Identifying and Remediating Reasons Qualified Women Leave
If executives find that qualified women are leaving when they otherwise might have had a bright future at the company, what should be done to identify and remediate what is causing them to leave?
Many industries hire women at the same rate as men, and promote women and men equitably to the first level of management. But then the pipeline collapses, with leadership-potential women evaporating at the mid-management level. The first thing to do is benchmark how well your company is retaining not just women overall but the women who are tomorrow’s leaders. You’ll want to measure annually to see how well your programs and initiatives are working, so getting a baseline is essential. As you start to explore the underlying reasons why women leave, a good place to start is by interviewing women who left at least six months ago. You won’t get the truth in their exit interviews — everyone wants to leave a good impression. But reaching back through confidential interviews will yield insights about hidden and known barriers, helping you frame up some pilots to address those problems.
Answers provided by Joanne Cleaver, president of Wilson-Taylor Associates, a consulting firm focused on advancing women in business. Cleaver designed and manages MOVE Projects, which help industries understand how well they are advancing women and how they can do better. See current MOVE Project reports at www.wilson-taylorassoc.com.
This Ask An Expert segment is a continuation of Building Operating Management's April cover story, "Women in FM: How women are reaching leadership roles and how companies can help." Find the full article here.