Today is International Women in Engineering Day! I've particularly enjoyed seeing posts on Linkedin, and articles giving kudos to some of the fabulous female talent that orgnanisations want to recognise.
There are now a number of International days across multiple industries celebrating women, and I am always curious to see how businesses are "celebrating". Often they'll send out appreciative gifts, or get guest speakers to come along and do a talk (something I've been invited to do previously). A lot of these hold only the best intentions, but for a lot of businesses this can also come across a little like "box ticking".
What changes after that day?
What decisions are made to drive strategic growth in female talent as an ongoing initiative?
Who actually asks women what would make them feel more valued?
If addressing gender balance in senior leadership roles is a goal in your organisation, it might feel like a bit of a minefield to retain top female talent in a changing world.
Top 5 tips to consider
1. Getting feedback from the individuals as to what would help them to feel they had long term career progression options available in your business. Encourage women to speak to one another to get ideas flowing before presenting them back. Actually be open to suggestions rather than having caveats on what the responses can be!
2. Review company policies to ensure things such as flexible working and maternity options are accomodating throughout various stages of a career lifespan.
3. Ensure company cultures around equality are truly being honoured at team level. Invite feedback from team leaders & managers as to how they are specifically implementing & managing this.
4. Consider development paths that are available. So often, unless empowered to think creatively, we only see a linear career development path rather than where our skills and passions would be best utilised in the business. You could risk losing a fantastic team member because they have no desire to move into a Marketing management role, but have the perfect skill sets to do a Project Management role within the IT department.
5. With this in mind, empower women to have the confidence to co-create their own career paths! When there is a culture of senior leaders being open to any suggestions, inviting people with the specialist knowledge in their area to be part of the bigger decisions means the team members will feel heard and therefore more understood.
Are you doing any of these things currently?
Don't wait for topical milestones to empower your female talent; make it part of your DNA!