Past Performance #3: Credit Network
Challenge: With over 1,300 employees in its midwest headquarters and 42 offices nationwide, one credit lender’s financial results include more than $21 billion in assets and over $500 million in net income. Given its robust, team-based organizational culture, the organization’s leaders created a 2014 Human Capital Plan that sought to identify obstacles in the overall advancement of women. The organization hadn’t seen an increase in applications from women for leadership jobs despite having an employee population with women in the majority—and hadn’t been successful in achieving its affirmative action goals related to women.
Solution: In 2014, the organization engaged Selena Rezvani to design a multi-level assessment of women’s perceptions. The study included a survey distributed to nearly 1,000 female employees, one-on-one interviews with former female employees who left the company, and several focus groups at various levels within the organization, which included both men and women and headquarters and non-headquarters employees. Rezvani also conducted a “Culture Review” of policies and practices relating to hiring, onboarding, flexibility and benefits, growth and development opportunities—even relationships with “alumnae”. Taking into account all the data from the survey, focus groups, interviews and Culture Review, Rezvani wrote an 88-page report revealing the “key story lines” from employees with associated root causes, in addition to facilitating an interactive presentation with senior leadership.
Impact: Following the Advancement of Women study and the recommendations of Rezvani, the company undertook a number of high-impact actions. A planning team of leaders and Organization Development specialists committed to rolling out 1) Unconscious Bias training for all senior leaders, 2) a senior leader one-day “Influencer” session to determine vital behaviors and strategies for senior leaders to increase the number of women in leadership, and 3) the creation of a Women’s Employee Resource Group, championed by a male executive sponsor with a track record of developing and promoting women. The organization also undertook 4) Structured Development Discussions, where every leader is held accountable by their manager for having a specific number of aspirational leadership conversations with each employee, and 5) Targeted Succession Planning aimed at women in leadership and the level just below leadership. Repeatedly recognized as “Best Workplace”, the company’s partnership with Rezvani allowed senior leaders to first identify—and then squarely address—women’s concerns, heightening the overall levels of positive engagement and trust within the workplace.