Scotiabank’s Unlocking Potential, Delivering Results: The Advancement of Women (AoW) Initiative is a far-reaching, business-driven initiative focused on seven strategic pursuits providing a global framework designed to attract, retain, and advance women. The initiative has improved women’s representation by leveraging existing business processes, programs, and platforms, thereby reinforcing the business value of the work and increasing the rate of acceptance and implementation across the organization. Backed by rigorous research, including a business case that demonstrates that women have the skills, proven performance levels, and aspirations to contribute at more senior levels, Scotiabank formed the cross-functional, women-led AoW Steering Committee to formulate the strategy and oversee execution and progress.
Two central elements drive the initiative: a process to ensure transparency and accountability of people development and career advancement; and a series of programs that connect and develop women. The online tool HR Passport provides all employees with access to the bank’s leadership strategy and competencies required to advance to senior-level positions. Programs such as ScotiaWomen’s Connection, a bank-wide women’s network, are webcast globally and provide women with visibility and access to senior leaders and role models. Essential to the success of the program are the formal accountability mechanisms and metrics that are in place. AoW targets and results are included in leaders’ individual balanced scorecards under the People quadrant and are linked to their overall performance, which is tied to compensation.
Through this initiative, Scotiabank has significantly improved its representation of women at the senior management level from 18.9 percent in 2003 to 31.0 percent in 2006. Representation of women at the most senior EVP/corporate officer level has increased from 26.7 percent to 36.8 percent from 2003 to 2006.