Connected Leadership: Women’s History Month

Connected Leadership: Women’s History Month

As part of our celebration of Women’s History Month, today we’re looking at the importance of a diverse workforce. Although great strides have been made within the last 50 years to empower women, people of color, and other diverse groups in the workplace, there is still work to be done. At Wellpath, we are proud to have a diverse workforce. As leaders, part of our role includes empowering all team members to share diverse, and thoughtful perspectives that foster innovation and collaborative solutions to the unique challenges we face as an organization.

Part of our role may include taking time to educate ourselves about steps we can take to be more inclusive and inspire others to do the same. One way to start is by acting on the team member feedback in the recent pulse survey. For example, in Human Resources, we are setting expectations for all people managers around team meetings, individual development plans, and frequency of providing feedback.

Additionally, all team members across Wellpath have an assigned goal to support local action plans based on the Pulse Survey results. These tactics will help us ensure we treat each team member with respect and as individuals.

At an enterprise level, we are using the feedback from the survey and the recent Inclusion & Diversity conversations to build our Inclusion Strategy. We will begin the process of socializing our strategy draft with our Inclusion & Diversity committee and executive leadership team in the next month. Great suggestions have been shared with us and we are focused on activities we can implement right away as well as long term. One example is a recommendation to partner with medical, nursing, and hospital administration schools to attract diverse talent to Wellpath. Our job today as leaders, then, is to continue our work to build an inclusive workplace that welcomes all team members.

Wellpath Leaders are Inclusive Leaders

There is a well-documented business case for diversity. Research conducted by McKinsey examined whether companies with higher levels of both gender and ethnic diversity perform at a higher level. The 2020 research examined more than 1,000 large companies in 15 countries and found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average economic performance than companies in the fourth quartile. Furthermore, companies in the top quartile of ethnic and cultural diversity were 36% more likely to outperform their competitors. The research also shows that companies in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity were 27% more likely to underperform when compared with their more diverse competitors.

For Wellpath, diversity and inclusion hold more value than just a business case. Fostering an inclusive culture helps retain high-quality talent and is shown to correlate with improved team and organizational performance. Each of us can take simple steps to facilitate more inclusion in our teams and at our sites. Here are a few tips from McKinsey:

  • Include all team members in conversations about inclusion. Removing barriers to inclusion requires that actions support all team members, regardless of their gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. When having these conversations, ask yourself – whose perspective are we missing?
  • Build more representative teams. Increasing the share of diverse leaders starts with increasing and retaining the numbers of team members from underrepresented groups throughout the organization. Don’t be afraid to talk about bias when it comes to talent-related conversations. Again, as you work to fill open positions, ask yourself – whose perspective are we missing?
  • Adopt inclusive behaviors. McKinsey’s research showed that feelings of inclusion often stem from inclusive leadership, so we’ve got to “walk the walk.” These can be informal conversations where team members share unique aspects of their identity or doing a team-building exercise celebrating what makes each team member unique. By creating opportunities for connectivity, you can answer the question: whose perspective are we missing?

Wellpath leaders champion gender diversity and foster an inclusive, respectful, and empathic culture. Encourage and empower your team members to advocate for themselves in their own careers, be proactive in supporting one another, and speak up if they see bias at work. When team members feel like they can bring their whole selves to work, they are happier at work and less likely to leave. They’re also more comfortable sharing challenges with managers and co-workers, giving organizations the visibility to make changes that improve the team member experience. The more team members can bring their whole selves to work, the more the workplace will work for them—and for everyone.

Let’s work together to perpetuate a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion.

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Connected Leadership is Wellpath’s ongoing leadership education series published by Ann Hatcher, Wellpath’s Chief Human Resources Officer

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