Internal Brain Drain
We are at War; more specifically, the war on lost talent. Managers complain about the lack of enough qualified people to enter the leadership pipeline even with the current economic climate. Experts point to the companies inability in fully utilizing half their talent pool – a decade ago managers would say their female workforce would reach senior management positions in a short span of time, but how much longer can companies hire and promote over 75% of the men when over 60% of the worlds university graduates are women?
Organizations willing to become savvy about their female workforce will win this war for the finest talent, leadership and customers. Most would eliminate the impression that a “glass ceiling” is holding women back. Talented women are being recruited into companies with equivalence to men, but at every management level going up the chain of command, the number of women plunge and the number of men climb.
There are a couple of cases where women aren’t getting the promotions they deserve and a few getting out to set up their own companies in an area of personal interest or freelancing from the previous work function like consultancies.
Many managers are still of the notion that they promote based on merit but there is no doubt an error in their equation for measuring productivity.
The world and cultures of today’s companies has a preference for male styles. Unless we ensure a place for the female workforce, we may never have a chance at tapping into the best of the other half of the talent pool. The decade has shown, the numbers of women decrease on every step of the leadership ladder.
Another gender opportunity that businesses are losing out on is women as consumers. One has to doubt the managers in charge of the strategy seeing as how women make 80 per cent of purchasing decisions. This is not limited to just include clothes, accessories, groceries and cosmetics; but it now includes electronics, housing, cars and financial services. Unfortunately most companies aren’t doing their product development, consumer research or after sales service to cater to this market as much as they could. And the rewards are long term.
Many studies show that women prefer to make purchases from each other regardless of the product type – high or low end.
For years, programmes to promote women were directed at women. Despite the increased advent of programs directed at women in the form of coaching, leadership programs and assertiveness training, none have managed to elevate them to the alluded them to gaining access to the C-suite.
The most obvious suggestion here would be to make companies need to become “gender bilingual.” – That is learn, think like and speak the other language as well. They spend literally millions trying to teach employees to be culturally sensitive and pay attention to global business practices and differences; very few look within and try to break barriers of communication. It’s time to do the same thing with gender.
I wouldn’t go so far as blame men for being ignorant of the existence of a female language – modern times have encouraged women to be treated equally and the same but the fact of the matter is, we are not the same and that is the actual problem.
Organizations need to seek ways to understand the differences as well as opportunities that lay dormant so they can effectively manage their teams. This is because the women are increasingly aware of the these very differences; the time has come for companies to start to change their talent pool game plan i.e. to start focusing on helping integrate the up coming female talent into the systems, cultures, and leadership styles.
Despite the economic crisis many innovative companies using it as a time to adapt, rethink and reshuffle their traditional business models and styles to the future. They will be among the first to witness a big difference in their corporate performance in the next few years.
Ultimately, it’s a strategic business issue on driving the shift to women.