How Analytics Helped Kimberly-Clark Solve its Diversity Problem

How Analytics Helped Kimberly-Clark Solve its Diversity Problem

In just four years, the company dramatically increased the number of women in management. Here’s how.

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Kimberly-Clark chief diversity officer Sue Dodsworth

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 10:00am

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What do you do when most of your customers are women, but the majority of your top managers are men?

Kimberly-Clark (KMB) faced that exact dilemma in 2009. The parent company of Huggies, Kleenex, Kotex and Cottonelle had data showing that just 17% of its director-level-or-higher employees were women, while a whopping 85% of its consumers were female.

In November of 2010, Sue Dodsworth became the company’s global diversity officer, and she went to work. After using analytics to pinpoint (and resolve) the problem, K-C made a dramatic turnaround in just four years. Today, 30% of its director-or-above employees are women, and 35% of those in middle management or higher are—up from 25% in 2009.

It all started with acknowledging that there was an issue, Dodsworth says. “Gender diversity has been a priority for K-C for about 20 years,” she says, “but it wasn’t until about four years ago that we started to take it very seriously because people started getting very frustrated that we hadn’t caused much movement.”

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