Accenture’s Research Tells Us How Women Succeed in a Culture-First Workplace
The study finds that women thrive in a workplace that prioritizes culture and has leaders who are culture makers [defined later]. It also identifies a massive gap between what leaders think they are offering their employees in terms of culture and what employees make of it.
Key Findings From the Report
Some of the key findings of the report are as follows:
1. Gen Z vs. Boomers: A significant percentage of Gen Z employees (75%) are more concerned about workplace culture than their Boomer (64%) counterparts.
2. Not enough desire for change: Over the years, as Accenture has conducted its study, it has found no significant difference in leaders’ efforts to create a culture of equality in the workplace.
3. Women are equally concerned: Employees overall are very concerned about workplace culture, and 77% of women report that a positive culture is essential to help them thrive in the workplace.
4. Not enough effort: Even though the business case for a culture of equality in the workplace is getting stronger, employee perception of leaders’ efforts to build inclusive cultures stands at 55/100 in 2020. This, according to the report, is a weak number and indicates that companies need to do much more to bridge what it calls the employee perception gap.
5. Not enough female leaders: Women are scarce in leadership positions. Only 2.8% make up CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Of the leaders surveyed, only 32% are women.
6. #EachForEqual: Much in keeping with the theme of the year on International Women’s Day, the report finds that in more equal workplace cultures, women are four times more likely to reach senior manager and director levels. In a culture of equality, all employees benefit, and women thrive in their careers as well as reach leadership positions.
The Employee Perception Gap
Leaders surveyed for this report believe they are doing their best to provide a positive culture for employees. 68% of leaders think they are providing an empowering workplace culture to their employees – in terms of work, innovation, and the freedom to speak up. However, only 36% of employees agree that this is the case. This is the employee perception gap that needs to be closed for companies to thrive in a highly competitive business landscape.
The report states that just a 50% reduction in the employee perception gap would make a massive difference to the state of the workplace as a whole, but primarily the state of inclusion.
1. 43%: The percentage of women who feel like valued members of their teams and have a say in team decisions would increase by 43%.
2. 21%: The percentage of women with a strong ambition for a leadership role in the company would increase by 21%.
3. 5%: A culture of equality would also improve the retention of women in the workplace. The percentage of women wanting to stay with the organization for over 12 months would increase by 5%.
Why Is Culture Still Not a Priority?
Accenture’s report finds that only 21% of leaders surveyed find culture to be a top priority. What is the company’s focus then?
1. 76%: Prioritize the company’s financial performance
2. 72%: Focus on building the company brand and reputation
3. 33%: Find culture too hard to measure
4. 40%: Find it hard to link the measurement of culture to business performance
Can companies rationalize not being able to measure the impact of culture in the era of advanced HR technology and culture analytics platforms? Not anymore, we think.
What they need is a well-devised HR strategy that puts culture at the top to be able to measure it and its impact on employees, the connection between employee performance and business performance, and business performance as a whole.
Accenture’s report identifies culture makers. These individuals are in tune with the workforce, understand the role culture plays in organizational performance in terms of factors such as pay transparency, and the need for flexibility in the workplace so employees can enjoy the work-life balance that has become an individual priority right now.
The culture makers identified in the report belong to a balanced group, with 45% of them being women. 68% of them are millennials.
It appears, then, that organizations need these individuals at the top to define the workplace culture and develop a culture of inclusion at work. According to the report, 9% of the 6% who are culture leaders are women. Having women at the top can often lead to more considerable change in favor of women at work, and this is the potential all CHROs must embrace as they go forward.