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Consumer products company Kimberly-Clark has been awarded for its innovative schemes to expand leadership opportunities for women.
The firm received the 2014 Catalyst Award on Wednesday (January 29) in recognition of its Unleash Your Power: Strengthening the Business With Women Leaders scheme.
Thomas J Falk, chairman and CEO for Kimberly-Clark, said the company was honoured and the award indicated an “important milestone” in its efforts to allow both men and women to showcase their leadership skills.
“Women are directly responsible for about 80 per cent of purchases across our business,” he stated. “We must cultivate a diversity of perspectives to drive innovation and business results.”
Over the last four years, the company’s female leadership development initiative has led to a number of significant results, including a 71 per cent increase in the number of women in director-level positions.
Internal promotions of women to director jobs and above jumped from 19 per cent to 44 per cent over the same period.
Sue Dodsworth, chief diversity officer for Kimberly-Clark, said the company is still making progress but now has a much better idea of where to improve.
“We collected lots of data about our performance and used those findings to hold a mirror against our organisation, to dispel conventional wisdom about our practices and build a fact-based case for action,” she explained.
As part of its approach, the firm interviewed dozens of employees in a year-long application and review process. The company measured responses against criteria such as senior leadership support, accountability, communication and staff engagement.
Unleash Your Power implemented several measures to boost its female leadership, such as introducing mentoring programs, promoting work-life flexibility policies and readjusting recruitment and retainment plans.
Kimberly-Clark was one of two recipients of the Catalyst award, with security and aerospace firm Lockheed Martin also recognised for female leadership development.