How analytics helped Kimberly-Clark solve its diversity problem

Fortune

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

Kimberly-Clark [fortune-stock symbol=”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.

And, probably not by coincidence, the company’s share price has nearly doubled since late 2010.

It all started with acknowledging that there was an issue, Dodsworth says. “Gender diversity has been a priority for K-C…

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