Asda, like many retailers were facing tough gender challenges. In 2014, 68% of their female employees worked in lower paid sales roles and only 30% of the employees who were ready for directorship were female.
To respond to this they undertook an employee consultation exercise which identified barriers including:
- Perceived long hours in management
- A lack of role models
- A lack of self-belief and confidence
Out of this, we were invited to support in the design and delivery of the brand new, two year “Women in Leadership” programme.
The first year was delivered through a combination of targeted development modules and group mentoring.
The programme focused on:
- Building the strategic career planning & networking capability of the 300 participants
- Growing resilience and authenticity
- Up-skilling talent ambassadors to hold impactful conversations and mentor/coach in a group setting
The second year was a legacy project, where the participants “Pay it Forward” by educating and inspiring other women.
Within the first year of the “Women in Leadership” programme the representation of female store managers increased by 4%. The percentage of female employees ready for directorship also jumped up to 67%.
85% of female employees agreed that ‘I have the opportunity to progress if I want to’, this is 16 points higher than the retail benchmark (according to survey consultants, ORC International).
Additionally, more than 1,000 women have now attended inspirational careers events in stores and depots, and there has been excellent feedback. (source: www.opportunitynow.bitc.org.uk)
These successes contributed to Asda winning the Opportunity Now Advancing Women in the Workplace Award.
“I found the programme leaders and coaches very inspirational – yet they also appreciated the day-to-day issues that we have – and how to balance your goals with that, i.e. it wasn’t just all talk – there are practical tips to take away.”