It's still news when a woman becomes the CEO of a technology firm. Women are scarce at all levels of technology, especially leadership positions. The bottom line, though, is that companies that are gender-balanced have a better bottom line. Studies have shown that businesses that are gender-balanced consistently fare better financially. Gender-balanced workplaces also have better team dynamics and productivity. Companies that want to experience these benefits need to find ways to recruit and retain women.
Develop Unbiased Job Ads
There aren't any more "Men Wanted" and "Women Wanted" job listings, but the wording in job ads can still subtly discourage women from applying. You may think you want a "coding ninja," but that phrasing is likely to turn women off. So is the use of language that emphasizes competition over cooperation. Find ways of expressing the job skills and describing the workplace environment that will appeal to potential employees of either gender.
Reassess How You Assess Technical Ability
Programmers need the ability to write code and explain their design decisions, but this doesn't often require standing up at a whiteboard. Rather than place candidates in an unnatural position to prove their skills, modify the test to allow them to sit down at a computer or conference table. This will provide a more natural, more comfortable environment that won't filter out candidates based on the style of interview rather than their capabilities.
Develop Formal Programs to Build Networks
Building a career and advancing to leadership positions requires political connections as much as technical ability. Formal mentoring programs help women expand their networks and create relationships with leaders they might not otherwise connect with. These connections are crucial in climbing the ladder and succeeding in higher-level positions.
Make the Corporate Environment Friendly to Women
Many startup tech workplaces offer perks that are more likely to appeal to men, such as basketball hoops and pool tables in the office. Make sure the environment offers perks that will appeal to employees of both genders. Offer an internal community to women in your workplace where they can discuss issues and propose solutions to enhance the work environment.
Have a Plan
Creating a gender-balanced workplace requires a plan. Set and publicize a target. Armada can help you create job descriptions that attract the best job candidates of both genders. Contact us to start working towards building your diverse workplace.