Gender Equality Case Study: THE ICONIC

Case Study

(4) Gender composition of the workforce 

(16) Driving change beyond the workplace

(12) Talent management and succession planning 

Initiative Description

Design and build of the Executive team and Senior Leadership team consciously focused on creating a balance of gender, variety in thinking styles, backgrounds and ensuring the composition of leadership is diverse. 

Context

At THE ICONIC we are Customer obsessed and we know that leaders with diverse backgrounds and experience will help us to innovate, perform and understand our customers better. Our goal is to have diverse leaders who create an environment where new and creative ideas are considered, different perspectives are brought to the table and we push ourselves to be better every day. We know that having role models to look up to and aspire to be like is something that can significantly shape someone’s aspirations in life and work. In attracting diverse leaders, we focus on many forms of diversity including diversity in style and thought, cultural ethnicity, experience to name a few. From a gender perspective, traditionally we have attracted more females to our organisation given the nature of our business in Fashion. If you then look deeper, there are certain professions where there are either more males or females that is representative of the challenges within those professions across many industries. Whilst this can be a barrier, in the past 2 years we have changed our practices and been more deliberate in our C-Suite and senior leader recruitment and succession initiatives to ensure we have diverse gender panels for the selection process and a diverse gender candidate pool in our shortlists and succession plans.

Action

  1. Deliberate mixed gender panels on interviews and selection panels, selection process included meeting peers along with leaders
  2. Search firm briefs include providing a gender balance in long and short list and market mapping as well as provide data to help us understand the gender composition of the market on key Senior Leader roles
  3. Partnered with a coach to undertake HBDI in our Senior Leaders to consider diverse thinking styles and how their preferences contribute to the teams performance, candidates receive a coaching session on how they can utilise awareness of these thinking styles in their work.

Result

  1. Senior Leaders composition moved from 71% / 29% to 64% / 36% [F/M], with an even split in areas like Ops and Finance, traditionally male-oriented
  2. C- Suite succession i.e. internal or external successor identified as ready within 1-2 years includes a 50/50% (F/M) succession pool
  3. We have grown our female networks through the C-Suite succession planning and maintained contact with those that were unsuccessful, yet impressive for future opportunities.

Lessons Learnt

  • It should always be about choosing the best person for the role
  • It can be easy to say there are no women in X profession, however being more deliberate in your approach and being more purposeful in the process of broadening that diverse pool helps build your awareness of the challenges in that profession and what we can do to address those gaps
  • Diversity works best when psychological safety is present
    Some Senior Leader roles were more of a challenge to recruit in a diverse way especially in areas such as Technology and Operations supply chain.

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