3 Practical Ways to Leverage Women in Tech for Business Benefit
… skill development. By contrast, mentors can also serve as sponsors but very few do.
It behooves companies to have formalized sponsor programs in place, particularly when the goal is to fill talent gaps by training and promoting within.
“Be sure to articulate what sponsorship looks like and what exactly is expected of sponsors,” recommended Babcock.
For women looking to advance in companies with no active sponsors or sponsorship programs, consider starting such a program informally or formally within the company, an outside professional women’s group, or among co-workers.
3. Stop thinking quotas and start thinking hard value. Diversity programs, whether aimed at recruiting, hiring, developing and promoting women or minorities, are not acts of charity or fairness. Diversity programs are like any other business initiative in that they aim to fill a business need and accomplish a specific goal.
“This is not about quotas. Women are needed to fill talent shortages, because there simply isn’t enough tech talent available to fill all the jobs,” said Fisher.
Women are also needed to spur innovation by providing additional experiences and perspectives in order to break brain ruts and entrenched group think.
Further, American women in particular are powerful economic blocks who are not just employees, but also consumers. Reflecting those realities within a company to its highest echelons is a smart brand differentiator and consumer draw.
Companies are actively seeking women to fill highly visible and much needed roles. This is why internal diversity programs are essential to company growth.
Women who are employed at companies that don’t yet have diversity and sponsor programs need to take the initiative to promote themselves without hesitation or second-guessing their worth.
“Actively propel yourself forward at work, in social media, in published blogs and other works,” advises Fisher. “You aren’t asking for a handout; you’re selling your value to a company.”
Savvy companies do not dismiss diversity as a business strategy with the wave of a hand and a proud proclamation that the leader “isn’t politically correct.” Nor do conferences approach the subject of diversity as an aside or a dish of platitudes; instead, those companies seeking to fill their rosters with the best and the brightest will develop a plan to find, recruit and train such people from every walk of life.
Here’s hoping the next “women in tech” event you attend will be as much or more on point and relevant to an actual business strategy as this one was.