In today’s ever-changing business world with an inflationary economy, how can a company retain a competitive edge?
Companies can trim costs by retaining employees instead of hiring, and they can diversify by appealing to all demographic groups. They can also build better relationships with their customers.
Firms can accomplish all three with one strategy – hiring and promoting women. The following article discusses more about what female innovators bring to the business world.
Diversity, in gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, makes for better and more creative teams. The more perspectives you have on how to build and market a product, the better that product will be.
No company would only do half the research on a new product and then say that it’s good enough. Yet companies often bring products to market where women, or half the population, haven’t been involved.
But it isn’t just enough to hire women; firms also need to listen to them. Women are socialized to go along to get along. Good companies encourage women to speak up and protect them from bullying and harassment.
Soft skills like active listening, anticipating objections, and understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses are vital for business success. These also tend to be skills that women have more than men (though, of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone).
Women often don’t know how to apply soft skills in work situations, though. Coaching or mentoring women on building confidence in their soft skills can lead to better performance reviews and better retention, as this Stanford study found.
The coaching groups in the study also served as a way for the participants to network, bond, and relieve stress. Simply knowing that others face similar challenges can help alleviate burnout.
Women are grossly underrepresented in many professions, but especially in STEM fields. Only 24% of the US STEM field is female and that number dips to under 15% in the UK.
How can an organization move towards better hiring parity? The hiring process should include a diverse group of people looking over the candidate, not just white men. Hiring managers can also be honest with themselves about their own implicit biases.
Women are also less likely to apply for a job unless they feel they meet all the requirements, whereas men tend to apply if they meet most of them. Job descriptions should be clear about what’s actually a requirement and what’s just nice to have. This may encourage more women to apply.
Women also tend to stall out on the career ladder much earlier than men. They are more likely to be looked over for a promotion and more likely to leave the workforce to take care of family.
Companies can retain women by being more transparent about both salaries and how advancement works. Women who are paid the money they deserve and know how to achieve their goals in the company are less likely to leave.
When companies are retooling their benefits packages, women and employees with family demands on their time should be part of the process. Perhaps a company lags behind in parental leave or drops the ball on family insurance premiums. Providing employees the means to take care of their families makes it easier to keep them.
Hiring and promoting women is a key competitive advantage for any company. A diverse workplace is simply more dynamic and innovative.
Any firm can get ahead simply by taking the time to invest in female employees.