A great equalizer

Efficacy programs can boost rising talent from groups underrepresented in the workplace, new Korn Ferry research finds. Companies see benefits.

Although organizations have worked hard to make their workplaces more welcoming, rising leaders from underrepresented groups can find it daunting still to discover paths to success and advancement. But some long-running Korn Ferry programs can provide measurable solutions to help companies benefit from the broadest and best talent they can bring together, the firm’s new research has found.

Proof Points report the results of studies on outcomes of Korn Ferry programs, products, and solutions. This internal research is conducted by the Korn Ferry Institute using rigorous social science methodologies.

Social scientists from the Korn Ferry Institute (KFI) surveyed and interviewed more than 225 alumni of the firm’s Efficacy programs. These are multiday workshops with some follow-up efforts, depending on the client, that seek to help individuals take control of their careers and “live life by design, not by default.”

These programs “were born out of a need for organizations to ensure that they empower their full talent pool, and they have evolved from a race-ethnicity and gender client focus to embrace wide inclusivity,” said Audra Bohannon, a senior client partner in the firm’s Leadership and Talent Consulting practice, who also noted that “affinity groups remain a segment especially well served” by these workshops.

KFI researchers found that the Efficacy programs helped to:

  • Boost individuals and their organizations, with 39% of respondents who participated in Efficacy programs before 2014 reporting that they had been promoted; 47% of all interview respondents said the programs had helped them transition into a higher or more desirable position.
  • Sharpen participants’ problem-solving skills to the benefit of their organizations; 92% of alumni said Efficacy programs not only improved their problem solving but also taught them how to push through challenges, and to show vital resilience after failure.
  • Instill in participants the critical importance that others play in their success; 56% of alumni said they gained greater perspective on how they present themselves to others and how others perceive them. More than half of alumni said they learned more how to improve relationships; this has assisted them significantly in managing their unique challenges in the workplace.

“We also were heartened that the KFI study found that a third of the respondents reported that their self-confidence rose measurably due to the Efficacy programs,” said Andrés Tapia, a senior client partner and the firm’s global solutions leader for the Workforce Performance, Inclusion, and Diversity Practice. “In contemporary organizations, we all are diverse people, and companies are working now to ensure that they get everyone’s highest and best by ensuring the inclusiveness of every effort.”

When people know what’s expected from them, and how they can resolve any issues or challenges they confront, they can excel even more, the research found. This happens best when people feel valued, accepted, and included.

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