A new study by IBM, “Women, Leadership, and the Priority Paradox,” polled 2,300 executives and professionals and revealed that the leadership gender gap in the global workplace continues to persist because organizations have yet to make advancing women a formal business priority. The study also provides guidance on how to drive change.
The global study, conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) in cooperation with Oxford Economics, surveyed an equal number of women and men from organizations worldwide across multiple industries to better understand why a large gender disparity in the leadership ranks persists and what can be done to drive progress toward gender equality. In addition to the qualitative survey, IBV conducted a series of one on one interviews with executives and professionals across six global regions.
The study revealed that within those organizations surveyed, only 18 percent of senior leadership positions are held by women. This is due to three key factors:
- Organizations are not sold on the business value. 79 percent of respondents indicated that they have not formally prioritized fostering gender equality in leadership within their organizations, even though ample evidence correlates gender equity with improved financial success and competitive advantage.
- Men underestimate the magnitude of gender bias in their workplaces. 65 percent of male executives reported it is just as likely they would have been promoted to a top leadership role even if they had been women, despite the low numbers of women that currently hold those roles.
- Few organizations display a sense of urgency or ownership about this issue. Organizations are over-relying on “good intentions” and applying a laissez-faire approach to diversity, rather than applying the disciplined focus on operational execution they apply to other aspects of organizational performance.
“The past year has heightened the world’s focus on diversity, and the business benefits of inclusive teams are now well-documented,” said Michelle Peluso, Senior Vice President of Digital Sales and Chief Marketing Officer. “The opportunity now is to move from inclusion being interesting to being imperative – just like we treat other top business priorities.”
Despite these hurdles, there was a set of organizations — dubbed “First Movers” in the report — that stood out as being dedicated to achieving gender equality within their leadership ranks. Comprising 12 percent of the total sample, these organizations share characteristics and values that foster a more inclusive environment and provide a roadmap of how to create progress for other organizations:
- They are serious about gender inclusion – All (100 percent) have made advancing women into leadership roles a formal business priority. By comparison, only nine percent of other organizations have the same focus.
- They are motivated by the promise of financial improvement – All (100 percent) are sold on the idea that gender-inclusive organizations are more successful financially, whereas only 38 percent of other organizations agree.
- They acknowledge and embrace their responsibility to take action – All (100 percent) agree that businesses need to continue making changes to achieve gender equality in the workplace. While the majority of other organizations in our survey also agree, 29 percent more First Movers are passionate about taking action than other organizations.
“What we have learned from First Movers is the importance of setting measurable goals and defining a systematic approach to inclusion across the organization. This means everything from recruiting to rewarding, developing, retaining and promoting women. And, then, we must ourselves accountable to meet these goals,” said Peluso.
The study also provides guidance on key steps to creating a culture that fosters gender equality in the workplace. Organizations looking to drive change need to implement concrete initiatives that directly impact performance goals and incentives at every level of the organization. The study lays out a roadmap for change that includes the following imperatives:
· Make gender equality in leadership a business priority. Just as you would for any other formal business priority, legitimize your commitment by including the advancement of women in your organization’s formal business plan with key performance indicators (KPIs), budget, and assigned resources. Select one or more senior executives to lead the charge.
· Create a culture of inclusion. Include gender equality in your organization’s strategic mission statement, as the vast majority of First Movers do. Create programs that support more flexible work arrangements and formal sponsorship initiatives.
· Make leadership accountable for gender equality results. It is the senior executives who truly have the power to make elevating women to leadership positions a key strategic business priority. Further, this is where the board of directors can play a role as part of their fiduciary responsibilities to grow the business.
Access the full study findings here.
TikTok looks for SA talent
The fast-rising short-video platform has launched a #PickMe campaign to discover local stars.
TikTok, which claims to be the world’s leading destination for short-form videos, launches its first PickMe campaign, an effort to discover creative talents and provide a stage to express themselves in South Africa. Starting March 1, TikTok kicked off a month-long search through participants’ 15-second videos under hashtag #PickMe.
TikTok says it is committed to investing in South Africa and discovering the local talents. The PickMe campaign is supported by its local partners like Huawei, MTV Base and Digify Africa.
Local stars, including comedian and singer Lasizwe and singer Nadia Jaftha, have joined the campaign and called for users to show their talents on TikTok.
