The term “Vanity Metric” was introduced by Eric Ries in The Lean Startup. I see it as the opposite of a good, meaningful metric. Vanity metrics are those easily measurable magic numbers CEOs of Fortune 500 companies brag about while playing golf with their counterparts. One of my personal favorite vanity metrics is the number of women in leadership roles, which really means nothing without an inclusive workplace culture. If these women are not able to bring their whole self to work and feel truly valued, what is there to celebrate?
Vanity metrics do not provide a clear picture on the effects of our actions. If a vanity metric goes up everybody wants to take credit but when it declines it is often blamed on external factors, people who no longer work for the company or whatever excuses they make.
Although a lot of companies say they have adopted #genderequality and #womensempowermentpolicies, it often remains a box-ticking numbers exercise instead of being fully embedded in the company’s culture. It will take at least another 125 years to achieve gender equality based on the current rate of progress. This is unacceptable!
Companies should embrace further steps to close the gender gap. Examples:
➡️ Invest in female talent early on
➡️ Implement gender-neutral recruitment policies and processes
➡️ Offer workplace flexibility
➡️ Recognize the diversity of women’s experiences in the workplace
Furthermore, shareholders should push companies to adopt better practices instead of pushing for representation numbers.
Clearly, it's not the whistle that pulls the train! What's your opinion on vanity metrics?