7 Steps toward Attracting More Female Talent at SIX

7 Steps toward Attracting More Female Talent at SIX

Studies show that a more diverse workforce brings about many benefits for a company. SIX has a highly diverse workforce in terms of languages and cultural backgrounds. However, women are underrepresented at almost every level – especially in senior positions. Therefore, SIX is striving to grow the percentage of women at each middle and top management level to a minimum of 25% by 2023. Learn the seven steps SIX has taken to get closer to this objective.

1. Create Internal Awareness

All change starts with awareness. The first step in moving toward a more gender-balanced workforce is making managers aware of why diverse teams matter at every level, what the current situation is and what we want to achieve. Countless studies prove the cultural and financial benefits for an organization that has a diverse workforce. These include increased creativity, higher employee engagement, more innovation and a wider range of skills across the organization. Ultimately, diversity positively contributes to productivity, which leads to more business success. Companies with a high gender diversity are 25% more likely to be highly profitable, as a recent study from McKinsey shows.

2. Adapt the Talent Acquisition Process

At the end of last year, SIX decided to set up a Talent Acquisition team that not only handles recruiting, but also employer branding, since the two topics are closely related. With this management-backed change, we have adapted the talent acquisition process and placed a focus on women. Thanks to new process steps, we were able to change the mindset of our recruiters and hiring managers. We also offer regular training sessions to hiring managers on how they can attract more female candidates and what their role is as ambassadors of SIX during the Talent Acquisition Process. 

In addition, our recruiters are now using a checklist to ensure that during the recruiting process they cover all aspects necessary in order to also address women. This includes offering part-time and job-sharing positions learning how to write gender-neutral job ads, and also the goal of interviewing at least one female candidate for every vacancy and involve at least one woman as an interview partner during the hiring process.  

3. Let Women Know What SIX Has to Offer

During our conversations with women in interviews and at events, we realized that women are not aware of how attractive SIX is as an employer. Typically for a Swiss company, we were too cautious in communicating and promoting the generous assets we offer. These include our SIX spirit – a collaborative, agile working style, the freedom of taking ownership while receiving a lot of trust from management. To make the advantages more visible, we have invested in employer branding campaigns that target women in particular.  

4. Actively Promote, Recommend and Develop Female Talent

If female candidates cannot be considered for an open position, we suggest them for other vacancies, add them to the talent pools, and stay in touch with them. Moreover, we keep track of female talents within the company and promote our referral program actively. As a result, hiring managers and teammates are activating their networks and referring great candidates.  

Last, but not least, we are also developing our own future talent pool. This year SIX held the first ‘Girls 4 IT’ day. The event playfully introduced schoolgirls, including some of our employees’ daughters, to information technology. The ‘Girls 4 IT’ day let girls take a look behind the scene of bits and bytes, and showed them that IT is not just mathematics, but also a lot of teamwork and fun.  

5. Leverage Internal Role Models and Learn from Each Other

We regularly feature our female leaders in our internal and external communication as testimonials and as speakers at events. As role models, they inspire others and show the development possibilities at SIX. We have also created an internal mentoring program specifically for female talents and filled at least 30% of the seats in leadership programs with women.  

It is equally important that women share their experiences – encouraging other women to follow their path. For this purpose, we have started an internal Gender Diversity Network, which, amongst other things, organizes educational events aimed toward learning from each other and promoting networking.  

6. Collaborate with External Networks

We have started to collaborate with female tech communities and participate in events that are targeted towards women. We are also a gold member of Advance, an organization driving gender equality in Swiss business. In Advance we have found the right partner who supports us to meet our goals in the area of gender equality faster thanks to joint events, workshops, and the cross-company mentoring program.

7. Benchmark Ourselves

To know where SIX stands in comparison to other companies, and to determine if our activities are showing results, we are participating in the Gender Intelligence Report published by Advance and HSG (University of St. Gallen). The report appears annually and is an integral part of the Advance program to support member companies on their diversity journey. The Gender Intelligence Report 2020 was published in September and also includes best-practice recommendations from SIX. 

Overall, we are seeing very good progress at SIX thanks to all these efforts. Two highlights certainly were the appointment of a woman as a member of extended Executive Board in 2019, and the appointment of a woman to the Executive Board in 2020. 

We are keeping up our work and believe that we can become an employer of choice for female talents going forward.