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Cultivating Women Executives: Lip Service or True Commitment?

Author: Emma

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Women today represent just under half of the labor force. Companies looking to attract and groom top female talent into leaders need to understand what it takes to attract women employees, and how increasing their on-the-job happiness and engagement through professional and leadership development is an essential component to retaining them. With the current social climate, it is en vogue to stand with the female empowerment du jour. Yet at many companies, female leadership development isn’t anything more than a veneer-deep corporate social responsibility checkbox item.

Flight risk

In our latest research of female job seekers, women told us that they were less of a flight risk if they felt like they were being developed and growing at their current employer. Feeling respected and heard in the workplace had a direct impact on their loyalty and their engagement level. In past research studies, formalized mentorship was a program that perennially ranked highly as a reason to consider an employer or stay on with a current one.

Concrete reasons

While companies might use a lot of flowery prose to promote all these features in their employer branding, today’s female job seekers are seeking concrete reasons to believe in a company’s support of a female-forward workplace. How would your company fare under scrutiny:

  • See It to Be It: How many examples of ascending and ascendant women do you have in your organization? Do you have a documented story of how they got there? Do you provide career mapping for your female employees to understand the path their journey will take to achieve their desired leadership position?

  • Formalized Mentorship: Does your company take mentorship of talent seriously? Is this a structured initiative, complete with metrics? Is mentorship a measurable responsibility of senior executives, with specific hours set aside for it every week, with documented accountability milestones, tasks, and goals?

  • Fully-funded, Recurring Training & Development: Like mentorship, is this formalized, planned, and tailored to the professional goals of the employee? Is there documented training and development spend per employee? Is there time allotted for this activity? Are employees discouraged – either outright or implied – to take advantage of these opportunities over their day-to-day job responsibilities?

In an increasingly transparent workplace, female job candidates will look to potential employers to verify that, when it comes to cultivating strong women leaders, they are putting their money where their mouth is.