Evonik

Inverse Talent Identification

Challenge

In most organizations, not every talent is discussed at a talent roundtable. As such, talent nominations generally depend on the person‘s direct manager, their reviews, and their motivation for being nominated. Various biases can then come into play and prevent a fair proportion of women being considered for inclusion in talent programs. Fixing a target quota can increase the share of women nominees.

Actions

In order to drive global growth, we need top managers who can cope with increasingly complex structures and the rapidly changing working environment and therefore are true change leaders. Our principle is to fill key positions with internal talents. We therefore rely on appropriate processes to identify and promote potential successors. This pool is termed as Corporate Talents. This pool is identified based on existing performance and future potential. They are nominated by their managers and subsequently undergo various tests, assessment centres etc. to become a part of this pool.   

To counteract unconscious biases, Evonik has set itself a very clear target for the nomination of women into its groups of Corporate Talent. The urgency of this measure is highlighted by the company‘s move to reverse the burden of proof for a nomination: managers now have to provide explicit justification if no women have been nominated as talent from their area. This „reverse nomination“ process involves the HR department approaching the relevant manager and running through a list of all potential candidates. If the manager is unable to give any information about a particular woman, they are obliged to give special consideration to her the next year. This approach has already led to several female talents becoming a focus for their managers.

Outcomes

This initiative started 2 years ago in Evonik and by end of 2019, nominations for Corporate Talent have been gender balanced. 

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