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Bringing Diversity to the Boardroom

Bringing Diversity to the Boardroom

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Meeting in bright room

Diversity in an organization can give rise to fresh perspectives, new capabilities, and a workplace culture that both attracts talent and sets a company apart.

Fortunately, the desire to pursue diversity in one's workforce – especially in the C-suite – is not lost on today's employers. That includes one Fortune 500 company which decided to evaluate its governance structure to determine if it was unlocking the full potential of its team and positioned the organization to attract the top talent.

To begin, the company turned to Pamela Jeffery, founder of the Women's Executive Network. Her investigation included interviews with clients, partners, and senior women within the organization to gain insights into how the company was perceived by both its employees and partners.

Next, these insights were combined to form a final report which confirmed the CEO's initial thoughts, the company could do more to embrace diversity in its C-Suite. The report also put forward recommendations to create a more welcoming and rewarding workplace culture for women, address conscious and unconscious biases that may be present during hiring decisions, re-evaluate the decision-making process around promotions, and conduct a pay equity audit to ensure parity across the board. Additionally, Jeffery's report suggested the company measure promotion and attrition rates, the efficacy of employee programs, and how well the company supported its people when it came to navigating major life events such as re-adjusting to work after parental leave.

Finally, an action plan was drafted outlining how to implement the recommendations, which department was accountable for each step, and how they would be funded.

Now, in the second year of its 3-year implementation plan, the company has already seen significant benefits. In the last fiscal year, over 46 percent of its 1,000 new hires were women and it had successfully formed collaborations with STEM schools to become a top-of-mind employer. Moreover, the company has aligned with several organizations working to increase women's involvement in the STEM fields, and has taken measures to encourage diversity within its four walls. These include offering recruitment referral bonuses for employees and alumni who bring women, persons with disabilities, and military personnel to the team, and overhauling the company's approach to talent acquisition and retention.

Today, Pamela Jeffery continues to collaborate with the company as National Lead of KPMG Canada's Inclusion and Diversity practice. It's in this role where she also continues to champion diversity and assist similar organizations in overcoming gender and non-gender diversity gaps.

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