How to attract talented women to your organisation

by Apr 13, 2016

Do you need to attract more talented women to your company?


Attract talented women

Attract talented women

Attracting  talented women and strengthening the talent pipeline is one that many organizations are understanding  that it is not just a moral issue or a “women’s issue.” It’s an overall business issue and a human issue which impacts men and women equally.

Despite the business case for gender diversity being overwhelming, the reality is that many companies don’t pay enough attention to their talent pipelines in general. Little thought is put into projected long term hiring needs or succession planning for men and women equally let alone specifically trying to attract talented women.

To achieve gender balance, cultural transformation is required and this is not always easy. It takes, commitment, discipline and determination across the leadership team. Many, including some women, will not understand the strategy and be resistant to change.  Companies have to set up processes to change the leadership culture and make sure that this filters down the ranks to everyone involved in the recruitment and hiring process.

It’s also not helped by the overall topic being riddled with dissent, with many contradictory views bounced around between international specialists.

Here are 10 ways to attract talented women

  1. Set gender balance targets. If it’s realistic correlate the achievement of targets to the bonus system with formal KPIs.  Targets are not popular – but the work.
  2. Give the gender balance role clout. Assign the gender balance role to a senior and well respected individual, preferably with an operational or P & L background in the business. Give him or her real teeth, rather than dumping it on a junior, overloaded employee, with no power. Or  worse still as a pre-retirement posting for an exec no one knows quite what to do with.
  3. Confront and manage unconscious bias.  Give all HR and recruitment personnel unconscious bias training – plus senior managers! [Tweet “Be aware of the “subtly male” culture in your organization and male coded messages.”]  Hiring managers are still asking women illegal interview questions.
  4. Optimize your job descriptions and adverts.  Minimize the risk of self de-selection by women themselves for any promotions or new jobs. Use software apps to test the male coded language.
  5. Aim for women on your short lists.  Commit to gender balanced short lists for C suite minus 4.
  6. Strengthen your talent pipeline via disruptive recruitment by “fishing where there are fish at junior levels. Stop whining about there being no women in your sector. Go and find them and then train them, where you know they will be. This is especially true for STEM.
  7. Create mentoring programs for women. If there are no senior women in your organisation find external women to act as mentors. [Tweet “Women cannot be what they can’t see and hear.”] Women’s networks do add value, despite the debate around them.
  8. Implement the much talked “human” approach to HR and walk this talk, with regard to family care support for both men and women. Create a culture where men and women can participate without the threat of career penalties being imposed.  Encourage men to take parenting leave. Hold meetings during core hours or support remote access.
  9. Grow a result driven culture. 24/7 availability serves no one well.  Get rid of male dominated and late night corporate events.  Make hospitality events female friendly.
  10. Introduce management development programs for existing women employees. Create returnee programs so that anyone who has taken a parenting gap can re-enter the workforce smoothly.

Organizations need to create a culture of confidence to develop that missing component of employee engagement. Retaining and attracting women to your organisation will help shift the balance.

 Book an appointment  NOW to discuss how to strengthen your female talent pipeline and how to make your organization a sought after target company. 

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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