Engaging Men in Gender diversity

Perspectives from the C-Suite of Leading Retailers

LEAD Retailer Study 2017

What can be done to engage men more fully in the mission to create a better gender balance in retail organisations, particularly at the management level and above? That’s the question posed to senior retail executives in this latest piece of research from LEAD Network.

In 2016, we published a seminal study of 25 successful store managers that is now used by European retailers to help develop their HR strategies in order to create more gender-balanced store management. For 2017, the LEAD Retailer Roundtable commissioned a new study, exploring how to make the topic of gender diversity more relevant for men.

We believe that only when men are wholeheartedly engaged will the quest for a better gender balance at the executive levels of our industry succeed. Yet many men remain uninvolved. You only have to look at the membership profile of LEAD Network: from the beginning, our organisation has been inclusive of men, and yet men account for just 10% of our membership base. The Network of Executive Women (NEW) in the US, an organisation with a similar mission to LEAD, has a comparable ratio.

We interviewed 33 executives at the C-suite level from 14 European retailers, 8 of them female and 25 male. Our aim was to find out what the current situation is within their organisation regarding men’s involvement in the gender diversity question, and to discover what practices are most effective at motivating and engaging them. The conclusions are presented in this new publication, Engaging Men in Gender Diversity: Perspectives from the C-Suite of Leading Retailers.

Findings from the study were shared at the 2017 LEAD conference in Amsterdam. In addition, LEAD is offering retailers a one-on-one partner-specific narration of the findings to help develop a proprietary strategy.

We would like to thank all those who participated in the research for their time and cooperation. We are also grateful to EY and METRO for their financial sponsorship. Finally, we are indebted to Simone Balzat of METRO and Christopher Yates of EY for all their hard work in managing the project.

Veronika Pountcheva
Senior Vice President, METRO AG;
Member of LEAD Advisory Board and Project Champion

Sharon Jeske
Executive Director, LEAD Network

The “Success in store” report covers the following topics:

  1. The value of gender diversity
  2. Is there a downside to gender diversity?
  3. Where does gender diversity rank on the corporate agenda?
    Has the ranking shifted over the past five years?
    External regulation and the question of quotas
    – A new maturity model: Where is your company on the internalisation curve?
  4. To what extent are men involved in gender diversity initiatives?
    – Rating levels of awareness and commitment
    – Observations and recommendations
  5. Are there different ‘rules of the game’ for men and women?
  6. What are the barriers to male engagement and how can we overcome them?
    – Examples of leading practice
    – Case study: Costco’s Journeys initiative
    – How to be a role model for gender diversity
    – How to involve men in gender diversity
    – Insights from Fleur Bothwick OBE
  7. Three principles to take away
  8. Conclusions and way forward

For additional information about the study, contact Mick Broekhoef, Secretary of the LEAD Network, at mick.broekhof@lead-eu.net