Forbes has named BCD Travel to its 2018 list of America’s Best Employers For Women, coming in at No. 73 in the lineup of 300 companies.
BCD is the only major travel management company to make the inaugural list, which is based on anonymous surveys of 40,000 Americans working at firms with at least 1,000 employees. Respondents, who included 25,000 women, graded businesses on working conditions, diversity, parental leave policies, discrimination and pay equity.
“We’re pleased to be in the top third of companies recognized for creating a workplace where women can succeed,” said Kathy Jackson, the BCD executive vice president who oversees Global Program Management and the company’s sustainability initiatives.
“Diversity is an important factor in our business success,” she said. “Globally, our staff is 70% women and 30% men, reflective of the traditionally female-oriented travel industry. Our workplace programs, including sponsorship, mentoring, training and coaching opportunities, help guide our employees to advance their skill sets and careers. Our flexible work policy supports working from home and shared parental leave, helping our employees accommodate priorities outside of work.”
BCD has been praised for workplace flexibility and remote working opportunities. Globally, about a third of employees work from home; in the U.S., 72% of the workforce is virtual. The company also has been recognized for its Confident Self initiative, which supports BCD’s business priorities by developing its people and empowering them to succeed. The initiative is designed to give employees a clear vision of what success looks like and how to achieve it. Last year BCD became the first travel management company to achieve accreditation from Investors in People, a globally recognized workplace ratings firm.
Women are on the rise at BCD. “Because of our demographics, we have a larger share of women getting prepared for leadership than men,” explained Christian Dahl, senior vice president of Strategic Talent Management & Global Human Resources. “We’ve recently increased our leadership training offering, and participation reflects our overall workforce—about 70% of trainees are women. We always want the best-qualified candidate to earn promotion. Because most of our employees preparing for leadership are women, a majority of the best-qualified candidates for leadership positions in the future should be women.”
Right now, 50% of BCD’s management team (directors and above) is female. “But when you get to the executive level that’s not true, and we need to do a better job of making sure we maintain as good a gender balance as people move up the ranks,” said Mike Janssen, BCD global chief operating officer and president of its Americas region. He recently spoke about the company’s gender diversity efforts at an event organized by WINiT for Women. The group, which partners with BCD, advocates for increasing the number of women in leadership roles in the business travel, meetings, events and exhibitions industry.
“We don’t have a perfect formula, but we continue to be committed to giving this the attention it deserves,” Janssen said. “This is a critical business issue because we don’t just want to be competitive in the market—we want to be competitive in recruiting, retaining and promoting the people who are going to help us be the best. Companies with women in leadership posts perform better, have higher sales rates and show better returns on equity.”