Ricochet News

Attracting female talent is not one-size-fits-all

By Anne Allen, Director of People Experience, Xero - Jul 26, 2017
Attracting female talent is not one-size-fits-all

While a lot of organisations recognise the importance of gender diversity as essential to business success, too many treat related attraction, recruitment and retention activities as one-size-fits-all. This approach won’t move the needle as, despite being well-intentioned, what works for one person might not for another.

Gender diversity is less about being politically correct, and more about ensuring your business is an accurate reflection of your customers. Businesses benefit from diverse thought at all levels, and by making the gender diversity conversation a meaningful one and making the appropriate practical changes, you can attract diverse talent and ensure everyone has equal opportunity to progress.

Break with tradition

In today’s working environment, the old notion of climbing the corporate ladder has been thrown out the door. Thanks to cloud technology, where all genders have more opportunity for flexible and remote working, the way careers form looks more like a jungle gym, and each individual’s journey to the top of the playground is unique, rather than a set path. Think of sidewards steps, or making a leap across, perhaps even choosing to slide down as well as climb up to facilitate a different route entirely. For an individual with a growth mindset, anything’s possible from practically anywhere they wish to start!

Development is make or break

If you’re truly committed to developing the people in your business, open up a wide variety of opportunities for them to upskill. It is important to support broad learning and development initiatives rather than solely job-based training that supports people in their current roles. Find out whether there are people in your organisation who want to learn competencies like how to run a business or computer science and look at how these aspirations can be supported, even if it’s not directly linked to the role they currently perform.

Inclusion is key in creating accessible development programmes, and by offering everyone opportunities to get involved - looking at how and when that might be possible and even scheduling different timings - you can ensure that different people are able to get their views and ideas into the mix. By scaling up development programmes over time, employees build confidence and gain the experience to support their career aspirations. Thus, when the time comes for a new role, employees will feel equipped to succeed from their rich experience of previous learning opportunities.

Rely on rising stars rather than experience

It can be difficult to create leadership teams comprised of a diverse range of people and perspectives given that there often aren’t as many women out there with the experience. Keep an eye out for rising stars by being constantly on the lookout for new talent - whether it be at events or online. Be always willing to meet with new talent - even just for coffee. If you make these connections and proactively network, when it does come time to fill an open position, you will likely know the right person for the job and be able to offer them the opportunity to gain some experience.

By establishing talent pipelines in a way that reflects today’s career trajectories and creating opportunities at all levels for development across your organisation, you can ensure gender diversity is at the heart of your business. In doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that your organisation is recognising talent in all its guises.