women in leadership

Women’s things

On the 25th, the result of BEX 2018, was presented, the first barometer of employee experience for Spanish companies. A pulse on how employees perceive and feel what is happening in their companies. Not all the big companies are there (any telco company has participated — maybe it is because my professional point of view-). But it seems relevant enough to bring it here due to some of its conclusions that, without surprising me, have caught my attention.

Many indicators have been analysed, like the eNPS: the employee recommendation index; evaluating the question from 0 to 10, would you recommend your company as a place to work? According to the responses, the employee is classified as a Promoter (9-10), Neutral (7-8) or Detractor (0-6).

According to the results, the promoter profile is a 55-year-old man with a lot of seniority in the company and generally with a managerial position. And the profile of the detractor is a woman between 20 and 35 with less than 11 years of seniority and generally in a technical position.

Young women, in general, do not recommend the company they work for, according to this report. Why? Well, among other things because they want more recognition and more opportunities to develop. And they no longer conform. They expect companies to recognize their talent and allow them to grow.

Women are asking for more recognition and professional development

Along with this, it is interesting to look at the conclusions of the 2017 Hampton-Alexander Review. This is a study conducted by a task force to expand the presence of women on boards and management committees in the UK. It is interesting because, unlike in many European countries, their model is not based on a quota system and, they move from a 12.6% presence of women in senior management positions in 2011 to 27.7% last year.

How? Well, with the commitment to include the number of women leaders and follow it up as it would be done with any other KPI in the business. In Spain, among IBEX 35 companies, this percentage is 22.3%. The smallest among comparable countries.

They found a clear break in the career of women from the age of 35

At the round table after the presentation of this latest report, composed of professionals from the Spanish market, something came out that connects these pieces of information and, from my point of view, is very relevant. The director of HR at Pfizer Spain, Ana Gómez, said that they found a clear break in the career of women from the age of 35, generally after motherhood. That it is basically they who reconcile — and they think that they cannot afford a promotion because of this. In addition, women generally — and there are different studies that support it — think that they are not sufficiently qualified when faced a promotion. Therefore, they do not pursue it in the same way as men because they think they are not prepared.

Women generally think they are not qualified enough when faced with promotion possibilities

To summarize: women under 35 who are absent for maternity return with more obligations and also do not believe that they can do it as well as their peers.

And how is the number of women in managerial positions going to increase if there are difficulties for them to fill leadership positions in companies?

Not only the United Kingdom has fled from quotas. There are companies in Spain that have also chosen to manage talent by tracking the percentage of women in managerial positions as a KPI. And it works. Until now.

The main obstacle that begins to appear is that there are no women candidates. And not because there are not qualified women to reach the position; it is because either they do not trust their possibilities and do not apply or from an integral vision of their life, simply the sums do not add up. Very often, they do not see themselves able to pay for their professional career and resign from their personal life. Should we, women, resign? It seems so, doesn’t it? It is not the debate I am looking for with the post, so I will park this here.

And the fact is that it is also proven true that a company that promotes female talent performs better (according to a study by Mckinsey & Company, companies with gender diversity are 15% more likely to have a higher economic profitability than the average of their sector).

A company that promotes female talent performs better

So having more women is good for the company and it seems that not enough women want to get to the top. It seems.

If the right conditions were given, there would be many more women delighted that their companies recognized their merit and would also accept promotions without problems.

Part of a company’s HR work to promote female talent is to accompany those women who are rising. In addition to putting into practice policies of real conciliation — a topic that would give rise a lot of debate — it is necessary to make women believe that they are as well-prepared as their male colleagues to access positions of responsibility. And there the development of their self-leadership plays a fundamental role:

  • Accompany women in the middle stages of their professional careers by creating specific training programs in leadership.
  • With mentoring programs: from those that have already arrived to those that are on the race.
  • Implementing a culture in the company that promotes and knows how to manage diversity.

In many companies the room has been made, through corporate policies, for women to access positions of responsibility. Now it is necessary to make them take the step forward.

Make women take the step forward!

What is being done in this regard? How can it be done faster? Who should be involved in the process? There are many questions for which there are already some answers.

I have deliberately forgotten about men in all this, but not because they are not the other fundamental piece in the development of female leadership but because it seems relevant to point out that although women have all the opportunities in the world if they do not want to take them, it will be useless.

And to want to take them, women need to be aware that their professional career depends first and foremost on them.