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Case Study

Retaining Women as Partners

The Challenge

A professional services firm was concerned about high turnover among women resulting in under-representation of women at the executive level and potential claims of discrimination. Senior Partners believed that they were taking sufficient steps to overcome equity concerns and did not believe there was bias or discrimination in the firm.

What We Did

We began by sitting down with senior management to understand their perspectives and confirm the general hypotheses. We did a complete human resource data review including departures and promotions and projections based on current trajectory. In addition, extensive interviews with both current and former female employees were conducted.

What We Discovered

Based on current trajectory, instead of being on track to have parity within the levels of the organization, the data and interviews indicated that it would take 40 years to achieve equity of women partners. The growth in women partners were much smaller increments than originally expected. The documented and generally accepted reasons for women departing centered around family concerns. In fact, we learned that most of the more senior women who left joined other firms. They did not believe they were well positioned to become part of the executive team. What was most striking was that high performing women were not given the opportunity to work on the higher profile clients.

Based on current trajectory, instead of being on track to have parity within the levels of the organization, the data and interviews indicated that it would take 40 years to achieve equity of women partners.

 

Implementation & Execution

Plans were developed to reevaluate how individuals were assigned to projects.

Mentoring and coaching

Mentoring and coaching was established for both male and female employees.

succession Planning

Succession planning was strengthened and integrated to this project as it
had been a separate initiative before this engagement was completed.

defined indicators

Leading indicators were established to ensure we optimized tracking.

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