Ingersoll Rand is a Global 1000 firm known for its diversified industrial technology and climate solutions, including the well-known American Standard®, Ameristar®, Club Car® , Ingersoll Rand®, Thermo King® and Trane® brands. Beginning in 2010, the company adopted new strategies to drive improved operational excellence, global growth and innovation.
Senior leaders knew that for their strategic plan to succeed, they would need to make changes in the corporate culture in order to broaden and strengthen the diversity of the Ingersoll Rand talent pool. The position of VP for Global Diversity and Inclusion was newly created, and Neddy Perez was hired to fill this role. She quickly began to identify tangible initiatives around the globe to enhance Progressiveness, Diversity, and Inclusion in a fast and sustainable way, integrated with business needs and responsive to local requirements.
In the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, gender diversity in particular represented a challenge. Ingersoll Rand works in an engineering-driven industry traditionally dominated by men. While women were well-represented in some support functions—including HR, Finance and Marketing— they were severely underrepresented in the middle and senior management ranks of functions with profit and loss responsibility.
The lack of opportunities for advancement meant women were more likely to leave the company than their male counterparts—further perpetuating their underrepresentation among the senior leadership ranks. Ingersoll Rand’s executive team made a commitment to focus on development and support for women to drive the following objectives:
- Improve retention.
- Build the emerging leader talent pool.
- Create diversity balance.
- Move the needle on business performance.
As a first step, Ingersoll Rand asked the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) to help clarify the underlying issues and barriers that needed to be addressed in order to support women on their leadership journey. Drawing on its experience conducting research and working with leaders from different cultures and disciplines, CCL interviewed 16 middle and senior leaders from across the company’s global operations.
Ingersoll Rand partnered with CCL to create a comprehensive Women’s Leadership Program for mid-level women managers aspiring to senior leadership positions. The initiative centered on individual women, preparing them to be accountable for their own career development. At the same time, it addressed organizational and cultural needs, such as equipping women to develop others on the Ingersoll Rand team.
The program included mentoring, face-to-face training, 360-degree feedback, action learning projects, and individual coaching and personal development planning. The organization is seeing desired results, including:
- All participants have been retained by the organization, one year following the program.
- Participants were rated 22 percent higher in their job performance, 18 percent higher in key competencies and had a promotion rate four times greater than other white-collar employees in EMEIA.
“It was clear we needed to address both the visible and invisible barriers that may stop talented female associates from reaching the most senior levels of our organization,” said Jan Bouwen, vice president of Talent, Organizational Development and Enterprise Learning for Ingersoll Rand, EMEIA. “To effect change, we knew we needed broad, sustainable opportunities for both development and career planning.”
The women are clearly applying what they learned on the job, with an average increase in key capabilities of 27 percent. “I carry the learning with me in everything I do,” one participant noted.
The program is producing positive cultural change, building the Ingersoll Rand talent pool and helping women achieve their professional goals.