According to one recent study, women represent 47% of the entire workforce in the U.S. and 51% of the professional and technical workforce. With that kind of representation, it is clear that having women on an executive team at consumer packaged goods companies or elsewhere is critical. Furthermore, companies with more gender diverse executive leadership have actually been shown to be more financially successful.
Unfortunately, many companies still struggle to attract and retain top female executive talent, because they do not make it a priority. Following are just a few ways that a company culture can evolve to be more inclusive for female executives and ultimately build a more diverse team.
Build an Inclusive Culture
To attract new women employees, cultivate and enforce a company culture that encourages active listening and discourages interrupting, talking over people, and monopolizing meetings. One study suggests that when a women speak for just 30% of meeting, they are thought to have “dominated” the conversation. In the workplace it is simply too common for women’s opinions to be shouted down and discounted. If you can develop a company culture that values inclusiveness and listening, you will be much more likely to attract and retain female executives who know that they will be heard.
Listen to Your Current Employees
Your current female employees know better than anyone what it is like to be a woman in your company and what part of your culture are difficult for them to navigate. Create an open and non-threatening way for female employees to talk about the difficulties they face. This may mean bringing in an outside consultant or implementing an anonymous comment policy, but it can be an incredible start to making important culture changes that will have an impact on future hires.
Reassess Benefits Packages
While maternity leave might come to mind when you are considering how to make your organization more appealing to female executives, there is more to it than that. Other benefits that can be particularly attractive to female include flexible scheduling, onsite childcare, and an emphasis on work/life balance. As a bonus, these are policies that can attract better employees of all genders since many high performer value these types of benefits.
Bring Women into Hiring Decisions
One of the most effective ways of hiring better female talent at consumer packaged goods companies or others ensuring that your current female employees are involved in the hiring process. Even if your hiring team is all men, consider bringing in a woman from another department. This will allow potential hires to get honest insight on the company from another woman, which can be important in making a final decision as to whether to join your team.
Implement Women’s Mentoring Programs
Having a mentorship program, in general, is a great way to attract future leaders to your organization. Offering mentors to new female hires can be a boon to your efforts to hire more high quality female employees. Putting new female hires with upper level executives allows them to learn critical aspects of the business while also exposing those executives, who may be male or female, to more women leaders and allowing them to learn from their experiences.
Every woman is different and will have her own concerns when coming into a potential position. Deciding that hiring more women is important to the success of your company is an important first step, actually making the changes that will attract top female talent will be a bit more difficult, but it is worth the investment.