Organisations and individuals across the globe will be celebrating and taking action towards the pledge for global gender parity (taking a stance for gender equality to you and me) to mark International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8th March). It’s therefore no surprise that at OnTrack, we find that the empowerment and development of women is an increasingly hot topic trending across our global locations … Our clients are telling us “We want to hang on to our talented women – can you help?”
As a result, some of OnTrack’s most recent assignments have involved targeted development interventions aimed at women in particular. This is an interesting and potentially difficult theme to navigate – a number of stereotypical pitfalls spring to mind; discrimination, victimisation, positive discrimination, alienation, equality/inequality….the list is long and the issue is not new. All the same – things are changing. We are sensing a shift in focus.
So, what is important when approaching this subject?
The overall objective is not to single out women or to treat them differently because they are…women.
The world of women in business is still different from that of men, for sure, but why always pitch women against men? As a group, the senior level females we are currently working with are also different in their requirements from other stakeholder groups within our client organisations – that of Graduates, School-leavers, those earmarked for succession planning to name but a few. Would it not make sense – budgets allowing of course – to address all stakeholder groups with targeted development programmes compatible with their specific needs?
So, what is important to senior-level women within our client-organisations right now? How can employers ensure that they retain their female talent within the business, whilst still catering for their needs whether they are connected to their work-life balance or a desire to propel their career into more senior positions?
From a HR perspective, there are many options open to you:
• Role sharing
• Focus on Virtual Communication reducing travel
• Childcare vouchers
The list is long and may be the topic for a future article.
The trend we are seeing, in addition to the above, is an increased focus on developing senior-level female employees with a view to set them up for success in planning their careers within their existing organisations.
Have you, as an employer, thought of offering targeted training for your middle – senior level women across all functions?
Areas you may want to focus on could be:
• Behavioural Analysis
• The thinking process
• Inter-cultural diversity
• Career Strategy
• Individual Coaching
Keep in mind, however, that this topic can at times be both delicate and prejudiced – not least by the female delegates themselves.
It is always a balance between making sure that you do not address your female delegates as ‘victims’ when in fact they are often quite the opposite – success stories of strong, female senior managers and leaders who have been promoted on merit and years of excellence in role – and making sure that you focus on a curriculum and programme pathway that feels relevant to your audience and delivers what you as an employer are hoping for – senior female talent retention.
Are you interested in hearing more about our flagship ‘Women OnTrack’ programme or would you like to talk to us about a bespoke solution tailored to your organisation? If so, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.