Case Study: Deloitte LLP—The Women’s Initiative: Living the LatticeJan 21, 2010
Deloitte LLP’s The Women’s Initiative: Living the Lattice 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 where 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, that 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 6 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 7 percent in 1995 to less than 1 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.