6 ways for firms to support female talent and benefit from their skills

Australia is one of the countries, worldwide that are leading the way towards gender equality in the workplace and thus closing the participation gap between men and women.

While Australia is making positive strides, a significant disparity remains. It’s not surprising when you consider that diversity and inclusion strategies are still at the grassroots level.

We value the goals and vision but the method still needs to be refined.

Here are practical and simplistic ways to support rising female talent, allow the business to benefit from that talent plus support the diversity and inclusion efforts of the continent.

1. Build a strong case for change

Working with business partners and investors, put up the case for bringing about change.

While many people are aware of the benefits a business can enjoy when they introduce the structures that support female empowerment, many might still hesitate on the grounds of cost, resistance to change, or because the facts have not been accurately presented.

Be clear on your goals and your anticipated outcome for those goals.

2. Rolemodel commitment to diversity on all levels

This strategic approach implies that diversity and female empowerment must exist on every tier, including high level employees and selecting business partners for the company.

A female presence among your workforce isn’t true diversity, but it will “tick the boxes”. Support rising females in the workplace so that they can exist in high level positions too.

3. Redesign roles to enable flexible work

If COVID didn’t demonstrate the importance of having flexible work schedules and remote working structures, your desire to support female talent in the workplace will.

Work to remodel the current positions to exist as flexible and remote positions enabling women to handle more commitments, like caring for their families and raising children.

4. Set clear diversity goals with strategy accountability

What differentiates a goal from a dream is a strategic actionable plan for the company. You need to be accountable for the results you achieve, not just your actions.

This strategic diversity approach calls for assessing the effectiveness of each new practice that you implement within an appropriate time frame and give it time to work.

5. Infrastructure to support inclusive and flexible work

Portable laptop computers can effectively replace desktop computers in order to enable working mothers to take their tasks home and work in the evenings, when necessary.

Support structures for flexible working environments can also include approaches to make changes to your hiring policies, your annual leave policies and general attendance.

Businesses are finding that key performance indicators (KPIs) measuring productivity rather than attendance, yield a higher level of productivity for the business, while also making a full-time work schedule more realistic for employees with other commitments.

6. Actively sponsor rising women

Take note of talent and commit to helping people grow within their roles.

It is critically important to offer guidance, look for opportunities where candidates can gain experience and offer courses that further learning and encourage growth.

Sonia Gibson is the Director at Accounting Heart Chartered Accountants