Companies need to get serious

I had an interesting conversation with journalist Catherine Fox about anecdotal evidence that some big firms are losing their top female talent to poachers.

As I told Catherine for her article on Women’s Agenda senior women are definitely hot property right now – and not before time. Employers that do not have strong retention strategies in place for their senior women will lose them to companies that do.

I’m guessing that the firms complaining about the loss of their senior women are the ones who have left all their women stagnating in their careers at a “glass ceiling” level, usually at the CEO-2 level, and who have focussed on the rhetoric of gender strategies rather than actually improving the reality on the ground.

Too often we see companies who are very good at marketing their brilliance to the external world and to organisations that bestow awards while internally the reality is quite different.

So, if you are having retention issues, what do you do about it? First, face up to the issue and stop trying to sugar coat the reality.

CEO leadership to drive change in recruitment and promotion practices is essential as is clear communication from the top that this is an essential business strategy that must be complied with.

An extreme but also impressive example was the message delivered by Australia’s Chief of Army Lt Gen David Morrison that sexism would not be tolerated within his ranks.

Get serious about promoting women and improving your numbers and let everyone inside your organisation know you mean it.