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28Sep2011
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Retaining Women In The Workforce: How To Nurture Female Talent

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Today, in most organizations, women form a large chunk of the talent pool. Yet, they remain underrepresented because most drop out midway mostly compelled to familial and parenting responsibilities or a sheer lack of support from their organization.

Research has shown that women employees are an asset to any organization and companies that make active efforts to recruit and retain their female workforce, tend to thrive and grow at a higher rate.

While some organizations in India are moving with changing times, many are yet to wake up to this fact. The expectations and priorities of a female employee are largely different from a male one.

According to a recent survey carried out at Tata Consultancy Services by People Matters, women placed “lack of flexiwork options”, “male-dominated office environment” and “inadequate work-life balance” as the primary deterrents to their professional growth.

Here’s what organizations can do to attract and retain female talent:

  • Provide Equal Opportunities Employment Policies

By encouraging a more inclusive work culture, organizations can reduce attrition of female employees and ensure a better gender balance at the senior management level.

It would help to train and sensitize the senior management towards the need to eliminate gender stereotyping and nurturing a diverse talent pool. This also calls for a greater emphasis on fair and neutral appraisals that are solely performance-driven.

  • Opportunities For Personal And Professional Development

Mentoring programs, networking and leadership training are major driving factors for career-oriented women as they help avoid stagnation and promote growth. Such initiatives will allow large, medium and small-scale organizations to groom and train talented women for leadership positions.

Incurring additional expenses to retain women in the workforce may not seem like an economical idea at first, but in the long term, organizations are sure to benefit from the multi-fold benefits.

  • Provide Flexiwork Options

Even though many organizations provide for telecommuting, work-from-home and flexi-hours, employees availing these options are generally looked upon as less competitive and lax in their professional attitudes.

By placing telecommuters at par with on-location workers and offering them growth opportunities on the basis of performance and productivity rather than visibility in the office, organizations will be able to retain more women employees.

Moreover, women will feel less hesitant about taking advantage of such provisions, which in turn will keep them from quitting their jobs in the event of marriage, motherhood or other familial responsibilities.

  • Return-To-Work Policies

An astounding number of women take longer breaks to take care of a new baby. However, when it is time to join the work force, most women find themselves disconnected and “out of the race”.

Appropriate reintegration policies and women forums can help women find their place in the organization and at the same time, cater to the changing needs of their families.

Having daycare facilities within the office premises would be an added bonus as it would give working mothers a chance to care for their children without having to take frequent days off.

 © Naaree.com

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