Procter & Gamble gain sixty female managers

Procter
and Gamble is retaining more female employees and getting more women into
management roles as a result of a programme to promote diversity.

Five years
ago the chemicals company found 35 per cent more women than men leaving. After
changing its culture to incorporate flexible working and recognising women’s
leadership styles, more women are staying. The same proportion of women as men
now leave.

The
changes in policy to achieve this have largely been driven by employee
networking groups, with the HR role becoming one of coordination and strategy.

UK/Ireland
diversity manager Neill Harvey-Smith explained that since 1995 the company has
achieved a net gain of 60 women in management positions. It now recruits equal
numbers of male and female graduates.

It is a
business target to achieve equal representation at director level as the
recruits move their way up through the company. The number of women in the
leadership team has risen from 13 to 19 per cent in the past year. He said that
while it began as a gender issue, Procter and Gamble is now looking at
diversity in its widest sense, including race, disability and even personality
type.

“It’s
about respect of the individual, and there is no greater respect than having a
diverse workforce where you will be able to be yourself,” said Harvey-Smith.

There is
also a business case for diversity, he said, in understanding consumers better
and in encouraging innovation. “How are you going to get innovation if you are
trying to get it from the same sorts of people?”

Proctor
and Gamble has also set up a recruitment team to target black and ethnic
minority and disabled undergraduates through links with relevant student
societies and external organisations.

By Lisa Bratby

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