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“Old-fashioned communication” is all that’s needed to attract female talent

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Businesses are crying out for practical solutions for acquiring, engaging and retaining their best people – especially women. But the challenge just isn’t going away. 

Major brands are introducing all sorts of policies in an attempt to tackle the problem, such as “offering financial assistance for female employees to freeze their newborn children”, according the Onion. It’s not too much of a stretch considering that Facebook has started covering the cost of freezing eggs.

But “women want to be women – they don’t want to put off life – they want to live it!” says Rasmussen. “Crucially we have found that women with an unsustainable work/life blend will leave the workplace due to poor well-being but their leader has the power to stop them.

“Our research has reinforced the idea that high achieving working mothers all share the same desire; to find the solution to achieving their own unique blend so they can fulfil their career potential. The good news for businesses is that it actually boils down to good old-fashioned communication and effective leadership.” 

Work/life balance

Amy Zhang, a managing member of Affinity Fund Services, explains that “male partners usually go out and bring back business. The female partners aren’t as social, or even if they are, they don’t have the time because of family obligations. Women did a fantastic job keeping the clients happy and loyal. However, since these contributions were not as obvious, they didn’t seem to be valued as much.”

Allison O’Kelly, CEO of Mom Corps, emphasises that companies looking to retain and attract female staff need to “find small ways to incorporate flexibility into the organisation”. 

And according to Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better, time is essential to women. Far commutes, fixed business hours which clash with children’s activities and meeting scheduled at the last minute are all part of a hefty list that could drive them away.

“As long as the employee delivers a quality end result by the deadline, it doesn’t matter if the employee works at 02:00am, or writes on a laptop while waiting for a child to finish soccer practice, or spends 40 hours on the project or ten hours on it,” Steere says.

Concerned with issues surrounding gender diversity in business? Don’t miss Real Business’s First Women programme:

Drawing on ten years of the First Women movement and the phenomenal network of pioneering women the Awards has created, this programme features The First Women Awards and The First Women Summit – designed to educate, mentor and inspire women in all levels of business.

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