Author: Andrea Hoffmann, Partner Capco Zürich
Published: Tuesday 26 March

Since childhood, I have had to explain to people why my name is Andrea. In German-speaking Switzerland this is more commonly a woman’s name, despite it being legally applicable to both males and females.

It’s a hassle explaining and defending something that is clear and defined by the law, but we have to do this in other situations as well, including when we have conversations about gender issues. This includes topics from the importance of having salary equality between men and women, to appropriate office behaviour and equal opportunities.

Change is long overdue. I believe that, in order to have a real positive impact when it comes to gender issues, we each individually need to live and abide by our vision of what we want society to be. We have to embrace new working arrangements, embrace different ways of collaborating and new societal models. Let us realize new opportunities for us as individuals, as well as for companies such as Capco.

I want my two daughters, as well as my son, to grow up with an equal opportunity mindset, in a fair and just environment. I want them to be treated without bias and with respect. No door should be closed just because of gender, a person’s color, religion or country of origin. My wife and I, as parents, have to live and embody this level of fairness and constantly vocalise it, otherwise it is fake, and my children will see that. So, it is really up to us as individuals to start to live this new, and in my view, much better reality.

As a partner at Capco, I want to promote gender equality and balance in our society. In addition, I wouldn’t be a good entrepreneur if I neglected the research, which demonstrates the benefits of a diverse community, including:

  • A more cohesive workforce, where everyone feels valued and included, leads to increased employee engagement, increased discretionary effort and reduced attrition.
  • A significantly less biased recruitment process leads to an organization with a diverse workforce, where the actual (not the perceived) best people are recruited for each role.
  • A fair and consistent approach towards colleagues and staff throughout the organization leads to less grievances and discrimination claims.
  • Equal opportunities for all staff with regards to development, promotion and reward leads to efficient talent management and an all-round effective (and happier) workforce.
  • An improved, consistent service for a diverse customer base leads to an increase in customer engagement and a decrease in customer complaints.
  • A recent Harvard Business School study found that gender diversity in companies correlates with higher productivity. Crucially, the research shows that countries and industries that view gender diversity as important capture benefits from it. In other words, beliefs about gender diversity create a self-fulfilling cycle.

It’s not only my personal experiences and beliefs which have led me to the conviction that we must embrace diversity and all the great things that come with it. The facts speak for themselves. There is a huge opportunity. It feels good. It benefits everybody. And it is the right thing to do!

Andrea Hoffmann, Partner Capco Zürich