WISE Ten Steps: Understand the starting point so you can measure progress

n the face of it, Travelport compares well with other major technology companies – 45% of its employees overall are women, 39% in the technology division and 29% at senior management levels. But processing data to measure the starting point towards the end of 2017 revealed that progress had stagnated and that the gender balance had not improved over the previous two years.

The company decided to embark on a deliberate strategy to shift the dial and create more diversity at all levels – essential for a technology business needing collaboration and innovation, agile thinking and good decision-making. Key to this new strategy was a better understanding of the data.

Why is this important?

Companies need to understand exactly where their biggest challenges lie in attracting, retaining and developing female talent, so they can decide on priorities. Travelport was already gathering a lot of data, but had not been analysing it critically or reporting it. Once the company started to do this, it was able to identify specific problems and start working on solutions. In particular, the data showed stark variation at different levels, with fewer midcareer women progressing to senior roles.

Data analysis can also lead to better knowledge-sharing and understanding of what works. For example, the development of powerful diversity networks at Travelport in the US provided valuable learning for the company in the UK.

What are the results?

It is early days in the rollout of the new programme, but initial awareness-raising has created a swell of interest and enthusiasm. Progress is being tracked, feedback is being sought at all levels as the programme develops and the goals will be adjusted accordingly.

What is being done?

Having established the baseline, the company decided on its goals for retaining and developing female talent and agreed a strategic plan. At the outset, the Travelport ID (Inclusive Diversity) campaign was launched to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion across the organisation.

In addition, flexible working policies are being strengthened, senior managers are being trained in recognising and dealing with unconscious bias and employees are being putting themselves forward to be trained as ambassadors to attract girls into STEM careers through WISE’s My Skills My Life campaign.