Why Developing A United Front To Women’s Leadership Is So Powerful
Adopting a united front when it comes to developing the female talent pipeline helps to build stronger female leaders and directly benefits the employer.
When we founded Elevate Talent six years ago, the responsibility for women’s leadership training programmes tended to sit under specific departments (for example, learning and development or diversity and inclusion), meaning the management and costs were not being shared with the businesses.
This led to a second issue: female staff had to be nominated by their boss before they could apply for the training, which left them vulnerable to unconscious bias (and personal opinion). If their boss didn’t view them as a strong future asset, they wouldn’t be nominated. It was a Catch-22 situation which often saw women powerless in their own career progression, and left organisations with a lack of women leaders (which in turn created an ongoing diversity and inclusion problem).
We have been working with clients to help them leverage the power that comes from adopting a whole-company approach to the development of their female talent pipeline.
Benefits of adopting a united approach
Two of the main benefits of adopting a united front are as follows:
- When a company’s vision is to support and invest in its female talent pipeline, it gives employees the green light to apply to put themselves forward for the programme. Many of our clients have set up “academies” or “universities” and offer development opportunities there. Whilst this will still require final managerial approval (because there is a cost involved), it encourages participation due to the fact that the whole company backs the initiative.
- The more the businesses are involved (see earlier blogs on strategic alliances), the more guidance, ideas and support there is available to female delegates, which supports the best possible learning outcome.
We know from research that women don’t tend to ask for what they want enough (see our earlier blog How Asking For More Can Help Redress The Gender Pay Gap), and when they do, they are more likely to be knocked back. If the company vision is to fuel and realise their female talent pipeline, everyone has greater awareness and willingness to support it.
When a whole company is invested in the benefits of a women’s leadership training programme, managers tend to show more interest and be supportive of ongoing staff development, which enables women leaders to focus effectively on the training (without defending reasons for attendance).
No training programme is a silver bullet – it has the greatest impact in conjunction with a whole company; whereas initiatives that are considered “departmental” are often harder to integrate.
Most of our clients are large multinational companies that benefit from our globally applicable online training throughout their offices. Instead of having one department in London enrolling women on our programme and another office in Holland trying to source a local training provider, we can deliver across the board. Being able to offer the same programme globally fits in with an inclusive approach and has the added benefit of also saving the company resources such as time, effort and money.
Benefits to individuals and organisations
By filling your female talent pipeline, companies have access to a vastly increased talent pool with strong leadership credentials that will, over time, help companies go from strength to strength and boost their bottom line.
Based on the training programme we deliver, 33% of our attendees secure a new growth opportunity via promotion or a sideways career move to gather experience and build strength (see this blog). Thanks to this investment in their careers, and the advancement they have achieved, we get feedback that a high percentage of female staff remain loyal to their employer.
In the past, there has often been a reluctance to encourage female staff to pursue leadership training for fear that they would seek other employment opportunities; we teach women how to invest in themselves and become an accomplished leader and team member within the organisation they’re in (see this blog on retaining your best employees).
We show our potential female leaders that they can rise up in their current workplace rather than rush off to another employer in the belief that they’ll find a smoother path to promotion.
Many of the challenges our female delegates face will be replicated wherever they work unless they develop and refine the skills that they have; when they do (with the support and guidance of their organisation), they’ll most likely want to remain loyal and demonstrate their previously untapped capabilities.
At Elevate Talent we deliver high-impact, affordable training on how to be a focused, assertive and effective leader who not only knows how to excel in their chosen field, but also supports the greater good of the business.
If you’d like to find out more about our virtual training programmes, please get in touch.