As we explain in our soft skills training course, “Business Skills for South African Women”, women bring something different to organisations. They’ve got multipurpose life and work experiences and through this offer more versatility than their male counterparts.
“Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world” – Tian Wei, CCTV News
They dominate in skills like, relationship building, leading with emotional intelligence, creative thinking and problem solving. Diversity is always beneficial for any organisation to make more multi-dimensional decisions and secure a competitive edge. Yet, so many women are leaving their jobs. A trend that businesses simply can’t afford and need to prevent.
Why are women leaving their corporate jobs during the prime of their careers?
More and more women are leaving their corporate jobs during the prime of their careers. In an article published on the Harvard Business Review in 2016, they mention that a global ICEDR study “…revealed that leaders believe that the majority of women around the age of 30 leave because they are struggling to balance work and life or planning to have children, whereas men leave because of compensation.
However, according to women themselves (and in sharp contrast to the perceptions of their leaders), the primary factor influencing their decision to leave their organizations is pay. In fact, women are actually more likely to leave because of compensation than men.” There are several reasons why any person might leave their job, like changing career paths; unhappy or bored in their job; a career change; another opportunity; better compensation; to pursue their own venture; health reasons; relocating etc.
But times have changed drastically, especially for women as the main ‘caregiver’ and in many cases the main ‘provider’ of the household. Over the past two years we have been trying to coexist with this pandemic within our work and personal lives. Remote learning, closing of care facilities, domestic challenges and economic pressures have increased and more and more women have had to relook at how their work and domestic lives can be synchronised. Suddenly things like health and wellness, family responsibility, flexibility, better compensation etc., are influencing decisions about career paths and career growth.
How can organisations retain Women Leader talent?
Modern organisations should change with the times and adapt to the needs of their female employees in order to close the gender equality gap quicker. And as we’ve explained, diversity and inclusiveness in any organisation is a good thing. Focus on the following to retain your women executives:
· Provide flexibility and empathy.
Women are expected to juggle family, social activities and work and must still look good, confident, knowledgeable, and professional through it all. Working from home might sound like a nice perk, and don’t misunderstand, it might help in some ways but it brings a different set of complications. Kids need home schooling, the dog barks in between meetings and every now and again the internet might drop at home. Flexibility, empathy, and a sense of understanding the situation, will go a long way in building a loyal relationship with your woman-execs.
· Invest in skills development.
Women want to learn and upskill themselves. They need to feel uplifted and want their employers to invest in their professional development. Women feel empowered and appreciated when organisations invest in their skills development which will make them think twice before considering other opportunities.
· Cultivate Woman focused Workplace Wellness.
Women have little time for themselves and require a sense of work-life balance. They need convenience so that they can balance both their careers and their family lives. Businesses should be devoted to wellness and offering women solutions like, accessibility to childcare, workplace counsellors, wellness programmes, for example, a quick gym or massage session etc.
· Encourage mentorship.
Guidance and the suitability of having a mentor at work gives a woman a safety-net mentally and keeps her loyal to the business. She feels more confident with a mentor by her side. Someone she can relate to and guide her through challenges. Not just on a professional level but also with daily life struggles. Lessons and experiences that mentors share with a woman, helps her with self-discovery and to find her voice.
· Give support.
Women need to feel connected. Give a platform where there is active listening and communication. Providing support groups, giving assistance and by opening all communication channels, companies create opportunities for women to connect with their peers, share common interests and bounce off ideas. Strong connections equal loyalty.
· Align compensation
At many businesses, the salaries of women execs are still not in line with that of their male colleagues. Relook compensation packages and the reasons behind the different pay-scales. Although many companies might think that women don’t need or want a bigger salary for whatever reason, fair is fair and women should be appointed and paid according to what they as an individual bring to the table, exactly based on the same criteria as their male co-workers.
The Covid Pandemic is not disappearing anytime soon and will pose many future challenges for organisations. Be mindful of what employees go through, their needs, their circumstances, and their hurdles. Businesses that care about retaining their talent, should make equality, diversity, transformation, and wellness a priority.