Case: addressing diversity to improve retention

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How a top league consultancy used Synthetron to address diversity and improve female consultants’ retention.


A top league consultancy was concerned about the high staff turnover of its female consultants just before they became partner.

They had appointed a diversity manager to solve this retention challenge, because they felt they did not adequately address diversity.

Hence, they wanted to understand the drivers of the high turnover, and how to keep this group engaged.


Two separate Synthetron sessions were set up: one for male, and one for females consultants, all potentially becoming partner in the next 3 years. The script that we developed with the client was the same for both discussions.

The question script was developed with representatives of the client and of Synthetron, it addressed 3 main topics:

• Identifying the employee value proposition that consultants had in mind when joining the company (the reasons and ambitions).
• The current satisfaction of the job/company (motivators and currently perceived motivators and tension points).
• The future ambitions and expectations.

In the discussion particular attention was given to understanding the triggers. When and how did tension points become breaking points? And, what measures could be co-created that would prevent this from happening?

The anonymity and safe space of the Synthetron discussion insured that everybody could freely speak their minds. 90% of the target group female consultants and 60% of the much larger group of male consultants joined their respective discussions.


Synthetron consultants analysed the discussion data. They created a concise segmented report, comparing the insights of the two discussions – male and female consultants – in a grid of drivers, distractions and retention solutions.

The outcome demonstrated that both groups had very distinct sets of motivation, tension points, and retention factors.

This output has made the organisation decide to fundamentally differentiate its HR policy towards both groups with a more menu type of approach (balancing between learning , care policy, part time or flexibility …etc).

This led to adapted career paths. This made them more effective and simultaneously avoided give away to one or the other group. The results of the Synthetron were reported internally to all participants.

Case: fair play and diversity

How Synthetron was used to make progress on Inclusion and Diversity.


Now that she was in the second week of the job as Inclusion and Diversity manager she was beginning to realise just how hard it was going to be to make this work. Not only was there a split at board level between those who understood the importance of this and those who thought it quite unnecessary, but it was also proving difficult to find out what people really thought.

She’d seen those meetings where nobody dared speak up, or they all hid behind political correctness. She wanted to get to the real story so she could see how to move forward.

Then she heard how they’d used a platform called Synthetron in another part of the business and decided to investigate if it could help her too.


Synthetron set up 10 online discussions with more than 500 people in the organization.

Next, we developed the questions and script together with the client.

Lastly, we moderated the dialogue together with representatives of the organization.


Two months and ten discussions later the story unfolded before her. Based on what real people in the organisation – over 500 of them – really thought. What they shared about their experiences and when they knew they could do that safely.

There was a lot of work to do but she had a much clearer sense of where they stood. And what the Inclusion & Diversity journey was going to look like.

She had discovered some hazards to be avoided and some great ideas to be spread across the organisation. A surprising insight had been that fairness was something everybody agreed with. It meant much more to everybody than I&D and avoided a lot of the pushback she had seen in some of the conversations.

She had a term that provided a good frame to move forward with. Furthermore it was a way of measuring progress thanks to the classification data of everyone who participated according to how aware, willing and able they were of the issues at stake.

See how we can help you with our Synthetron I&D+ tool.

Articles on Inclusion & Diversity

  • Sallie Crawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, considers why we still expect women to behave like men and think that is diversity. LinkedIn article
  • Greg Ward, MD of Transguard group explains why it’s just not that hard to have a diverse workplace. LinkedIn article