I grew my career in consulting… which means I analyze everything from which color shirt I think will leave the best impression, to the root cause of a demographic trend within a specific business unit.  I’ll be honest, the first time I heard the phrase ‘gender balance’ I assumed it was the new diversity and inclusion buzz phrase.  I feared it was a clever branding tactic to convince me that an assessment anchored on gender balance would be better than other diversity assessments in the field.  Driving the EDGE Certification process for Capgemini helped me understand that gender balance isn’t a D&I buzz phrase… if leadership teams, middle managers, and employees across levels and geographies understand the value of gender balance and how to take action for high impact – true progress will result.

What is the EDGE Certification?

EDGE is the leading global assessment methodology and business standard on gender balance in the workplace.  EDGE stands for Economic Dividends for Gender Equality and is distinguished by its rigor and focus on business impact. The methodology uses a business, rather than theoretical approach that incorporates benchmarking, metrics and accountability into a process which was designed to help companies create an optimal workplace for women and men with organizational benefits.  The EDGE assessment methodology was launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011.

What is the value of EDGE?

EDGE evaluated Capgemini’s talent pipeline data, organizational policies, and employee perceptions to determine that we are meeting the standard on recruitment & promotion, leadership development training & mentoring, and company culture.  The value of the EDGE Certification is the ability to leverage the results and action plan to focus our continuous improvement inclusion efforts to deliver high impact business value.  Having a standard developed based on science with the endorsement of business, government and academic leaders from around the world injects gravitas to the organization’s dialogue on gender balance.  Gender balance places emphasis on the need to have more women and men (not only more women – think about the typical HR or Marketing/Communications departments in many organizations) at every level.  Aligning employees to understand the value of balance is critical for success on this topic.  

What’s the next step now that EDGE Assess (Level 1) Certification has been achieved?

Over the last few weeks alone, we’ve seen a number of articles and research on the root cause for why organizations don’t have more women in leadership positions, examples of what leading companies are doing to drive progress on gender balance, and strategies for engaging men in the journey forward.  This content joins years, and more likely decades, of studies that all point to the fact that companies need to do more and the business reasons for doing more.  EDGE helped us to better understand and focus on what more should be for Capgemini and builds in accountability through the next levels of certification to support moving forward on the right things.  We will focus on the actions identified. 

Additionally, we are proud to announce that Capgemini has been named as a top company for women technology professionals by the Anita Borg Institute in its 2016 Top Companies for Women Technologists Leadership Index. The Anita Borg Institute is a Palo Alto, California-based premier non-profit organization working for the advancement of women professionals in computing.  The Anita Borg Institute’s national benchmark program named 25 organizations as leaders in recruiting, retaining and advancing more women in technical roles and Capgemini has been named one of the leaders.  In its sixth year, Top Companies for Women Technologists is a quantitative assessment that uses data supplied by participating companies and a rigorous statistical methodology to objectively score participants on a number of key metrics. This year, 60 companies were evaluated which covered more than 1.4 million US employees, including 552,000 technologists across 10 industries – 25 companies, including Capgemini scored above the industry mean.

Gender balance isn’t the only opportunity to grow inclusion in the IT services industry where so many demographics are underrepresented (and where is gender neutral in the gender diversity conversation by the way) but it’s a solid place to focus to build momentum.  At the end of the day, we must have a strategy for balance in the other dimensions of diversity too.  This is one step in our journey.