Diagnosis and Strategic Planning

Use Your Data to Find Solutions

Often organizations approach Catalyst lamenting their lack of diversity and inclusion. And while some organizations find they are drowning in data, others simply aren’t sure where to start. We help clients diagnose their workplaces by guiding them through their quantitative and qualitative data to reveal trends impacting talent, level of employee engagement, and market share. We show clients how to test hypotheses and distill the causes and underlying issues that account for the data trends noted. Together, we define strengths, opportunities, and strategies for impact.

Design a Breakthrough Strategy That Improves Inclusion

Strategic Planning builds on the insights gleaned from Diagnosis to design a breakthrough strategy that shifts current workforce trends and improves inclusion. Through guided brainstorming, with the support of Catalyst’s experience and insights into what other companies have done, Strategic Planning helps an organization articulate its vision, goals, and short- and long-term actions based on its unique needs and requirements for implementing change: a strong business case, senior leadership support, communication, metrics, and accountability systems. We don’t advise organizations to just do more, but rather to be strategic and business-focused so that actions make sense within the context of global and local relationships and other organizational goals and realities.

We guide clients in varied situations, such as those concerned that their abundant (and sometimes expensive) Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) activities aren't yielding the desired results or find themselves on a plateau as they expand globally and face the challenges of understanding new market

Catalyst has been an important advisor for Baxter EMEA, providing valuable insight and expertise as we developed our EMEA Diversity and Inclusion programme. Their experience and knowledge have been particularly useful in helping us build internal awareness and strategy around increasing the number of women leaders within the company with the set up of a Business Resource Group focusing on female leadership.
Carole Le Meur, Vice President Human Resources EMEA, Baxter Healthcare SA

Example

Faced with women partner statistics that trailed its peer firms, and concerned that high-potential women associates were leaving at a higher rate than their male counterparts, an AmLaw 100 firm turned to Catalyst for assistance. The firm wanted to understand why it had not seen progress in the representation of women at the partnership level despite many years of consistently hiring equal numbers of women and men associates.

Catalyst worked closely with the firm’s Managing Partner, other partners and the directors of professional development and diversity to review HR data, and conducted a handful of targeted focus groups to understand what was working well for the firm and what was impeding women’s advancement. Catalyst then facilitated a Strategic Planning session with key stakeholders, including firm leadership. During the session, we collectively established a shared understanding of the firm’s issues, discussed best practices, and brainstormed appropriate next steps.

Outcome

To the firm’s surprise, data revealed that women associates were not leaving the firm at a significantly higher rate than men. The firm also learned that both women and men associates were ambivalent about aspiring to partner. Through careful assessment, three large issues emerged as impediments to progress: women’s lack of inclusion/connection to influential networks and relationships; the declining value proposition of partnership; and the stigma associated with working flexibly, which impacted both men and women but seemed to have a disproportionate effect on women.

Armed with these insights, and focusing on the firm’s business strategy, the team devised a strategic plan to guide its short- and long-term actions. The team decided to focus on: 1) increasing women’s visibility and connections, both internally and externally; 2) strengthening career development processes; and 3) revising its flexibility policy and addressing the perceived stigma against flexible work arrangements. Catalyst provided best practices from other organizations, and advice about appropriate metrics and accountability, to help the firm formulate its next steps. Within weeks of the Strategic Planning Session, the firm reported that its subcommittees for each area had already met, mapped out their plans for the year, and begun to execute these plans.