We have created these guidelines in consultation with a number of thought leaders and influencers both male and female from the HR and Technology sector from start-ups to big corporates. After recruitment which seems the main challenge, the second issue is managing to retain the female employees within the technology sector. Whilst much research indicates businesses with greater diversity benefit from higher employee satisfaction, greater product innovation and quicker speed to market and ultimately higher revenue, the data says that women leave the tech field to work in management or other fields.
The guidelines will be divided into 3 themes: Career path & Development, Engagement & Culture and Internal Environment.
|Career Path & Development||Engagement & Culture||Internal Environment|
This is the first version of our guidelines where we decided to focus on the most important fields within each themes: Career Pathways, Policies and Mentoring Circle. In the future versions, we will continue to develop the other areas within each themes to improve your gender equality retention e.g On-boarding, reporting gender data set, continued learning, performance and promotion.
These guidelines are design to highlight some areas of difference and also suggest some practical ways you can address the differences and create a more gender balances approach to retention.
Saray Cruz /Manager, Technology Strategy & Architecture Practice, Consulting, Deloitte“At Deloitte we have the Women in Technology network (community) as part of our overall women’s agenda in recognition of the need for a technology-focused effort in order to recruit and retain female talent in this industry. We also have a Women in Leadership programme to support women as they progress into leadership roles.”
Shilpa Shah /Director, Consulting, Analytics & Information Management and Women in Tech Network Lead“The value of these groups allow the communities to feel supported, share experiences and learn from each other whilst also providing access to role models to support the personal and professional development aspirations of the community.”
- First of all, as employer have a description of what career paths can take place within the business and more specifically how you can grow in your tech department.
- First and foremost, develop a description by skillset and task for each existing career level: you can divide the skillset on technical skills, compulsory and required, as well as soft skills, compulsory and required.
- Create then a career map of where the roles sit within the different departments.
- Now you are ready to draft what career path that exists within your business. Take into consideration all the different career pathways possible: vertical path, dual career ladders, horizontal.
- Also remember to take into consideration in your description the fact that female employees may be going on maternity leave, or you may need more flexibility in work due to family commitments. Progressing in a career does not mean becoming a manager of people, recognise the wants and needs of everyone, developers may want to be experts in their field and not team leaders. Wherever possible create a possible life story example so it is easier to identify with the career pathways (story telling).
- Second have an on-going open discussion between manager and line report on their career development and career vision. Put in place milestones to review. Be transparent about promotional opportunities. As a manager, sponsor your females if they are aspiring to be promoted.
- Third, train the employees not just for their current role but also for their future roles. We know that women do not apply to a job internal or external if they do not feel they have 80% of the skillset so it is essential they are trained, coached and mentored for their next steps.
- Fourth, support the people returning from career break or maternity leave by having KIT (Keeping in Touch) days so they feel at ease returning to work. Remember they are entitled to 10 KIT days over their maternity leave which could be used to attend conference or training.
- Fifth, utilise your internal talent pools first when filling vacancies. Before looking externally look at succession and talent plans to ensure that you are creating good career opportunities for your people. Train your people on unconscious bias who are part of any calibration or performance management process to ensure that you have good open debate about all your people’s career pathways.
Engagement & Culture
Policies are a major means to ensure you have a diverse workforce as it is the set of standards by which the business need to follow and report to.
After our focus group, the major policy that all members mentioned was the importance of having a Flexible working policy in place. Hence we have decided to focus on this policy first and foremost.
As you are aware since 30th June 2014, Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, e.g. having flexible start and finish times, or working from home. Flexible working rules are different in Northern Ireland. All employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers.
Example of Flexible working and Example of Flexible working Policy
Flexible Working (e.g. part-time working, with reduced pro-rated pay and benefits)
E.g. 3 days a week/25 hours a week, flexible working hours with flexible start times or increasing time worked from home or alternative locations.
Example of a Flexible Working Policy in an Employee Handbook
Employees with more than 26 weeks length of service may request flexible working:
- A change to the hours you work;
- A change to the times when you are required to work; and
- To work from home (for all or part of the week)
- Your right to flexible working is designed to meet your needs as an employee and also the needs of the Company. The Company’s flexible working policy aims to facilitate discussion and encourage you and the Company to consider flexible working patterns and find a solution that suits both you and the Company.
- There may be circumstances when the Company is unable to accommodate your desired work pattern.
- You must think carefully about your desired work pattern when making your application and the Company undertakes to follow the procedure set out below to ensure that your request is considered seriously.
Process on Asking for Flexible Working
- If the employee is thinking about requesting flexible working, the line manager should encourage an open discussion with them, and discuss how it could work and how to support them. Both parties should seek advice from the HR team to support them if needed. The HR team can also help on how it affects salary, pension, holiday etc.
- They should discuss how the flexible working would work for the rest of the team, and practicalities.
- The business must consider the request of flexible working seriously and justify the reasons if they decide it is not possible to accept the request. If there is uncertainty of whether it will work or not, because it’s the first time the company has allowed it, it’s helpful to have an initial trial period of flexible working to see how it works.
- If the employee requests flexible working, the Company could allow them to return part time in staggered stages part time, within set timeframes. g. First year of 2 days a week, when child is younger. After year 2, increases to 4 days a week when child is older.
