March 25, 2021 BestCompaniesUSA

12 Ways To Increase Female Leadership In The Workplace

How can companies increase female leadership in the workplace?

To help your company increase female leadership, we asked business leaders and HR experts this question for their best tips. From offering mentorships and ally programs to removing societal stereotypes, there are several ways companies can increase female leadership in the workplace.

Here are twelve ways companies can increase female leadership in the workplace:

  • Invest In Training Programs
  • Provide Mentorship And Allyship Programs
  • Start With Great Leaders
  • Celebrate & Talk More About Women
  • Promote Flexible Workplace Schedules
  • Start Early
  • The Responsibility Is Ours
  • Look For Qualified Women From Within
  • Employee Resource Groups
  • Help Women Feel Safe, Empowered, And Heard
  • Remove Societal Stereotypes From Considering Candidates
  • Audit Performance In An Equitable Manner

Invest In Training Programs

Information security is a tough industry to get started in for women. There aren’t enough people willing to take a chance in an industry with so much at stake and so much to lose. Organizations can increase female leadership within information security by investing in training programs and making them readily available to all employees. By educating employees about information security, not only is an organization helping prevent security breaches, but they’re also helping employees become more aware of career options that exist within the company.

Nick Santora, Curricula

Provide Mentorship And Allyship Programs

First, promoting more women to senior executive positions needs to be a strategic priority. This includes setting goals and measuring progress. It’s not enough to recruit more women; companies need to nurture female talent and provide professional development opportunities. Mentorship and allyship programs can play a vital role in preparing women for leadership roles. And, of course, companies need to proactively address and prevent sexual harassment, discrimination, unconscious bias, microaggressions, and other behaviors that undermine efforts to recruit and retain women and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Andrew Rawson, Traliant

Start With Great Leaders

Being a woman in a leadership role for the past 15 years, I always believed I had the same opportunity as my male counterparts. I worked just as hard, raised my hand and voice, and said ‘yes’ to any opportunity that came my way for development and progression. It started with an internal belief that every opportunity was carved out just for me, even when the odds might have been stacked against me. The critical element was having strong managers who believed in me and allowed me to soar. Great leaders see potential and are multipliers for future leadership.

Jenn Christie, Markitors

Celebrate & Talk More About Women

We can simply celebrate and talk more about the women accomplishing great things in the workplace. To inspire young girls to enter the agile field, we broadcast a show live on the fourth Tuesday of every month to interview women in agile. We interview women who are leading scrum teams, building great products as a product owner or product manager, coaching or leading agile transformations, agile teachers and trainers, and any other women in roles that are related to the agile field. By celebrating the women succeeding in these roles, companies can increase female leadership in the workplace.

Debra Hildebrand, Hildebrand Solutions

Promote Flexible Workplace Schedules

To increase female leadership in the workplace, companies have to become open to the idea of permitting flexible workplace schedules. This is because many women who have children often feel torn between their families and their work, thereby predisposing women leaders to emotional stress and pressure. Some women shy away from management roles or resign from their positions when inflexible work schedules drive a wedge between them and their loved ones. To increase female leadership in the workplace, companies have to create flexible work routines for women, especially those in leadership roles. Not only will this help working women to achieve work-life balance, but it will also help them excel in their roles as leaders.

Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam, Time Doctor

Start Early

Women professionals, supervisors, and managers all deserve professional development opportunities at the earliest possible point. Neuroscience research shows that women’s brains are wired for leadership. When given even just the tiniest amount of mentoring, coaching, training, and professional development, tremendous accomplishments will occur. Women are more likely to communicate more effectively and more consistently. Give them an opportunity, and your women will far exceed your goals and expectations, and they will deliver quickly and drive record results.

Katharine Halpin, The Halpin Companies Inc.

The Responsibility Is Ours

As a woman, I can say that I am offended at the notion of adding more women to leadership roles for the sake of checking a box. Yes, there was a day when men dominated the world, but that day has passed. We have tons of women-owned businesses, and women lead the way in education and technical leadership roles. The bottom line is we need to hire qualified people and quit looking at gender, race, nationality, or any other aspect that has nothing to do with performance. If we want to be in leadership roles, we need to be doing what it takes to be qualified. HR and hiring leaders need to seek out who is best for the job without any discrimination or bias of any kind.

Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Leadership Development Coach

Look For Qualified Women From Within

So many talented women are overlooked for leadership roles simply because management tends to only remember either their humble beginnings or not see the potential they can grow into. That’s like family members who only identify you as who you at a certain stage in your life and not the person you have become. Smart managers know that putting current talent on the leadership track lessens the learning curve, encourages your workforce, and helps maintain a positive company culture. Create a process in which managers are required to seek out and develop talent from within their department to ensure that no one is overlooked and give the ladies a chance.

LT Ladino Bryson, vCandidates

Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are an excellent way to expand female leadership in the workplace. ERGs provide a safe space for like-minded people to connect, bring awareness to different perspectives, get answers, and support people like themselves. The positive effects of ERG offerings are immense. Facilitating these groups within your company can increase productivity, elevate an employee’s responsibilities, and create professional development opportunities. Those who are passionate and seek leadership opportunities can find them in these adjunct groups that encourage female talent growth within an organization. The new experiences, participation in mentorship circles, and networking with company executives can all increase visibility and opportunity for emerging female talent. These groups often host annual events to increase connectivity amongst their members and foster a more positive corporate atmosphere for every female employee.

Tyler Butler, 11Eleven Consulting

Help Women Feel Safe, Empowered, And Heard

One great way to increase female leadership in the workplace is by giving women an equal platform to be heard. This might look like allowing women to speak or raise ideas or concerns without being interrupted, talked over, shut down, mocked, or penalized. I have found that in the average workplace, these things happen much more often than most people would think, and bringing awareness is the first step in creating lasting change. Increasing female leadership starts with a foundation of making sure women at every level in your organization feel safe and empowered to speak their minds. It is also important that women feel like their contributions were heard and considered once they did so. This will foster a sense of growth and freedom, as well as dedication to the organization and desire to grow and lead from within it.

Jessica Mason, Digital Marketing Strategist

Remove Societal Stereotypes From Considering Candidates

The lack of women in leadership positions is prominent across all industries. Society views powerful women as a negative. If a woman asserts herself, she is still criticized, whereas a man is deemed ‘strong’ and a ‘leader.’ Companies need to remove these societal stereotypes and remove that bias when considering candidates for leadership positions. Companies need to promote an inclusive culture and empower women to speak up, and encourage them to take on more responsibility without the fear of being criticized.

Shelbey Grimes, Trinity Air Medical

Audit Performance In An Equitable Manner

The stigma that a woman has to choose her family or her career remains a major barrier to female growth in leadership positions. As a result, the quantity of work over the quality tends to be valued when considering who to promote. For women who want to strike a work-life balance, this degree of faux-dedication becomes unattainable. Companies that want to increase female leadership equitably must audit their productivity and performance expectations for senior-level positions. Prioritizing time off and more realistic goals would result in more opportunities for career and family-focused women to rise up and deliver strong performances.

Meghan Tocci, SimpleTexting

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