Thursday, September 20, 2018

Attracting Women to STEM Jobs

#womeninscience is trending all over the web today, and the question keeps arising, how do we attract more women to the tech and science fields.

First and foremost, I don't think it matters what gender someone is as long as they do their job well. If your company has more men than women or more women than men, don't sweat it as long as they all do their jobs well. However, if you look around the office and notice there's not a single woman on your team, maybe your company's culture isn't attractive to women.

A lot of what I do professionally relates to vision, mission, and brand. A considerable part of your brand is your PEOPLE, and your people are attracted or repelled, by your company culture. So what makes up your company culture anyway?

Culture is the personality of your company. Employees are motivated and most satisfied when their needs and values are consistent with those manifested in your workplace. I believe there are six major components of defined company culture.

Vision: A solid company vision goes BEYOND the mission statement. It adds the "why" to what you do. It's a huge part of why people, especially women, join companies. Not all women are the same, but generally, we like to feel like we're making the world better. How is your company doing that?

Values: We all like to feel like we've found our "tribe" both personally AND professionally. We want to feel like we share common goals and values with those we surround ourselves. What does your company value? Is it your people, is it evolving tech? What makes you all get up in the morning? If you don't know, ask your employees. (hint: women tend to value family)

Practices: Your values mean nothing if you aren't implementing them. How do you show what you value? Do you offer time off for volunteer work? Great insurance for families? A maternity package worth fighting for? Unlimited time off? A ton of philanthropy?

People: Do your employees share your values? Are they implementing them? Or do you have a bunch of mean-spirited engineers who give females the evil eye the second they enter the office? Hire good people, and more will come.

Place: Why does Google have a playground? Why are more companies offering remote positions? Why does Ericsson have a nursing room on every floor? No one wants to work in a tiny cubicle all day staring at a gray wall. We are all happier and more fulfilled surrounded by things that make us happy.

Narrative: If you've gotten this far, and you've defined all of the above, now you have to tell your story. I highly recommend hiring a content writer or brand advisor to help with this. Shucks, I'm both those things. Plus, I happen to be a woman. If you'd like me to help you define your vision, and values or put together content to market them shoot me an email.

Now that I've shamelessly plugged my business let me help clue you in on just a few things women value:

Flexible Schedules: Let's be honest for a second. When a kid gets sick, who calls into work? Mom. (sorry Dads the stats are with me on this). Offer flexible leave policies, let your employees work remote some days, etc
Maternity AND Paternity Leave: Nothing attracts women more than true gender equality.
Sexism Free Workplaces: Hear your male employees making disparaging remarks about women? Shut it down.

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