New Zealand has a lower than average rate of females in senior management and executive leadership roles. Currently, only 20 per cent of senior roles are held by women against the global average of 25 per cent, according to Grant Thornton’s 2017 Women in Business survey.
Female leaders bring a unique set of strengths to an organisation that can positively impact both company culture and the bottom line. Research undertaken by United States research organisation Catalyst found that Fortune 500 companies with more female board directors attained “significantly higher financial performance” than those with less.
There’s a great deal an organisation can do to attract and retain female talent. Women often have different needs in comparison to their male counterparts, and companies need to evolve their employee value proposition (EVP) and policies in order to appeal to the country’s top female talent.
Create a gender equality environment
Maintain a workplace women want to be part of by supporting fair pay and inclusive policies. New Zealand currently has a pay gap of 12 per cent – but this doesn’t mean your organisation needs to endorse a disparity in pay for candidates in the same role with the same skill set and experience. Instead, work towards creating a company culture where performance is what counts, not gender and clearly communicate this to potential hires throughout the recruitment process.
Offer family-friendly benefits
There is a huge basket of benefits companies can use to lure and retain the best female talent, ranging from flexible working arrangements to preschool-hours and on-site child minding services to holiday programmes for school-aged children. More companies are focussing on productivity rather than fixed in-office working hours to help working mothers juggle the role of business leader and parent.
Develop a leadership pipeline
Another way of ensuring your organisation attracts and retains top female talent is to create a leadership pipeline within your company by identifying high performers with the potential to take on key executive roles. According to the Harvard Business Review, the fundamental rule of developing a leadership pipeline is to marry succession with leadership development. This will allow your organisation to get the best of both worlds: attention to the skills required for senior management positions along with an education system that helps managers develop those skills. High performing female leaders need to be stimulated and challenged in order to stay committed, so create opportunities for growth and career development to keep them engaged and loyal to your business.
While imposter syndrome may affect both men and women in senior management and executive leadership roles, offering life and/or business coaching as an additional EVP benefit is a great way to make your company more attractive to prospective female applicants. This can offer women the right support needed to accelerate their career within the company, provide clear direction and manage their work-life balance.
Have zero tolerance to harassment
In the United States alone, about 70 per cent of all incidences of sexual harassment aren’t reported, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report. Create a safe environment for all employees (men and women) by enforcing a workplace policy that does not tolerate sexual harassment. It’s vital to clearly communicate this policy to all staff so they’re aware of what’s appropriate and offer training to senior managers to deal with incidences of harassment. A company with strong and clear standards is attractive to new recruits because it alludes to a safe and professional working environment with a good internal culture.
We are a solutions-focused recruitment firm that has the skills and experience to attract, select and appoint the world’s best talent for management, executive and governance level roles in New Zealand or aboard.
If you want to take a proactive approach to your talent management, contact us today.
The Decipher team