#WayForward with Isabelle Borg, CEO DOIT-smart, Zurich, Switzerland

In the #WayForward series, CEOs tell us what’s on their mind in coronavirus times. Read how Isabelle Borg, CEO of DOIT-smart, sees things.

Isabelle Borg #WayForward visual

Imagine that you’re in the middle of an important sales campaign when the lockdown hits you hard. Some HR departments cut their budgets for external consulting by 90%. Not only do you have to stop your sales campaign but you also watch your existing pipeline shrink by 50% or more within days. This is our situation.

We are a team of five – three of us are on the payroll – and we have a network of consultants who work for us. It’s a gigantic challenge. We currently work virtually with our clients but the longer this lockdown lasts the harder it will be to generate any business at all on the topic of diversity in the near future.

My best tip for other CEOs is that they use this opportunity to move away from a culture that cherishes presence and control to a culture of trust. Such a business stands out through flexibility and collaboration. It gives working parents – fathers mainly, in the context of the typical Swiss workplace situation – time to support their families by other means than just bringing home money.

Isabelle on gender-diversity in Switzerland: “Switzerland lags 20 to 30 years behind Scandinavian countries. Our tax and education systems don’t support both parents working and disincentivise thousands of well-educated women to participate in the job market and pursue a career. Besides the structural issues, stereotypes hold back the advancement of women in the workplace. We should address these problems independently from whether or not we’re experiencing a major crisis.”

Isabelle on flexible working: “Flexible work is a cornerstone of creating more equal opportunities for women at the workplace. Companies are now practising this as many employees work from home and cannot deliver at 100%. The downside is that we don’t get the best possible version of remote work and part-time work as many of us also have to teach their kids at the same time. The upside: Men who did a smaller part of the family work than their partner now get a much deeper understanding of what it means to care for the kids 24/7. As a society, we will learn from this experience.”

#WayForward Table Of Contents: Click here to get to the #WayForward series’ Table of Contents with all the posts we did with CEOs plus recordings of media events where the WayForward insights are discussed.