Increasing Your Female Talent in 2022 (Hiring Manager Series)

Increasing Your Female Talent in 2022 (Hiring Manager Series)

Posted on 22 November 2021

​Take a quick look around your office. How diverse is your employee base? Have you yet to establish a more gender-balanced workplace? Here are some reasons why you may want to steer your company towards a more inclusive future, and some suggestions to help you do so.

The reason for this is simple. Expanding your field of vision when it comes to hiring potential employees means you have a larger pool of talent to choose from. If you’re accustomed to only looking at male candidates, you miss out on identifying others who may have better skills and qualifications. Depending on which country you’re hiring in, women make up 50% of the workforce on average, and that’s a lot of talent to skip out on. On top of that, research has shown consistently that gender-diverse teams boast more sales and profits than those that are male-dominated. Studies into Fortune 500 companies also show that those who have more female board members financially outperform those who have fewer female board members.

It’s not all about the money. Surveys have found a positive correlation between having more women in the workplace and employee engagement. Regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity, employees report having more positive interactions in the workplace and a more meaningful organizational culture. Men in the particular report increased job satisfaction and a better work-life balance.

Given these benefits, why wouldn’t you want a more diverse workplace? Here are some ways you can attract and retain female talent.

A key strategy to retaining any employee is to provide them with a mentor. Ensure that your female employees have access to mentorship programs, and build a bridge between them and senior leaders in the company. Providing them with role models can make a big difference for females who want to move on to leadership positions, and can help prepare them to take on bigger roles and responsibilities. Encourage your female employees to choose leadership positions. Make sure that the mentors you chose are trustworthy and have your employee’s best interests in mind.

Assuming that women make up around 50% of the workforce, chances are you’ll have a similar percentage of female applicants, although this may vary depending on your industry. Set a target to increase the number of female employees and ensure that your hiring practices focus on qualifications and job compatibility. Make sure whoever is interviewing candidates and signing off on new hires is fair and unbiased.

Next, take steps to ensure that you can retain the female talent you already have. Examine your workplace culture and talk to your employees. Do they feel included in the office, or are they kept out of after-work drinks? Do their supervisors ensure that they are treated with the same respect as their male counterparts? Are there equal opportunities for advancement? It will be obvious in your policies and promotions whether women are truly members of your team or a ‘token’ diversity hire. If an employee feels they are not valued, chances are you will lose them and all their potential.

Review your salary and benefits packages and ensure that all employees are fairly compensated according to their qualifications, experience, and skill level. Women are very aware of the gender pay gap, so if you find that there are disparities among men and women at a similar level, identify which of your practices are responsible for creating this gap and take steps to correct it. Highly skilled female employees who are underpaid are more likely to leave for another company that will pay them what they’re worth.

Asides from salary matters, examine ways in which you can make working arrangements more flexible. Women are more likely than men to be the primary caregivers at home, and while that is a whole other social challenge in itself, you can do your part by allowing all employees regular work-from-home days. Institute a framework of childcare leave for working mothers andfathers. Bear in mind that more hours in the office does not necessarily mean higher productivity, and when you allow your employees a degree of flexibility in their scheduling, you’ll be surprised at how much more efficient they may become.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to be mindful of certain long-standing assumptions behind gender, and how these unspoken views inform your culture and practices. Women are more likely than men to be assigned stereotypes that can be damaging to their professional development. Instead of thinking “women are not natural leaders”, recognize that very few people — male or female — are, and that training and experience are essential to creating a confident leader. Instead of always delegating a female employee to buy a cake and a card for an office birthday, have a system of rotation involving all staff. Instead of assuming what women want (if it didn’t work for Mel Gibson, it won’t work for you), create a culture where all employees feel comfortable voicing out their needs and concerns and address these to the best of their ability.

Although this article focuses on female participation in the workplace, the same arguments can be made for people of other diverse persuasions, including people from other ethnicities and more mature adults. Make sure your policies don’t single out women and people from minority backgrounds, as this can add to their ‘othering’ in the workplace. Rather, your policies should apply to your staff as a whole. The core principle here is that diverse backgrounds bring all kinds of talent to your conference room, and having a vast well of experience to draw from means that your organization can make better executive decisions.

Again, good luck and remember to follow us on Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

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