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How to Retain Women in the Workplace

Highly recommend reading the ‘Women in the Workplace 2021’ report by McKinsey. If companies desire to retain women, especially women of color, they need to address burnout, promotion rates (for every 100 men promoted, only 86 women are promoted), and the fact many women take on ‘invisible work’ that is often not recognized or rewarded by leadership.

Sharing additional ways companies can support and ultimately retain women:

1. Don’t expect women to be men – Understand that women bring unique gifts to the workplace, just as men do. When women feel they can only succeed by acting like men, there is a big problem. What Corporate America needs, and frankly the world, are balanced leaders. It’s quite unfortunate women are only seen as ‘competent’ if they emulate the behaviors of men.

2. Include women – A well-known male CEO in the finance industry (with 2 daughters I might add) once said, “If a male leader hosts a golf outing and only invites men, they should be fired.” When women, particularly those working in male-dominated industries, are not included, there is a message sent that they don’t belong. Think about the ‘deals’ and ‘networking connections’ that are made on the golf course or ‘over drinks.’ Ensure women on your teams are included, invited, and have equal opportunities to informal ways to build relationships, regardless if they love golf or not.

3. Rethink your ‘ideal’ employee – There are many ways to get work done and also different types of intelligence. Consider if you are viewing a female employee as ‘less competent’ simply because she approaches work differently. In order for companies to prosper, innovate, and ultimately thrive in a rapidly changing business environment, there needs to be a variety of talent on a team. If a leader only wants employees who make them feel comfortable, employees who act a certain way, and employees who solve problems in the exact same way, I say ‘Good Luck.’

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