New Report Reveals 12 Proven Practices for Advancing Frontline Women, Making Retailers More Profitable

Mar 4, 2019 11:10 AM ET
Press Release

March 4, 2019 /3BL Media/ — A new study published by global social impact consulting firm FSG provides actionable and evidence-based practices that companies can implement to retain, develop, and promote more women from frontline positions. By advancing women into management roles, companies are able to improve retention rates, reduce the cost of turnover, improve customer loyalty, and strengthen retailers’ performance.

FSG’s report, Advancing Frontline Women, contains brand-new, never before published research on practices proven to advance white women and women of color into manager roles.

“We are excited that companies will be able to use this research to move from commitment to action on gender equity,” said Fay Hanleybrown, managing director at FSG. “We conducted extensive research, talking with corporate leaders to better understand the business imperative of gender equity, and meeting with frontline women themselves to better understand the barriers that they face in the workplace and the best ways for companies to shift practices.”

In partnership with researchers Frank Dobbin, PhD (Harvard University) and Alexandra Kalev, PhD (Tel Aviv University), FSG examined 50 HR practices put in place by over 11,000 retail stores over the last 30+ years.

FSG found 12 evidence-based practices on women’s advancement that fall into three primary areas:

  1. Leadership commitment and accountability to foster an inclusive culture that enables all women to advance
  2. Company policies and practices that advance gender equity
  3. Career and development opportunities that help develop and promote women

Employing these evidence-based practices can address the barriers women face in the workplace and lead to the advancement of frontline female workers. But while many retailers employ these practices for employees in their corporate headquarters, less than 50% of the 79 retailers in the study had implemented even one of these practices in stores.

FSG found that companies that are most successful at retaining, engaging, and advancing women employ practices that span all three areas. In addition, companies that have been successful at increasing gender equity also articulate specific metrics around gender equity, regularly track employee data by gender and race, and provide training to employees to raise awareness of and reduce gender and racial bias.

Successful implementation requires engagement from executive, human resource, and store operations teams, and the report includes key steps that these teams can take to begin taking action.

Read “12 Ways to Help Women in Retail Advance into Management,” on Harvard Business Review >

Download Advancing Frontline Women >

The research included in this report was made possible through funding by Walmart, as part of the Walmart and Walmart Foundation Retail Opportunity Initiative, a $100 million investment focused on identifying ways to accelerate mobility of front line workers.

About FSG
FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm supporting leaders in creating large-scale, lasting social change. Through customized consulting services, innovative thought leadership, and support for learning communities, we help foundations, businesses, nonprofits, and governments around the world accelerate progress by reimagining social change. Learn more at www.fsg.org