Advancing gender-balanced leadership through networking, campaigning and mentoring


Henkel’s goal is to continually increase the share of female representation at all levels of the organisation. Our commitment to diversity has been recognised several times in the recent years, with BCG Gender Diversity Index 2019 putting Henkel at second place within the DAX 30 category. In 2019, the proportion of women in management positions at Henkel was around 36 percent, we welcomed more than 42% female new joiners and we continue strengthening our gender balanced acceleration via various ongoing initiatives. One of them is the RISE Network by Henkel Beauty Care.

What did you want to achieve?

The Henkel Beauty Care ‘RISE Network’ aims to advance gender-balanced leadership through networking, campaigning and mentoring.

What did you do?

RISE Network started at Henkel Germany and expanded globally, less than 6 months later. A LinkedIn community, as well as an internal collaboration Microsoft Teams channel were created, where the network communicates and exchanges on a regular basis.

The RISE Network organises monthly networking sessions in the form of Virtual Coffee & Connect one-hour webinars with inspirational internal and external guest speakers. Some of the key topics covered so far have been home office efficiency, strategic career planning, mentoring, unconscious bias and gender-balanced leadership. The monthly networking sessions have been joined regularly by more than 100 participants.

A RISE mentoring program was also launched globally in June, connecting almost 80 mentees with senior leaders, helping them develop their capabilities, confidence and competences to accomplish personal and professional goals and to broaden their network.

What are the results so far?

The RISE Community currently has around 500 online followers and it continues to grow. 

The participation rate has reached more than 100 attendees per session and more than 80 mentees have already joined the 12-months old programme globally. In addition, the initiative had a positive “pull” effect, with other business units, regions and functions adopting the networking and mentoring activities. 

What have you learned?

We learned that executive sponsorship from the start is a key factor for success. Additionally, raising awareness and an understanding of the purpose across all organisational levels is key to achieving organisational buy-in.

We also learned that a holistic approach to diversity drives greater change, that driving change needs specific and measurable targets where people are accountable and that this work in progress needs to be continuously monitored and reviewed.