I recently hosted a panel of female leaders within and outside of FTI Consulting to discuss their career journeys, top challenges in their work and how organisations can become more attractive employers for women. Part One of this two-part blog series shared career advice from our panellists and their collective view that resilience and courage are two of the essential qualities organisations and their people need to embody today. In this post, I’ll share additional takeaways from the virtual event International Women's Day 2021 - Three Months On - Keeping the Conversation Alive, and our speakers’ views on driving change for better diversity, inclusion and belonging.
When it comes to affecting real change on this front, FTI Technology’s Global CEO Sophie Ross believes the devil—or rather a development—is in the details.
“Nothing happens overnight, but as long as we’re moving forward, we’ll get there. If we want outcomes from our big, aspirational goals, we can’t overlook the details. Paying attention to the seemingly small stuff, such as the language we use, who is included in pitch meetings and the diversity of people represented in marketing materials, keeps everyone accountable to the alignment between words and action,” Sophie said.
In addition to the details, Sophie and the other speakers, Karen Briggs, the firm’s EMEA head of Technology and Forensic & Litigation Consulting segments, Amali de Alwis MBE, CEO of Founders Forum and Sue McLean, Partner at Baker McKenzie, shared several ideas for actionable diversity, inclusion and belonging. This group all agreed in the importance of supporting other women or "lifting as you climb.”
Sue McClean said, “It’s important to be curious and to not be afraid to ask questions. Especially when working in tech. Having the courage to be curious, research and ask questions is how to make sure you are always learning.”
Additional suggestions they offered include:
- Evaluate and overhaul recruitment practices to ensure inherent biases are broken down.
- Establish sponsorship, mentoring and reciprocal mentorship programs.
- Create a safe space and set a tone and culture from the top that invites people to be vulnerable and bring their whole self to work if that’s what they want to do.
- Engage and invest in underrepresented and marginalised communities in the same way you would engage and invest in clients—so that when you have a new job opening, people in those communities already know about your company and what you stand for.
- Recognise which policies are not working for women and other underrepresented groups within your organisation and spend time finding out why so you can reduce regrettable turnover.
- Demand better diversity from your partners, vendors and clients.
- Be an ally and embrace male allies.
- Constantly question boundaries and examine whether or not women in the organisation are being given ample opportunities to participate in exciting and challenging work.
Sue added, “Clients are much more challenging than ever before about the diversity of our teams. They want to understand the resource mix being used on their account and they want it to be representative. Clients really understand the value of diverse perspectives, and the industry is now starting to collaborate more with clients on mentorship and sponsorship to move the dial.”
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.