, inclusive growth and economic development, shared recent survey data on how companies are adapting HR strategies in response to COVID-19 and Future of Work trends.

Many Working Group participants were particularly struck by one statistic from the McKinsey research: While an incredible 96 percent of companies surveyed reported that they’ve increased mental health and wellness offerings during COVID-19, just 1 in 6 employees say they feel more supported. This clearly indicates that developing new programs for employees is not enough; it takes new ways of working to ensure those programs reach the intended beneficiaries.

McKinsey’s recommendations to overcome this problem include:

  1. Identifying common obstacles to women’s participation (like the disproportionate care burden they face while working from home);
  2. Making learning pathways more flexible with digital, self-paced curriculums; offering subsidies for child care costs;
  3. And leveraging existing employee resource groups to offer training and mentoring to increase uptake and build a sense of community.

Julie Baker lent the practitioner’s perspective to the discussion by speaking to the lengths NatWest Group has gone to shore up female employees’ capacity to perform. The bank, like many others, is keenly aware that supporting women in this moment is critical for maintaining the pipeline of talent they’ve worked hard to develop over the past decade.

After this strong kickoff meeting, the 24 participating institutions in the Working Group will move through each of the topics covered in “How-To Guide: Becoming the Employer of Choice for Women.” This is an incredible resource compiled with casework from 15 Alliance members and filled with state-of-the-art tools developed by members and Mercer, a leading global talent management consulting firm that supports the Alliance as a knowledge partner on a pro bono basis.

Our next session, on February 17th, will focus on the key tools to diagnose the status of your gender Diversity & Inclusion performance to prioritize action areas for enhancing your strategy. Each session includes expert speakers from Alliance D&I teams as well as outside consultants with a wider industry perspective.

You can register for the Working Group at this link

[Have you seen our D&I How-To Guide? It’s an interactive guide created with Mercer and several members, with a range of tools and strategies to make your organization a stronger employer of women. Check it out.]