The Challenge

Driven by the Iberia business unit, “The Diversity Journey” is an example of how an ambitious approach can ensure that a company makes the most of its talent in tandem with creating culture and engaging with its employees.¡

On course for female participation

This journey began at the company’s headquarters. Entitled “Vision 2020”, the CEO said that the firm’s aspiration should be to achieve 50% female participation in management positions by the year 2020. The course was set but each business unit was free to decide how to accomplish it through its own process and adapted to its local reality.

The unit in Spain appeared to be even more ambitious and did not aim to simply start up a gender diversity project, but it established working on talent diversity as its innovative goal. The course was set: a programme for reinforcing women’s positions turned into one where the company takes advantage of diversity as a competitive edge over its competition.

The name adopted by this ground-breaking, unusual project was also thought-provoking: “The Diversity Journey”. The sails were hoisted and we were on our way!

Navigation chart review

The journey began like any other: provisions and a chart review to set the course. In this case, market benchmarking was carried out in order to examine different leading international firms’ best diversity practices and the organisation levers they use.

The analysis also looked inside the company in order to accurately diagnose the constraints of the organisational culture that were impeding talent development. In this examination, some of the truisms that are regularly in place in Spanish companies were detected: a very male management style where workplace attendance prevails and where there is no flexibility allowing reconciliation of professional and personal life.

In principle, an obvious ceiling not only for women but also for the other types of talent the company aims to pay attention to, such as the new generations joining the job market who have a very different philosophy. In fact, Spanish companies that in the past have not been used to managing the visible diversity of race and creed always evidence similar barriers: gender and generation conflicts.

Our approach and success

“The Diversity Journey” was a self-created, dynamic process, filled with pure creativity and innovation, in which a team, which was also diverse, worked side by side to build a totally unique model:

  • The company has created an inclusive environment where all the employees control their own careers and where flexibility is the new watchword.
  • Development itineraries are in place for talented professionals who offer support for employees, such as mentoring and sponsorship.
  • Decisions and the process design were produced by a diverse talent committee which, in turn, was diverse in itself and which involved the participation of members of the management committee, the diversity officer, Talengo and a renowned expert as an independent adviser: its aim was to ensure that the decisions made were not endogamous with the corporate culture and took external viewpoints and trends into account. This committee was the one that established roles, functions and the strategy’s strong points.
  • The project featured a specific communication plan that included awareness meetings with all the employees and work meetings on issues relating to diversity (its power as a business lever, how to manage diverse talent, obstacles and barriers in men’s and women’s careers, meetings with leaders, etc.).
  • There is also a firm commitment to new inclusive leadership behaviours: workshops have been held to teach people how to ensure that unconscious biases do not affect decision-making.

Receive the latest leadership perspectives from our global community

    By submitting my details I consent to Panorama emailing me from time to time about services that they believe would interest me, in accordance with our Privacy Policy.