How to Retain and Promote Female Talent

Jessica_TitlebaumGuest Contributor:  Jessica Titlebaum, WILD Co-Founder

My mentor once said that results are not exclusive to gender.  While this is true, it’s also important to remember that gender may produce different results.   According to Catalyst, there is a correlation between women on boards and a company’s bottom line.  In this regard, it may be strategic to focus on retaining and promoting female talent.  Here are a few tips on how to successfully manage diversity in the office this year.

Recognizing the differences

There was a study done by the University of Chicago that looked at male and female candidates applying for jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM.)  The study found that men tend to “inflate” their skills while women tend to underestimate their abilities.  If you think a female employee would be good at a certain job and she is not boasting her abilities, give her a short test related to the qualities needed and see how she ranks.  Recognizing that women may need a little more encouragement in the office can go a long way.

Initiating negotiation skills

Women might also benefit from strengthening their negotiating skills and talking about money. Condé Nast’s Glamour magazine recently surveyed 2,000 men and women on the topic of salaries.  Only 39% of women said they asked for a higher salary, when starting a new job, compared to 54% of their male counterparts.

Another study conducted by Citi and Linked In found that only 27% of women had asked for a raise in 2014 and of that number, 84% got the raise.   These numbers hint that some women are still unjustifiably uncomfortable talking about money.

To combat this, talk about these topics or send your female employee to a negotiation class or workshop.  Not only would it help her, but also it would help you when she is negotiating on your behalf or for the firm.

Build a network

Another suggestion is to get your female employee involved with industry activities.  This gives them the chance to build their network and identify role models and mentors.  Have you ever heard that saying, we are who our friends are? We tend to adjust to the people around us and a mentor’s behavior would rub off on your employee.  This might help with professional growth as well as your firm’s business development initiatives.

Conclusion

It’s important to show your female talent you support their professional development.  By recognizing their differences, addressing their needs and helping build their network, you could also be impacting your bottom line.

On a final note, I have learned that relationships are the most important thing to women.  Establishing and maintaining relationships is one way we navigate our career path.  Anyone that built us up, would be someone we kept alongside on the journey.

 

Sources:
Bussey, J. Gender Wage Gap Reflects the ‘Ask’ Gap (The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 10, 2014) Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com 

Zingales, Z.  Why Women Find It Harder to Get Math-Based Jobs (Chicago Booth Magazine, Fall 2014)

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