Kimberly-Clark’s Unleash Your Power: Strengthening the Business With Women Leaders is a global, enterprise-wide initiative to address Kimberly-Clark’s need to look, think, and behave like the people who use and buy its products. The initiative, which highlights the important role women play in the workplace and marketplace, was launched in 2009 as Kimberly-Clark began implementing a new people strategy to transform the culture and engage talent who will lead the company to success. With the understanding that diversity and inclusion lead to stronger and better results, the initiative seeks to drive diverse talent into influential roles across the company.
Specific goals of the initiative include increasing women’s representation at all levels by hiring and promoting more women into critical roles globally, strengthening the pipeline of women, and nurturing regional and business action plans to accelerate the recruitment, development, and retention of women. Managing talent around the world and across business lines is core. For example, the company designed its high-potential talent pool to reach across businesses and geographies so it could more easily leverage the talent and experience of both women and men. Talent development tools such as the Accelerated Development Program support the movement of employees across the organization and increase access to “hot jobs.” In addition, high-potential employees may take on a three- to six-month “swap” assignment in another country. Additional efforts include peer-to-peer and reverse mentoring opportunities; a fully integrated FlexWork program with a variety of options such as telecommuting, flexible hours, compressed workweek; and communication tools to support a highly engaged culture. Finally, the initiative includes external programs to empower women and girls through resources, community outreach, and other corporate social responsibilities activities.
Unleash Your Power: Strengthening the Business With Women Leaders was successfully implemented and integrated across Kimberly-Clark’s global locations (Asia, Latin America, North America, and Western Europe) and its operating businesses. In order to achieve this, Kimberly-Clark developed an overarching framework at the global level and provided local leaders with tools to customize the initiative to meet regional and cultural needs. For example, operations in China and Malaysia include a strong focus on retention because attrition is a major concern there; in the United States, where Employees Resource Groups (ERGs) are most active, ERGs serve as an efficient talent management resource, helping with professional development, recruiting, and retention.
Thanks to these efforts, Kimberly-Clark has seen solid results for attracting, developing, and retaining women. Between 2009 and 2013, women’s representation among Director+ roles has increased globally from 19.0% to 26.0%; internal promotions of women to Director+ jobs has increased significantly, from 19.0% to 44.0%. Additionally, women’s representation on the Board of Directors has increased from 16.7% to 25.0%.