Professional Equality & Success Stories: Meet the Female Leaders of Potloc

At least 40% of executives will be women by 2030 in France: this is the objective outlined by a law set on December 24, 2021, whose purpose was to accelerate economic and professional equality. Ambitious for some, but natural for Potloc, who have almost reached this objective in 2022. Among the company's senior positions, spread across 4 levels of leadership and 2 countries, Canada and France, 38.5% are held by women - this a more than encouraging figure that we’re proud to announce during this year’s International Women's History Month.

Occupational inequalities accelerated by the pandemic

As large companies were beginning to implement gender equality initiatives in France and other Western countries, the pandemic brought forth some complications that have unfortunately undone years of progress. In fact, according to a study by the Davos Economic Forum, the pandemic has set back 36 years of progress regarding equality between women and men, bringing us to an all-too-large total of 135.6 years to reach this goal worldwide.

While these figures should be taken with a grain of salt, particularly because of the disparities between different countries and their level of development, the pandemic has nevertheless demonstrated the fragility of an economic and social system that is still too unjust regarding equality. For example, in 2020, more than 64 million women lost their jobs worldwide, equating to a loss of 5% compared to 3.9% for men. Women have also seen their “invisible work” increase considerably during the lockdown periods, as they’ve had to historically sacrifice working hours in order to look after their children more than men have.

But what about the glass ceiling? Has the pandemic made it more difficult for women to enter positions of higher responsibility? In reality, it is difficult to say. Nevertheless, according to a study conducted by Forbes Insight1, 70% of women are concerned about their ability to meaningfully advance their careers. 

 

The need for a progressive corporate culture 

For every well-founded concern, a fair response is deserved. For Potloc, flexibility and agility have been the pillars of our mission to help all of our employees find balance between their personal and professional lives. In practice, this has meant offering them increasingly flexible hours, more sick days, virtual yoga classes, a subscription to Dialogue (a telemedicine platform) and even a Disney+ subscription offered to parents to keep the kids occupied. 

Beyond the benefits offered to employees during these tumultuous times, Potloc has made a point to maintain progressive and egalitarian company policies. As the company grew from 30 to 120 employees in 2019 and then skyrocketed to 180 in 2022, it proudly counts 57% women among its directors and 43% amidst its managers. For Kahina Preauchat, Sales Director, this representation is essential: "It's a topic that comes up regularly with my junior colleagues - both men and women for that matter. For them, it's important to have female role models as leaders and it's all the more motivating to see that there are opportunities for internal growth."

In addition, the company’s efforts have earned Potloc the Best Workplaces™ for Women in 2022 award, a certificate that is based on gender parity and women's well-being at work. "Creating a balanced and representative work environment is not just about gender. You have to open the door to all ethnicities, cultures, etc.," says Manon Grisolet, Talent & Culture Director at Potloc. "At all levels of the company, we need profiles with more diversity." 

 

Let's hear from the leaders: a look back at the round table held on March 16 

In celebration of International Women's History Month, Potloc organized a roundtable discussion to recognize the women who have made their mark on history, and also those who make Potloc a great place to work for all. Our female leaders were given the opportunity  to discuss the challenges they face, express their opinions about the company culture and share their vision of Potloc’s future.

As discussions carried on, Deepti Joshi, Data Science Director, spoke about the challenges specific to her industry, which she describes as "naturally designed to benefit men" due to the lack of representation of women in these types of positions. To become more inclusive at Potloc, Deepti suggests two things: "First, the job offer should be concise and realistic. If the assignments are too numerous and ambitious, then fewer women will dare to apply."  Second, recruiting teams need to make sure the applicant pool is balanced. 

By providing guidance to recruiters, each leader ensures that recruitment methods are designed to ultimately hire talent from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Because Potloc feels strong about this philosophy, the company has implemented additional inclusion and diversity policies to ensure that a caring workspace exists for each of its employees. For Clara Stroinski, Research Operations Director, "what makes Potloc so strong is the respect and credit we give to everyone - for me, no matter who I talk to, whether it's a man or a woman, a manager, anyone, I feel and have always felt respected, even if the person I'm talking to doesn't agree with me."

All in all, taking a stance on social justice and placing it at the heart of corporate culture is no longer a challenge, but a necessity. Yesterday, companies were looking for the foundations of their future and the building blocks of their transformation. Today, they are being asked to reinvent themselves quickly to meet the challenges of tomorrow. More collaboration, more responsibility, more inclusivity. Companies today must reform their recruitment processes and adapt their internal policies to have a lasting and positive impact on society. Utopian for some - a necessity for Potloc.

 

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1 Survey of 385 working women from 9 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States)