Now more than ever, the need for talent in your organization is critical. With the recovering economy but continuing virus fallout, distributors need the best and brightest employees throughout their organizations. Historically distribution has been challenged with the number of women in their businesses. With many parts of your organization changing, there’s no better time to improve your company’s policies and culture to retain and recruit women.
It is essential.
However, the pandemic has been a rough one for women in the workforce in all roles, boardroom or warehouse. It has taken on the nickname “she session.” Women with children, regardless of position, have been particularly challenged. This year’s McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace reports many working mothers who already had challenges of family care and household chores, are contemplating leaving the workforce or downshifting careers.
Having women in your workplace is good business, not only in leadership roles, but all across your organization. Research shows it sets you above the competition. Catalyst reports diversity and inclusion are key to healthy businesses for:
- Talent recruitment and retention
- Innovation and group performance
- Reputation and responsibility
- Financial performance
Here are three tips to help you build the right environment for recruiting and retaining more women in your organization.
1. Build the right culture.
Like customers, it is easier to retain and promote women already in your workforce. Retaining is about creating an environment both welcoming and supportive. Resetting norms around flexibility, for example, benefits all employees. It promotes employee engagement, commitment and healthy living. Companies like Best Buy have reduced turnover and improved productivity by using flex time.
2. Support and leverage organizations that support women.
In looking for new talent try connecting with groups supporting women in the distribution and manufacturing workforce. ISA’s Women in Manufacturing has recently expanded its efforts to support women at all levels throughout the industrial channel. Another familiar organization is Women in Manufacturing. However, there are others like Women in 3D Printing and Women of Gases and Welding.
Also check community groups providing training. In Chicago, for example, The Jane Addams Resource Corporation has Careers in Manufacturing Programs. Or consider something like The Mom Project, which has both potential candidates and ways to make your workplace better for moms and all employees.
3. Be aware of gender bias in hiring.
Dig a little deeper into the resumes you receive. A study from National Academy of Sciences showed the male candidates boasted about their abilities, while women downplayed their talents. But managers didn’t compensate for the difference when making hiring decisions. Some suggestions to combat these biases:
- Set specific diversity goals.
- Write gender-neutral job descriptions and deidentify the resumes.
- Use a structured, scripted interview process with a diverse interview panel.
Equality is not a gender issue; it is a social and economic imperative. The empowerment and equality of women contributes to better productivity of businesses and communities. Creating a ripple effect with positive change for everyone. It’s the right thing to do and the right time.
Gail Ludewig is the president of TotalWorks. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Foundation for Women and is involved with mHUB and it's support of women in manufacturing.