Women now make up 46% of the US civilian labor force and of the top management occupations, women only account for 27% in executive management positions1. With such a strongly disproportional representation in senior management, is your company doing what it can to promote women to management positions? Retaining female talent may require less than one may think.
According to United Kingdom survey of over 10,000 senior executives, women are less likely than men to apply for a senior position within a company that has rejected them for a similar role in the past2. Women, unlike most men, tend to believe that they are not a good fit once rejected and in turn, make them feel less qualified for a C-suite position. This may mean that your company is losing key female leaders before they even apply for an open management position. Many companies seek a diverse candidate pool but when it comes to ensuring your company is not losing internal female talent the London Business School recommends:
Being Proactive – Develop, maintain and refresh company hiring policies that seek to increase female representation in management positions. Reflect on how you recruit your internal candidates. Are you marketing positions to your entire organization? One should not rely on the best candidate to apply for the open position.
Communication — When companies make an investment in information transparency, such as a performance recognition program or in annual total rewards statements, employees are able to better understand their position, the company, their career path and the investment of the company into their personal successes. When reviewing your internal candidates for management positions, ensure there is a formal feedback process that gives your employees clarification of the company’s’ decision. No one likes rejection but it’s easier to take when one knows the reason why.
Standardize the Process – Similar to reviewing your company’s communication strategies, standardization of the selection process will set expectations and contribute to the transparency of your company’s policies.
1 US Department of Labor
2 Kathy Gurchiek, “Helping Women Get to the Top”, HR Magazine May 2017: 12
The Workplace Engagement Solutions, David Harder
The idea that employee engagement is an essential part of the potential success of a company is not news. Organizations spend billions annually on initiatives to boost engagement engagements. However, with engagement at only 13% globally author David Harder suggests the problem is that leaders are not teaching employees the skills they need to navigate the ever-changing business world and that it is the role and responsibility of the company’s leaders and HR departments to be the role model for the behavior they want to see transcend their organizations. Harder believes that engagement programs are not enough, that to truly engage your employee population leaders must take charge in developing programs that spread the conduct throughout the organization. Examples of this take charge movement may include C-suite executives owning the personality of their organization’s culture and changing the view of engagement from an expense to a source that generates higher profits.
Harder wrote this book to help business leaders to respond effectively to these and other challenges. They, in turn, would be well-advised to keep in mind this passage from Lao-tse’s Tao Te Ching:
“Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know;
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.”
Harder is able to paint a portrait of what an engaged leader may look like by giving the reader a multitude of information, insights, and advice to navigate what may work best within their organization. Overall, the book outlines a compelling answer to the billion-dollar question of how to actively engage your employees.
While I attended several great sessions at this year’s HRTEch conference in Las Vegas that included speakers from Google, APD, Oracle and Microsoft, the one that really had an impact on me HR Tech 20/20: That Talent Acquisition Journey Forward.
While some of the meetings revolved around tech trends like social recruiting, mobile optimization and advanced talent analytics, the most intriguing part for me was the discussion around the need for a shift in perception regarding talent acquisition from executive teams.
For decades (and still to this day), talent acquisition teams have been dropped into a cost center “box” by many executives. Considered a necessary process to fill empty jobs and follow metrics that do not actually present a competitive advantage for the organization.
Today’s candidates don’t sit around waiting for the right job; they drive their careers forward by engaging with potential employers on social and professional networking sites. Recruiters must have the tools to find these candidates, engage them with a positive candidate experience and, differentiate themselves from competitors. Very difficult to do when you are last in line for budget dollars. To really compete in the talent race, leadership must see talent acquisition teams as vital strategic partners that truly drive business goals.
In short, it was a call to all recruiters to make every effort to create a critical paradigm shift for the C-Suite. Convince them that they should be investing in the greatest competitive advantage there is – getting (and keeping) the best and brightest talent available.