Interview

Empowering women in payments

Tuesday 26 October 2021 09:04 CET | Editor: Alin Popa | Interview

Don't know how to achieve greater personal success, influence, and professional parity? Grace Klopcic, Partner, McKinsey & Company, speaker at Wnet 2021 Leadership Summit reveals how

On 3 & 4 November 2021, Wnet will be celebrating its 15th anniversary at the 2021 Leadership Summit. Could you please share more about this year’s theme ‘Make the Investment’?

‘Make the Investment’ is all about the mission of Wnet: to create a stronger and more diverse industry by empowering and investing in women. I see it as a call to the industry and to each individual to invest the time and resources in the professional and personal success of women, because we believe more women leaders is better for business and the world. 

Grace, in your role at McKinsey’s Denver Office, you support financial services and technology players in transformational growth. How can this be achieved while making sure no one is left behind?

I really believe in thinking about holistic impact – achieving transformational growth should be viewed from the lens of the shareholder, customers, employees, and society. Every stakeholder is important. When I assess growth opportunities, I’m looking at financial and operating metrics but also what customers are saying about the company, how it compares to peers in attracting and retaining top talent, how it performs on Diversity & Inclusion, and ESG.

Wellness, career development, and financial success – how can these be achieved and how do we know when we made it?

While a vast majority of companies say supporting employee well-being and promoting DEI are critical (87% and 70%) only 1 in 4 recognise these efforts formally in evaluations like performance reviews. As we know, what gets measured and rewarded is what gets done. 

We don’t have an answer to what exactly hybrid work will be like, but we do know that flexible work should not be ‘always on’, 24/7 work. Even as there is more perceived flexibility, employees have less time to take care of themselves throughout the day – to eat regular meals, get up and take a bio break, or take other basic wellbeing actions. In order to fix this, companies first need to better define what expectations are. Second, managers have a key role to play in role-modelling wellbeing behaviours. Managers need to be evaluated by companies not only by business output, but also through reviewing managers on leadership and the wellbeing of their team. 

What are your thoughts on how Wnet and the industry can move the needle concerning diversity and inclusion?

Companies who make progress are building a focus on diversity into their everyday company operating model. This includes tracking diversity metrics not just by gender and race but also at the intersection of both. It also includes holding senior leaders accountable for progress on diversity, often through financial incentives or penalties. These companies have taken steps to minimise bias in HR processes such as embedding metrics in performance reviews.

Another important thing is allyship. Our research finds that when people have strong allies, they have a much better experience. They are more likely to be happy with their job and to recommend their firm to others. People with strong allies are also much less likely to be burned out and to have considered leaving their jobs. 

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2020, it will take 257 years to achieve gender parity in terms of economic participation and opportunity. What do you think are the main reasons behind these statistics?

Over seven years of research, we have seen the same trend: women are promoted to manager at far lower rates than men, and this makes it nearly impossible for companies to lay a foundation for sustained progress at more senior levels. Women of colour account for only 4 percent of C-suite leaders, a number that hasn’t moved significantly in the past three years. Another element effecting the pipeline is the increasing burnout rates for women. Our data shows that while all employees are increasingly burned out compared to last year, the gap between burnout levels for men and women has nearly doubled this year. A big factor contributing to this is the ‘always on’ nature that remote work has brought on. Not only is burnout bad from the perspective of caring for our employees, but it also hurts companies in terms of productivity and talent retention – employees who are burned out are 1.6x more likely to consider leaving firms or switching to firms with better work life balance if they are burned out.

What can be done to motivate women to work in the payments industry?

‘Make the investment!’ Invest in the things we know from research makes a difference. People want a workplace that is fair and provides opportunities. Three things make people feel like their workplace is fair. 1. Hiring people that are good and promoting people that deserve it 2. Feeling like your manager has your back 3. Sponsorship. 

If it were to give some advice to a younger self, what advice would you give?

So much of life is about serendipity! Do what you can to set yourself up to take advantage of opportunities when they come, but recognise that a lot of it will be out of your control. 

About Grace Klopcic

Since joining McKinsey in 2007, Grace has focused on helping financial services and technology companies explore new opportunities and achieve stronger revenue growth and operating efficiencies. Grace holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and MSc from Oxford University, and a BA from Harvard University.



About McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm committed to helping organisations create Change that Matters. In more than 130 cities and 65 countries, our teams help clients across the private, public, and social sectors shape bold strategies and transform the way they work, embed technology where it unlocks value, and build capabilities to sustain the change. Not just any change, but Change that Matters – for their organisations, their people, and in turn society at large.


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Keywords: investment, financial services, growth markets, financial inclusion
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Payments General
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech