Women in the Workplace: How to Retain Female Talent

Millions of Americans have left the workforce due to the ongoing public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has particularly impacted female employees who had to become the primary caretakers of their children when schools and daycares closed. As a result, many women had to leave their jobs, and companies lost some of their most outstanding employees. Now companies need to spend time deciding how they can better accommodate, empower, and retain female talent with children.

I am a life coach, helping ambitious working moms become their best selves every day. Part of this is educating companies on how to better support women in the workplace, especially those with children. Using valuable insights from my clients and my own experience as a working mom, I’ve put together five suggestions for companies on how to retain female talent, both pre and postpartum.

Find Out How You Can Support Women in the Workplace

Administering a survey is one of the best ways to determine your company’s ability to hire and retain working moms. Ask open-ended questions so you can find out more about the challenges female employees face and which are the most important. If possible, allow them to give their opinion anonymously to share their feelings without worrying about retribution.

Revamp Your Company Policies & Benefits 

Once you’ve reviewed the survey, you’ll better understand the company policies and benefits that need revamping. For example, do the majority of female employees want paternity leave or extended maternity leave? Or perhaps they would prefer a more flexible work schedule? The company can also assess its employee performance evaluations, possibly changing from time-oriented to task-oriented. 

Whether female talent want to feel more involved during meetings or expectant moms require a designated parking spot, companies should accommodate the needs of women in the workplace. Listening to your female employees, and implementing change, can make it easier to retain talented pre and postpartum female employees. In doing so, you’ll not only improve your business, but women in the workplace are more likely to feel heard and acknowledged.

Start a Mentorship Program 

A study published by McKinsey, titled ‘Women in the Workplace 2020’, reveals that women may face significant roadblocks without the right mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. For example, a sponsor can amplify the voice of lower-level female talent, while a mentor can help guide women towards their career goals.

An official company mentor program is an excellent way for you to capitalize on your most fantastic resource, your employees. It also demonstrates the company’s commitment to nurturing talent and providing employees the opportunity to learn from a trusted advisor. Retaining female talent is far more likely for those companies who actively invest in their professional development. Women in these types of workplaces are also likely to be more loyal and productive. This further increases female employee retention rates.

Create an Employee Reward and Recognition Program

Every employee wants their manager to acknowledge their hard work. This recognition is especially true for pre and postpartum female employees who may quit their jobs due to feeling unappreciated, dismissed, or victim to gender inequality in the workplace. If possible, create a monthly reward and recognition program for outstanding employees. This straightforward strategy will foster a positive work culture and inspire employees to improve their work ethic. Working moms will also enjoy the positive reinforcement, especially those working from home who still want their efforts acknowledged outside the office.

Close the Wage Gap Between Your Employees

The pay gap between male and female talent is a long-standing issue of gender inequality in the workplace. It impacts female employees across all socioeconomic and racial groups in almost every industry. Companies should advocate for women in the workplace by closing the wage gap. After all, there’s a higher chance of female talent remaining loyal if they receive equal pay for equal work.

Make it Easier for Working Moms to Progress in Their Career

Are your pre and postpartum female workers anxious about potentially losing their job? Do the women in your workplace fear they’ll miss out on a promotion because of maternity leave? A top tip for supporting female workers is developing tools and creating opportunities that will allow them to advance their careers like their male counterparts. One way to do this is to focus on results, not on time spent; a great way to support a working mom’s need for flexibility. By creating opportunities for women, you can also tackle gender inequality in the workplace, encouraging female leadership and retaining your female employees in the process. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that moms are some of the hardest workers on the planet. With the right strategies and support, you can create a supportive environment for pre and postpartum women. In doing so, your company can encourage women in the workplace to thrive at all stages of life.


How Onboarding Technology Can Improve Talent Retention

The ability to recruit and retain talented employees, one of the most highly coveted resources for businesses of all sizes, is critical to industry success. It therefore comes as a surprise (at least to me) that many companies allow talent to slip through their fingers. How can this be? That’s simple: By failing to provide the effective onboarding experience new hires need.

The good news is that more enlightened employers now turn to technology to provide new staff with that very important workplace introduction. It is a structured yet flexible process designed to encourage employees to assimilate the culture of their new organizations, and as a result, stay for the long term.

