Other parts of this series:
Research on gender traits and leadership points to women having the edge when it comes to soft skills such as empathy, compassion and communication. As I explained in my previous post, many women are drawn to careers in financial services because of the opportunity to use their skills to make a difference in people’s lives. This dynamic could have an important bearing on efforts to effectively apply digital capabilities within the workforce toward better understanding and improving organisational functionality―in other words, decoding organisational DNA.
Because the foundation for successfully decoding organisational DNA is creating an environment of trust. Soft skills can go a long way toward creating that type of environment. Accenture research indicates 91% of banking leaders and 96% of insurance leaders believe that new technologies and sources of workplace data can unlock new value in the enterprise. So striving to place more women in financial services leadership positions makes perfect sense.
91% OF BANKING LEADERS AND 96% OF INSURANCE LEADERS BELIEVE THAT NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND SOURCES OF WORKPLACE DATA CAN UNLOCK NEW VALUE IN THE ENTERPRISE.
If the premise is true that more women in financial services leadership will lead to improved employee trust and thereby amplify the ability to gather important employee and workplace data, the question becomes, ‘what can the industry do to make financial services a more appealing career choice for women?’
Where financial services firms stand on women in leadership, and how to do better
Women represent 46% of the financial services workforce, however they occupy only 15% of the executive-level positions. Despite this gender imbalance in the leadership hierarchy, women are still drawn to the profession in large part because they see working in financial services as a way to have a positive impact on other people.
According to a Fidelity report on gender parity in financial services, women cite the opportunity to help people and to feel personally gratified (as compared to receiving financial rewards) as particularly attractive features of working in the industry. Women who work as financial advisors believe they are adding value to their clients by providing a higher and more personalised level of client service. They also believe these roles give them more control over their own destiny.
These are useful insights for financial services firms, that could guide them toward creating an environment that better aligns with what women are looking for in a career while at the same time helping move the needle toward greater success in decoding organisational DNA.
Creating the opportunity
As I shared in my blog post on driving gender-balanced leadership in financial services, boosting female participation in leadership to 30% can increase profitability by as much as 15%. I also quoted, in my previous post in this series, research that forecasts a potential 6% increase in revenue growth for companies that decode their organisational DNA. Considered together, it makes even more sense to place more women in financial services leadership positions. Seizing that opportunity could yield a two-fold return in terms of both increasing gender equality within the industry as well as creating a more trust-based work environment that would allow firms to take greater advantage of efforts to decode their organisational DNA, and thereby drive improvements in business performance.
In my next post, I’ll explain the steps you can take to successfully decode your organisational DNA, and I’ll provide some insights on how to make financial services a more inviting career option for women.
For more information about decoding organisational DNA, please see Accenture’s report: “Putting Trust to Work―Decoding Organizational DNA: Trust, Data and Unlocking Value in the Digital Workplace”