Signer Spotlight - January 2018

Stephen Denny, Head of Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer, Putnam Investments

Stephen Denny, Head of Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer, Putnam Investments

1. Why did Putnam want to be a lead sponsor of the 100% Talent Compact?

At Putnam investments, our CEO Bob Reynolds and his leadership team believe in having a meritocracy and for us that means equal pay for performance regardless of gender, ethnicity, or other representations of diversity. We truly believe that the mission and values of the 100% Talent Compact are in alignment with how we strive to manage and develop talent within our organization.

2. The wage gap isn’t just an issue of equal pay, it is also a matter of where women are in the company. What changes have you seen in the vigor of the pipeline for Putnam’s women employees?

At Putnam, we agree that equal pay is not the only issue in gender equality. That is why on an annual basis we conduct an assessment focused on talent management and succession planning in which we specifically identify women across the organization with the goal to increase their responsibilities and continue advancing them toward key leadership positions.

3. We know that company culture around gender equity in the workplace comes from the top down. How have you and other senior leaders been able to change the culture to make Putnam a more welcoming place for women?

At Putnam, we have a leadership team that truly practices and encourages an open-door policy. Leaders want to hear from our employees; Putnam leadership is very proactive in reviewing and addressing any themes that impact our ability to be a premier employer. We have reviewed our organization and are working diligently to ensure more women are placed in leadership roles. Research shows that an increased percentage of women in leadership results in more robust corporate profits. We are challenging the barriers that prevent women from progressing in the organization. A recent example is that we conducted research to establish benchmarks around our parental leave policy; as an outcome, we increased the amount of time off to support parent choices. We have increased flexibility with work arrangements, and this has led to a reduction in turnover. There is a lot more to be done, and our team is continuing to work with employees to meet their needs.

4. The financial services sector is known to be a male-dominated field. How do you get male employees to care about gender equity issues?

Asset management is a male-dominated sector but we continue to work towards creating an environment that embraces all employees.  Gender equity is about everyone having an equal chance. The aim with any equality initiative shouldn’t be to create an undue advantage for women, but simply to remove barriers to a level playing field. We work to amplify female talent while they stand side by side with their male colleagues to drive business success together, equally. We continue to engage men by asking them to keep an open mind to women’s issues. We also encourage the sponsorship of more women by men by having senior leaders take an active role in helping women develop and advance in the organization.

5. Putnam also supports many philanthropic initiatives, like programs that provide scholarships for underprivileged students. What connection do you see between access to education and upward mobility, particularly for young women?

Let me quote Martin Luther King Jr.: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” We invest in education because we believe that there is a strong return on that investment for our society. We are committed to upward mobility for young women because their success will help to build our future; we believe true education is a vital foundation for everyone.

6. The most unique part of the 100% Talent Compact is the anonymous data submission. However, in this day and age, data security is a top concern for a lot of organizations. What would you say to companies who are worried about sharing their data?

All the lead sponsors of this important initiative, which include Putnam Investments, Mass Mutual, Partners Healthcare, State Street, and Vertex, care deeply about the security of employee data. We have all reviewed the processes and tested the submission of data in various ways, and have determined the data is secure and the process is truly anonymous. We will continue to work with the 100% Talent Compact to ensure that we remain vigilant in the security and confidentiality of our data submissions.

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