As an HR professional, you may be among the first in your organisation to recognise talented young recruits who show the potential to become future leaders.
Making sure they get into those senior leadership roles doesn’t happen by accident though – they need support along the way, which includes things like leadership development, training and mentorship. This is even more important when it comes to grooming women to be potential leaders. Due to historical bias and disadvantages in the workplace, it’s often more difficult for women than men to move up through an organisation into these leadership positions.
As an HR professional, what can you do to ensure that talented young women eventually end up in these key management roles within your company?
Here are six places to start:
1. Understand the blockers
In her 2013 book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”, Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg says that although more corporations today are dedicated to workplace diversity, the lack of women leadership is a cultural problem. One example is the “network” effect, where people tend to hire from within their own network. Most women have a women-only network while men have a men-only network, which means that men are likely to hire other men. And, it’s traditionally men in upper management roles. Understanding the blockers that come with traditional perceptions about leadership is a good way to start ensuring that women in your organisation have as good a chance as men to assume those positions.
2. Recognise that there’s still gender inequality in the home
A study by LeanIn.org and McKinsey on corporate women in the workplace found that even in households where both partners work full time, 40% of women say they do more childcare, and 31% say they do more housework. In many cases, women are juggling this extra workload at home with their work commitments, which can put strain on their work performance and therefore their likelihood of being promoted. Offering things like flexible work policies can help women to balance their personal and professional lives, which improves performance and makes them more likely to be considered for leadership roles further down the line.
3. Make sure management is on board
In her article “the Role of HR in Developing Women Leaders”, London-based executive coach Catherine Cuffley talks about the importance of involving line managers in the overall vision of creating more women leaders. It’s well known that line managers have a huge impact on an employee’s working experience, so Cuffley says it’s important for line managers to support the women in their team in addition to the HR department. This management support leads to a more positive work experience in women that can help instil the confidence they need to eventually lead.
4. Invest in leadership development programmes
While a female employee may display huge leadership potential, it’s crucial that this ability is sharpened and developed in a practical way. An effective way to do this is to create a series of development programmes within your organisation, including mentorship programmes, training and executive coaching from existing senior leaders that nurture and groom these females to take on those roles in future.
5. Encourage women to support each other
Historical differences between how women and men are treated at work can still carry over today, even though we’re in 2017. Creating structures where women can support each other can be very useful in combatting this. For example, consider starting a women’s network within your company, where senior women can network and share skills with younger females who show leadership potential.
6. Make sure their health and wellbeing is taken care of
No matter how talented a young woman is in your company, if she doesn’t take care of her health and wellbeing, she’ll never able to perform optimally. From an HR perspective, you can help encourage healthy habits by offering a comprehensive medical aid, creating in-house lifestyle and wellness incentive programmes, and offering exercise programmes at your workplace for free, or at discounted rates.
Even though most organisations today are striving for equality, it’s an unfortunate fact that young women still face a tougher road than young men to get into key leadership positions. With the proper development, support and nurturing that’s spearheaded by the HR department, you can ensure that talented females you recruit go on to become strong, solid and dynamic leaders in future years.
Provided by Fedhealth.