Julie Nugent

The Women’s Initiative: Living the Lattice

How Deloitte LLP used their WIN initiative to grow and create a culture of innovation.

June 17, 2010
by Julie Nugent

The Catalyst Award­­­­ annually honors innovative organizational approaches with proven, measurable results that address the recruitment, development and advancement of all women, including diverse women. By recognizing, sharing and celebrating successful initiatives, Catalyst provides models for creating initiatives that are good for women and good for business.

2010 Catalyst Award winner, Deloitte LLP, was recognized for The Women’s Initiative: Living the Lattice,which builds on the success of the Task Force of the Initiative for the Retention and Advancement of Women. The mission of the Women’s Initiative (WIN) is to drive marketplace growth and create a culture in which the best talent chooses to work. Launched in 1993, WIN addressed two related issues: a high rate of female attrition and underrepresentation of women in leadership positions. Achieving WIN’s goals created significant change in the organization’s culture and provided an engine for innovation, becoming a model for other organizations in the process. The expanded initiative builds upon and advances sustainability through constant recalibration of the organization’s focus to address emerging trends and by driving accountability. WIN also features a high-powered External Advisory Council, chaired by Dr. Sally Ride, which helps drive leadership and organizational accountability.

Unique components include a broad range of leadership and development programs. Nationally led “Women As Buyers” workshops address the distinctive communication and decision-making styles of women, while regional career development programs prepare Deloitte’s women for advancement at all levels. Local community-based and virtual learning and networking events also contribute to the growth of and opportunities for Deloitte’s women. To support an inclusive and flexible culture, Deloitte shifted from a traditional corporate ladder to a more customized model of career growth, development and advancement that it dubs the corporate latticeTM. This approach provides a sustainable career-life fit without sacrificing a high level of performance. Mass Career Customization (MCC), an innovation that was designed and incubated in WIN, enables Deloitte employees to dial up and dial down their levels of contribution and career progression along with changing life stages. Deloitte holds its leaders accountable through various means including “Talent Days”, which feature in-person reports directly to the CEO on inclusion progress and goals, among other business imperatives.

The Women’s Initiative has fueled significant increases for women in leadership: women’s representation as partners, principals and directors has risen from six percent in 1995 to 22 percent in 2009 and representation of women senior managers has increased from 23 percent to 36 percent in the same timeframe. In addition, the gender turnover gap decreased from seven percent in 1995 to less than one percent during 2009. Deloitte reached an additional milestone in 2009 when it surpassed the 1,000 mark for U.S. women partners, principals and directors.

Catalyst is honored to be associated with Deloitte LLP, whose innovative and pioneering initiatives, have proven so powerful in making change.

Additional Resources: AICPA’s Women’s Initiatives

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Julie S. Nugent, senior director, Research and Chair, Catalyst Award Evaluation Committee. Nugent chairs the Catalyst Award Evaluation Committee and leads the effort to compile Award-winning organizational Diversity & Inclusion Practices, as well as other exemplary corporate initiatives to advance women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. Visit www.catalyst.org to learn more about our work and download Catalyst reports. Visit www.catalyst.org/page/71/apply-for-the-catalyst-award to consider nominating your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiative for the Catalyst Award.