While most organisations have healthy percentage of women at the entry level, the number shrinks dramatically as they move up in the hierarchy. This is largely due to the changing personal and professional needs of the women employees in different phases of their lives and no or low support from the organisations to empower women talent is further contributing to the leaking pipeline. In order to create a robust and sustainable pipeline of women, organisation’s processes and systems need to be sufficiently developed to support the leadership and the key talents in this endeavour.
The right pipeline of talent will only emerge if key support processes such as succession planning, career management and management development are effectively structured and resourced to meet the needs. Organisations with well-aligned key business leaders, and effective business processes will come out ahead in the war for talent.
To create sustainable leadership pipeline for women, organisations must focus on all dimensions of employee life cycle through the inclusion lens.
Building Talent Pipeline
Organisations need to tap the gender gap from the very beginning, it will be right to say even before the candidate joins the organisation. Even the most experienced recruiting professionals face serious challenges filing critical roles and much of the problem starts from an inability to establish, nurture and grow a sustainable talent pipeline. Building a pool of women talent and revisiting for upcoming requirements, will automatically create a talent pipeline over a period of time.
Inclusive Recruitment Processes
A women candidate increasingly wants an accurate and honest impression of an employer’s workplace experience and culture before deciding to join them. Inclusive job design and advertising is essential for attracting talent. Sensitising recruiting professionals and hiring managers on the most effective ways of managing candidate expectations and experience is essential for creating an optimal and supportive hiring environment.
Research shows that regardless of how highly educated or previously successful women returning to the workforce are, they are still considered less-than-ideal candidates in the eyes of many recruiters. Even when they do get hired, many face a “motherhood penalty” – a set of biases against working moms and returnees, which ultimately cause many high-potential women to switch jobs or drop out.
Identifying and Developing High Potential Talent
Identifying high potential employees and providing them the right enablers is core element for creating leadership pipeline. High potential employees have the capability and continue to take on larger, more complex levels of responsibility. Leadership interventions are required to develop their ability to gain wisdom, the ability to integrate what they have learned and to apply it in varied settings.
Engaging with Talent
Keeping the employees engaged in organisational activities through focused interventions, basis their areas of interest and bring together perspectives of individuals from different backgrounds and with varied skill sets and experiences to create better outcomes for clients, employees, and communities. Ensuring inclusion through collaboration, events, workshops, role models, information sharing and engaging panel discussions. Create Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and continue exploring topics relevant to your employees for their professional advancement.
Creating Leadership Accountability for Talent Development
To drive change and make real progress, in my experience it’s imperative to have the right levels of leadership commitment and accountability. While it is important to actively engage leadership to impact on overall business and financial success of the organisation. It is also important to create accountabilities for leaders to manage people perception within the organisation and for overall leadership effectiveness, just as they are for the financial and operational success of the organisation. Creating a culture of mentoring and sponsorship of women talent will further strengthen the leadership pipeline. The various targets related to talent recruitment and elevation should be linked to the organisation’s strategy to assure the bench strength meets the organisation needs.
I firmly believe the focus areas mentioned above will pave the path towards building sustainable women pipeline and strengthening the operational, cultural and inclusion quotient of the organisations.
Author- Satinder Kaur/ Human Capital Transformation/PwC/Article first published on LinkedIn. She is Diversity & Inclusion specialist and has 14 years of experience in the field of human resource and development.