Source |Linkedin .com | BY: Neha Bageria Founder& CEO, Jobs For Her
The conversation around diversity in the workforce is gaining momentum in India, with more women returning to work from career breaks than ever before. At JobsForHer, we strive to bring more women back to work by helping them to find jobs, reskill and prepare for their re-entry, while also working with companies to design returnee programmes to welcome more women back to work.
Through our work, we have seen some amazing stories of women who restarted their careers against all odds, and of companies that led the way in bringing these women back to work. In this piece, we highlight some of the main reasons why hiring women at all levels in an organisation is good for business.
Women Are Natural Leaders
There’s a ton of evidence on how women add value to companies after career breaks, and how women are natural leaders who lead very differently from men. Studies have found that female leaders outperform their male counterparts on traits like empathy, loyalty and conflict management, and even have a slight edge when it comes to being self aware.
Harvard Business Review conducted a survey to see whether women are better leaders than men. Interestingly, it showed that “at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associatesas better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows”.
Further, two of the traits that women leaders scored the highest on – taking initiative and driving for results – have long been perceived as male strengths.
Women Bring Social And Emotional Intelligence
Another interesting piece of research shows that “adding at least one woman to a team raises its collective intelligence”. This is likely because women tend to be more socially sensitive than men, and social sensitivity plays a major role in the collective intelligence of a team. Women tend to listen to others, share criticism constructively, be open minded and aren’t as autocratic, in group situations or teams. These are all traits that companies can benefit from in the long term, by increasing the number of women employees in their workforce.
Women Employees Help Companies Understand Female Customers
In B2C settings, women and men behave very differently in terms of buying behaviour. Women tend to explore all options available to them, and take their time in deciding what to buy. Men tend to be more task-oriented, honing in on a specific sub set of choices and choosing only from there, rather than surveying everything available.
This informs how women and men differ in making purchasing decisions in a business setting. “Women see a big meeting with a potential service provider as a chance to explore options in collaboration with an expert resource, while men see that event as a near-final step in the process, when they are narrowing down and choosing among options… [Women] are so much more rigorous in the way they explore possibilities and evaluate vendors.”
Women Value Relationships And Collaboration
Women also value the power of interpersonal relationships in business, attending “more to relationships and to the challenge of balancing multiple stakeholders’ interests”. In exploratory meetings between two prospective partners, women prefer to meet the entire team that is likely to be working together on the project, to establish group dynamics early on. Men tend to focus on the top-level decision makers from the client, taking them out for dinner, for instance to close the deal.
A March 2013 study of more than 600 corporate board directors published in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics “finds that female directors are more likely to consider the rights of others and to take a cooperative approach to decision making in order to arrive at a fair and moral decision that benefits all parties. They also engage in more collaboration and consensus building, not only to make sound decisions but also to elicit support for a course of action. The study’s authors also observed that female directors engage more effectively with the multifaceted social issues and concerns that increasingly confront corporations.”
So are you ready to take your company to the next level? JobsForHer can help you, with our talent pool of experienced women returnees, available at no notice period! We can also help you design your returnee programmes to suit your business. Just write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started!
- https://hbr.org/2011/06/defend-your-research-what-makes-a-team-smarter-more-women https://hbr.org/2013/09/how-women-decide
Author: Priya Desai currently researches and writes for companies, for JobsForHer, and is a working mom to a two-year-old. She has studied Environmental Law & Journalism.