There are 5 categories of video shooting in the campaign, namely dance, acting, comedy, singing and cosmetics. Participants need to shoot a 15-second video using TikTok using #PickMe and tag @tiktok_africa to participate in the challenge. The finalists will be selected based on their video performance. The most popular and talented participants will have the chance to win prizes like Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphones, a day at MTV Base, and a once-off-presenter opportunity and attendance at an intensive video production workshop delivered by Digify Africa.
“TikTok has definitely evolved into something that everyone loves and uses. It’s given creators a space to create more unique content and also help the creator gain a whole new kind of fan base, ” says Preven Reddy, Imbewu The Seed TV-star and Megazone radio host who is also a TikTok user.
Says TikTok video creator Mihlali Nxanga: “As a young South African working towards being in the entertainment industry, TikTok has given me the platform to grow my following tremendously. Within 6 months, my fan base has grown by a whopping 90 000, and not only from South Africa, but the whole world. For me, TikTok is not just a content platform, it is a global community.”
The campaign will wrap up on March 31. The list of the finalist will be announced in the app and on official Instagram @tiktok_southafrica. For more information, please visit the TikTok app.
Rugby fan experience transformed by digital platform
The South African Rugby Federation has embraced digitalisation as a key enabler of its strategic aspirations. It has worked with Accenture to transform fan engagement for Springbok supporters with the launch of a digital fan platform.
“Digital technology and social media have transformed how modern fans watch, support and engage with their favourite teams,” says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux. “To maintain our relevance amid this new market dynamic, and grow our fan base, we’ve acknowledged the vital need to digitally transform our organisation.”
Wayne Hull, managing director for Accenture Digital in Africa, says: “SA Rugby’s ambition to pivot to a more fan-centric strategy requires digital design, content, platforms and insights because modern consumers, including loyal Springbok supporters, engage predominantly via mobile digital channels and expect hyper-personalised experiences.”
Accenture Digital’s development process started with quantitative and qualitative research, which informed the user experience (UX) design guidelines and content strategy for the digital fan engagement platform.
“To know what fans want, we needed to understand the fans themselves,” says Hull. “The Accenture Digital team mined the research data and identified multiple fan ‘personas’, which all have different content consumption, platform functionality and engagement preferences.”
The platform development team focused on three critical elements to meet these requirements – the customer experience (CX), the engagement engine and cloud-based deployment.
“To deliver a memorable and engaging CX, Accenture Digital leveraged leading digital experience software,” says Hull. “The result is a fully integrated and responsive platform that creates seamless, personalised digital fan experiences across SA Rugby’s content, commerce and digital marketing initiatives in a manner that makes fans feel recognised and connected to the players and the game.”
The new platform will serve as the first point of call for any rugby fan who wants to get their data fix with exclusive statistics, analytics and insights. The platform’s content style will include more visual elements – videos and images – with more concise articles that are easier to digest, in accordance with evolving content consumption preferences on mobile screens. This will complement long-form thought leadership and insight pieces.
In addition, fans will enjoy exclusive access to player-related content, such as behind-the-scenes footage and game and training performance stats. SA Rugby will also benefit from the ability to track comments and mentions via the Sitecore analytics platform Accenture Digital implemented, to respond and engage in the conversations Springbok fans are having on social media about the game, the teams or the players.
To do this, SA Rugby required a consolidated view of the customer. However, data resided in disparate sites across ticketing providers and SA Rugby’s e-commerce and online magazine databases. This information will be consolidated into the CRM system, with multiple integration points available to leverage this data.
The CRM system’s functionality will help to reveal insights such as fan communication preferences and their likes and dislikes, which will place hyper-relevance at the core of SA Rugby’s fan experience and engagement strategy.
The final element in the platform development was cloud deployment, which allows fans to access the platform from any device that has an internet connection. The platform is hosted within the Microsoft Azure environment, which is stable, secure and fully redundant. It gives SA Rugby the flexibility to manage the platform themselves, with the option to integrate or scale additional functionality down the line.
Based on the outcome, Hull believes that Accenture Digital has successfully reimagined, built and delivered a world-class, modern and mobile-friendly digital fan platform that creates a fun, immersive and engaging experience for fans.
“It’s a major step towards helping SA Rugby realise its ambition to become a fan-centric, forward-looking and nimble organisation, and we look forward to building and developing the platform further with the team as their digital fan engagement requirements evolve,” says Hull