A High Turnover of Talent

If you are looking for evidence of problems with staff retention, then look no further than the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey. This annual survey questioned more than 7,000 Millennials from around the world (though it’s not strictly a “Millennial” issue), to find out more about their attitudes toward work. As this graphic from the survey illustrates, fully a quarter of respondents expected to change their job in the next 12 months. Nearly half (44 percent) expected to jet within two years, while two-thirds think they might last until they end of 2020.

How Onboarding Technology Can Improve Talent Retention

While you could say that this lack of loyalty is due to the many stereotypes that trail the Millennial generation, the bottom line remains: An ineffective onboarding strategy certainly won’t encourage them to stick around longer, either. Remember that Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce in the United States, so new employees are almost exclusively from this cohort. This means employers must up their game to retain new recruits.

How Technology Can Aid Retention

Many of us remember the traditional (low-tech) onboarding process: Sit in a room, sign forms, skim some manuals, then be shown to a desk and get to work. Today, onboarding is an area where technology can be incorporated to enhance and simplify the process:

  • Communicate the culture and ethos of the organization
  • Explain policies and procedures and complete compliance documents online
  • Clarify roles and setting short- and long-term goals to aid development
  • Aid communication with managers and coworkers by way of forums, video conferencing, and social media outlets, for example.
  • Measure performance, evaluate progress, and provide feedback.

Technology can, of course, only go so far in HR management, with intervention and communication from real people always playing a vital role in the induction process for new employees. It will be a very sad day if a new hire is sent a software package and told to get on with it, however sophisticated that software might be. What a tech-heavy onboarding process can do though is deliver a more consistent, measurable, and effective experience to the benefit of the employer, the employee, and—at the end of the day—the company’s bottom line.

Harnessing Technology Solutions

Let’s look at some examples where technology solutions have already been introduced to enhance the onboarding process.

Empowered Development. One company using onboarding tools to help new employees settle in is the non-profit organization Ashoka. The Financial Force human capital management system, which acts as a hub for information within the organization, allows new staff to complete a number of tasks in the early days of their new jobs. According to operations director Asha Aravindakshan, “The first day sets the tone of the employee’s experience with the organization. All of the tasks help employees get settled in.” The system also allows the new employee to set their own goals, something that Aravindakshan says empowers them to “own their development.”

Aravindakshan also agrees that the software has made the job of HR easier with a streamlined induction system and online resources for new entrants.

Early Introductions. Addressing “first day jitters” is the goal of software developers ADP. Their software has features such as a facility for text and video introductions that can introduce new employees to coworkers, managers, and the company culture even before they enter the workplace.

Administrative functions and legal requirements are also covered; even integration with Google maps is included so new employees don’t get lost their first day at the office. Alex Outwater, senior director of product marketing for innovation and technology at ADP has this to say about the potential benefits for new recruits: “When employees step foot in the office, they know their team, they know their environment, they have met their manager, they have learned about the company, they have taken care of their paperwork. They have figured out where the office is.”

A Workout for the Workforce. Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of onboarding platform Yoi, suggested that using digital tools for onboarding is akin to consulting a Fitbit to stay healthy. Yoi, according to Ferrazzi, is based on a concept of “experiential learning” delivered in relationships with others, which produces results better than those of more traditional e-learning or instructional methods.

The result, Ferrazzi says, is a collection of onboarding tools that can deliver the right actions at the right time throughout the entire induction process. Through a range of assignments and assessments, managers are able, via a desktop interface, to customize the onboarding experience for all new employees. This way, says Ferrazzi, managers have the opportunity to not just boost engagement, but also to identify challenges for new recruits and take appropriate action to support them.

One thing is for sure: Technology is having a huge impact on how business is getting done. It’s interesting to see the variety of ways in which technology is being incorporated into the onboarding process. What has your experience been, either as new recruit or employer? Have you found the use of onboarding technology to be beneficial? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Graphic source The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey

Additional Resources on this Topic:

Technology Can Save Onboarding from Itself
The First Steps to Transforming Work Culture
The Impact of Technology on HR and What’s Ahead

Photo Credit: johnkasperolympics Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on FOW Media.