We partner with forward-thinking organisations who recognise the benefits of accelerating gender equality

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  • Beverages

  • Consumer

  • Energy

  • Financial Services

  • Manufacturing

  • Media Publishing

  • Oil & Gas

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Professional Services

  • Technology

  • Telecommunications

  • Utilities

As experts in the design and delivery of results-driven gender equity programmes, Shape Talent brings together evidence-based methodologies with our extensive experience delivering change for complex organisations. We bring passion, professionalism and expertise to provide tailored solutions that meet the unique challenges of each organisation.

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With our clients, we focus on the programmes and solutions that result in sustainable change and ultimately accelerate gender equality.

With hundreds of women having completed our programmes, we see common patterns in the results. More than 70% of programme participants are promoted within 6 months and 100% report that they have increased their impact as a leader. 94% of participants say they would recommend our programmes.

Here’s a flavour of how we are helping CEOs, senior talent leaders and sophisticated EDI professionals deliver programmes that make an impact in their businesses and beyond.

1. Align 2. Define 3. Engage

Ensure strategic alignment

Shape Talent worked with a European client with global expansion plans; they were just at the starting blocks when it came to EDI and were feeling pressure from investors, customers, end consumers and employees around the need for greater focus, particularly around gender. This was also contributing to their difficulty attracting talent. Our approach involved a workshop with a cross-functional group to understand the pressure points on the business, a landscape review of competitors, customers and suppliers to bring some outside-in thinking, and a facilitated discussion with their executive leadership team, resulting in an honest assessment of the situation and a commitment to develop a focused plan. Next, we ran focus groups to bring to life the employee experience, and collectively this enabled us to build concrete recommendations for next steps. We are now working with this client to implement these recommendations.

Define the gap and plan

For one European-headquartered client in the STEM industry, we helped address the problem of women being acutely underrepresented in particular functions within their business. To understand the barriers, we used a combination of quantitative and qualitative diagnostics to assess the current context, including a mix of focus groups and interviews to bring to life the lived experience of individuals through storytelling. We were able to gather powerful stories and these were shared with the sponsors of this work.

Through this process we were able to identify the top three issues for focus, which helped inform their equity, diversity and inclusion strategy. Challenges identified were:

  1. Recruitment barriers - conservative hiring practices meant managers sought candidates who met an unnecessarily long list of requirements. Being a STEM industry this disproportionately excluded women.
  2. ‘Always on’ culture - excessive work demands meant that women disproportionately found the competing demands of work and home life difficult to juggle, and were opting out of progression opportunities as a result.
  3. Global mobility - the perceived requirement for global mobility also meant women were self-selecting out of leadership opportunities, due to the challenges associated with juggling a dual career household.

This client is currently implementing changes as a result of these findings, including awareness-raising programmes to educate line leaders around inclusive practices as well as a series of structural adjustments to their recruitment practices.

Engage the organisation

We worked with a volunteer-led Employee Resource Group, contributing to their conference with a keynote presentation on the Three Barriers to Women’s Career Progression. The event was very well received and generated significant engagement and discussion across the organisation, both during and after the event.

For another firm, we led a session with the top 100 leaders as part of their Inclusive Leadership programme. The aim was to share insights and help to stimulate ideas and discussions which could then be fed back into their action learning sets to result in positive, practical actions. The session created a real buzz amongst the organisation, provoking discussion and debate.

4. Build 5. De-bias 6. Develop

Build inclusive workplaces

We worked with a medium-sized manufacturer, identifying through our Define step that one of the core challenges was the need to engage the majority population (men) on the EDI journey. We partnered with our client to develop a unique women’s development programme that involved men, to build allyship. The programme included workshops and coaching targeted specifically at women, along with mixed gender workshops and listening circles aimed at raising awareness and psychological safety, and creating a model that can be applied more broadly across the organisation. This programme is currently being deployed and has been very well received.

De-bias and align the system

Critical to achieving sustained change is to ensure behavioural changes have the supporting systems and processes to be effective long term. We work with organisations to design processes that deliberately address the biases, stereotypes and unconscious behaviours that undermine gender equity. Rather than trying to de-bias minds, which research tells us is exceedingly difficult, we focus on removing bias from processes.

Develop women

We deliver an annual 10-month Breaking Barriers Women's Programme for a global company of 100,000+ employees, which originated as a targeted response to women being under-represented in specific areas of the business. The programmes comprise a combination of both experiential and content workshops, group coaching, sponsorship and individual development plans.

Each programme begins with a focused development plan for each woman’s career progression which is created in conjunction with her line manager. Participants are assigned a high level sponsor and participate in a series of group coaching sessions and workshops. These are designed based on the key barriers to women’s progression identified in our Define stage (Step 2). Workshops and coaching focus on different themes, including: authentic leadership, visibility, influence, confidence, power and politics, presence and impact.

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