- Businesses should be understanding and supportive about the initial transitions to return back to work.
Other Examples of Policies
- Working from home when appropriate.
- Unconscious bias and diversity training
- Training on Recruitment and interview for anyone involved in selection including line managers, and people involved in the decision making process.
- Open internal advertising of all roles
Circle of Mentoring
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring involves a development relationship between a more experienced ‘mentor’, sharing their experience with a less experienced person who is keen to learn from them. It is about providing expert advice and guidance, taking individuals under one’s wing and providing a role model to aspire to.
Mentor/mentee relationships can be formally or informally organised within the business, or across companies and sectors.
The mentor should not have any direct line responsibility or input into salary/appraisal decisions of their mentee. They are not the line manager.
What Does it Involve?
Internal and external networks are critical to accelerating performance. Job-focused, information-rich networks have a tremendous impact on improving your potential to be promoted to, and succeed at, the next level within the organization. Research has shown that men typically socialize in similar networks with the people they work with whereas women’s social networks are very different to their work networks. For that reason it’s important to encourage your female talent to take time to network within a business context.
How Much Does it Cost?
Mentoring can be set up very easily internally and thus shouldn’t cost more than the time of your employees.
What are the benefits? What does the Company get out of it?
Effective mentoring programs benefit the mentor and the organization by promoting a development culture, increasing knowledge sharing, driving performance, and expanding networks, as detailed below:
- Creates a culture of development
- Drives employee engagement and retention
- Fosters productivity and performance
- Increases cross-organizational communication
- Provides a low-cost development opportunity
- Engagement from mentee and mentors.
What does the person having a Mentor get out of it (the mentee)?
Benefits to the Mentee
- Accelerates development. Helps self-awareness of their behavior.
- Enhances self-esteem and confidence when interacting with senior leaders
- Expands the individual’s professional network
- Increases job satisfaction and effectiveness
- Increases perspective and knowledge of different functions
What does the mentor get out of it?
- Expands the mentor’s professional network
- Improves leadership skills, helping guide a less experienced talent.
- Increases awareness of challenges and opportunities encountered by people at earlier stage of career. Reality check on what other junior people are going through.
- Increases visibility throughout the sector, and understanding of other areas.
What do you have to do to start?
Sometimes a company or organisation can formally match volunteer mentors with appropriate mentees. Alternatively, it can happen more organically and an individual can ask someone more experienced, and they respect to be their mentor. Often the mentor is delighted to be able to help another person, and willing to share their experience.
To build an effective mentoring relationship, the two people must establish what they would like to get out of the initial meetings. This is critical in setting a strong foundation on which to build the relationship.
Understand the role of a mentee
Spending time at the beginning of the relationship clarifying what each party can legitimately expect to give and get through mentoring is essential. It is especially beneficial for the individuals involved to discuss, negotiate and agree upon expectations. The mentee must be an active learner in this relationship, but also an active participant in furthering the development of the mentor. The mentee must be open to sharing their career goals, successes, and failures, and receiving feedback and advice.
- Establish the expectations of mentors role in the relationship
- Define the goals for the mentoring relationship
- Create the foundation for a trusting relationship – it is critical to build trust and clearly establish expectations at the beginning of the partnership.
- Build an action plan – to achieve long-term career objectives that are establish at the beginning of the relationship. The mentor should help you determine where to focus and how best to accomplish career goals.
- Identify effective discussion topics – should be centred on the specific goals both parties agree for the relationship.
- Identifying mentoring activities e.g. skill development, knowledge sharing, networking, career advice
- Foster an effective relationship – prioritising catch up meetings throughout the relationship is critical in order for both to benefit fully from the relationship.
Recognize What Mentoring Is and Is NotIt is important that both mentee and mentor recognize what does and does not constitute a mentoring relationship, as detailed below:
|Mentoring is……||Mentoring is not………|
|Development tool- It is a development program that grows knowledge, network, and careers. The process allows more experienced individuals to support and develop other less experienced people.||Guarantee of promotion – A mentoring relationship provides no assurance of promotion or increase in compensation. However, both parties may develop competencies and skills that improve overall job performance.|
|Knowledge sharing opportunity – It is a process that improves cross functional knowledge sharing and facilitates the flow of information and ideas.||Replacement for formal development – Mentoring cannot take the place of formal training, but rather should augment formal development activities|
|Community and Sector Enhancer – It can help employees better understand the sector and community. Understand the ways to do things and not, and the dynamics of the sector.||Management Replacement – The mentor should not take on the responsibilities of the mentee’s manager|
|Employee assistance program – mentoring is not an employee assistance program that provides employees with counselling on personal issues|
Difference between mentoring and coachingMentoring and coaching differ in their objectives, impacts and duration as detailed below:
|Helps facilitate growth and development in career path.||Assesses and improves an individual’s performance or behaviour in a particular area.|
|Concentrates on the individual’s development needs and goals bases on his/her career aspirations||Concentrates on identified issues with clear goals to develop specific skills and behaviours|
|Mutually benefits both the mentor and mentee||Sets a time-bound relationship defined to meet specific goals and objectives.|
|Build a long- term relationship dependent upon participants performance through various career stages|