I’ve covered getting curious, staying connected and being confident as the keys to attracting women in technology and keeping them at your company. In this last article in the series, Part 5, let’s talk about intentions and commitments. They’re not only good for women in the tech workforce – they’re good for everyone at the company.
Key #5: Set Intentions and Make Commitments
“Mentoring is as vital a training tool in the small business arena as it is in the corporate world. Established women business owners who share their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of women entrepreneurs are providing them with real-world experience that simply cannot be taught in the classroom or a textbook.”
― Sheila Wellington
In Why Good People Cannot Get Jobs (Knowledge@Wharton website, June 20, 2012), Professor Peter Cappelli of Wharton School has claimed there is a “training gap” as opposed to a “skills gap.” In 1979 young workers received an average of two and a half weeks of training per year. By 1991, only 17% reported having any training at all during the past year and by 2011 only 21% said they had training during the past five years.
The truth is that NOT investing in the workforce all but guarantees they will leave – or worse, they quit and stay. It’s no wonder the Gallup survey shows that only 30% of workers in the United States are engaged in their work. They’re not valued. Or at least they feel that way.
The first commitment is to training.
Offer programs that provide new perspectives as well raise awareness and counteract unconscious biases. Establish coaching and mentoring programs led by women in technology to provide both technical and leadership growth opportunities.
Borrowing a bit from Sir Isaac Newton (apologies in advance), a worker who is engaged will remain engaged until acted upon by an outside force. An outside event, or force, creates an opportunity for someone to reevaluate his or her situation – lose focus. Interruptions from co-workers, instant messages, emails and moments of boredom are distractions that decrease productivity. Whenever these things occur, people can choose to disengage from the work they’re doing and, furthermore, they can choose to move on to something else prior to “getting the job done.” Often, they’re not making a conscious decision at all. They’re reacting based on their subconscious mind and based on what naturally motivates them at the core.
The second commitment is to finding “the right person for the right seat.”
We are all naturally motivated by certain activities and experiences and mostly demotivated by others. Some of us are “naturals” at creating community, or taking action, or solving problems or managing information. Commit to determining the core motivations needed for your team members and then commit to finding the right people for your team.
The third commitment is to the work environment.
Provide a work environment free from distractions while promoting collaboration. From physical layout to tools and systems the environment plays a big role in being able to focus, stay engaged and collaborate – even for remote workers and virtual teams.
To keep top talent, create an innovation culture that not only fulfills the mission of your company, it enables women technologists genuine opportunities to fulfill their missions as well.
In conclusion . . .
commit to an innovation culture where being curious, connected and confident is encouraged and celebrated.
Read all Four Parts of this Series:
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 1 – Culture of…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 2 – Get…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 3 – Stay…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 4 – Be…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 5 – How to Pull this off