Five Tips to Retain Women in STEM + Careers and Help Them REACH for the Stars
Last month, we released our Gotara REACH Report for the first half of 2022 highlighting that the Great Resignation is far from over for women in STEM + careers. The post-pandemic report offered tremendous insight into why 50 percent of women in STEM + careers are ready to quit their jobs, as well as suggestions on actions to take to retain them, including:
- How to start with behavioral data to break the cycle.
- Taking steps to become a bold leader in critical areas around individual empowerment, creating a culture of allyship, and establishing quantitative Return on Investment (ROI).
- How to create a growth mindset to reap retention rewards.
What About the 50 Percent Who Are Staying?
The REACH Report explained how to fix retention challenges that could be perceived as broken. Today’s blog post is about shedding light on what companies are doing right to keep those 50 percent of women happy who report they are staying. It’s important to note that women who are happy and staying in their job do not give their employer a 100 percent ranking in any category, yet they are not leaving.
Building a successful strategy to retain women is like building a healthy lifestyle. It should always be about progress, not perfection. One off programs are not sustainable. Instead, career growth sprints over a career marathon will create opportunities for measurable success.
While percentage gains are to be had in every area, the key is to make progress by focusing on incremental gains in these five areas to help women REACH for the stars:
1) Empower women to take RISKS and fail forward with support by allies and sponsors.
52 percent of Women in STEM + careers who are successfully being retained by their employer report that their company focuses on helping women create allies and sponsors within their workplace. This compares to 31 percent of those who report they are leaving.
Creating a culture of allyship with sponsorship includes training managers to be bold leaders—to identify bias, call it out, and reduce its impact. For example, training them to advocate for women who deserve a chance at a highly visible project or a role while coaching and mentoring them along the way. Not only will this help everyone balance passion with reason when it comes to taking risks, but also managers start to understand how to become an agent of change and grow themselves as leaders.
2) EMPATHIZE with women’s unique perspective and help them discover robust steps to grow their career in a collaborative vs. authoritative culture.
77 percent of women in STEM + careers who report wanting to stay in their job rate their company culture as collaborative compared to 41 percent of those who are leaving. In fact, 30 percent of those indicating they were looking to quit rank their company’s culture as authoritative vs. 5% of those who are happy in their job and not considering leaving).
Employers can place a greater emphasis on tuning in to different employees’ unique needs and leading by example from the top to be successful in today’s dynamic environment. By focusing on enacting a collaborative work culture, organizations and entire workforces can emerge stronger, more responsive, and more resilient to future challenges while producing great business results
3) Use data ANALYTICS to change the culture and truly engage in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that lead to positive outcomes.
59 percent of women in STEM + careers who say they are staying in their current job report that their employer truly engages in diversity and inclusion efforts that lead to positive outcomes. This compares to 21 percent reported by those who are leaving.
Organizations cannot manage what they do not measure. In today’s data-driven world, it is vital to understand and identify KPI (Key Performance Indicators) metrics.
Doing this requires establishing measurable retention, promotion, movement, and productivity goals that demonstrate how motivated employees deliver innovation, top-line growth, and bottom-line goals. Focusing on creating measurable positive impact for the individual, leaders, and corporate culture is how we know we have built a high-performing organization where people want to stay and thrive and recruit others.
4) Improve COMMUNICATION with the organization and support managers to drive transparency and openness with specific efforts to hire, retain, and accelerate the careers of women in STEM+.
59 percent of women in STEM+ careers who are not looking to quit their job rate the efforts of their employer as good to excellent to hire, retain, and accelerate the careers of STEM + women. This compares to 28 percent of those who are leaving.
From McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2021 study: “Companies should clearly communicate what’s expected of employees and what it means to have an inclusive culture. Building this thinking into company values is a good place to start, but organizations would benefit from articulating the specific behaviors and actions that promote inclusion. In addition to signaling the importance of this work, clear guidelines will help set managers and all employees up for success.”
Clear communication of business strategy, changes resulting from market turn down, how it can potentially impact them or not, how they fit into the puzzle called business, and how they are valued in the organization.
5) Feed women’s HUNGER and passion to succeed and grow into leadership positions.
49 percent of women in STEM+ careers who are not looking to quit their job rate their employers focus on promoting STEM + women into leadership positions as good to excellent. This compares to 35 percent reported by those who are leaving.
There has been no better time for women to take leadership roles in STEM + fields than now. Research has shown women make great candidates for leadership roles, especially if they already have a great track record of delivering results. Therefore, we should be doing everything to retain talented women in STEM + and create a pipeline of capable leaders.
Women are hungry to take on big leadership roles. Give them that opportunity and keep them motivated and excited about work. In the end, both the individual and the employer win!
Helping STEM + women REACH for the stars
Our focus at Gotora is on helping STEM + women stay and thrive in their careers by partnering with employers to mentor, coach, and upskill a pipeline of leaders through nanolearning.
We can help you fend off the dampening of intellectual curiosity and creativity when teams lose the diverse minds that spark innovation.
Solutions to Retain Women in STEM + By Women in STEM +
How does it work? We offer a confidential, safe space for STEM + women where they can engage and make a positive impact on their situation/career within eight weeks in our career sprints.
Our employer career growth global solution for solving the exodus of STEM + women is a unique offering, with
- reimagined mentoring, coaching, and upskilling into nanolearning,
- bite-sized “nanolearning” under STAR leadership development programs providing “just-in-time” advice as needed,
- content—created for and by STEM + women — delivered in quick, consumable bite-size pieces that are relevant, relatable, immediately actionable, and effective.
If you are ready to be on the right side of The Great Resignation (that is the Great Retention) schedule a demo today to see how Gotara can help!
Individuals can also become a member and start exploring our free trusted career advice now.