HOT TOPIC ALERT! You wouldn't be surprised that I interact with software companies on a daily basis looking to increase the diversity of their workforce and I personally think that's BRILLIANT!
The first thing they always say is: "We have so many men working here, and we would like to employ some more women to balance the workforce", and as we know that gender-diverse companies financially perform 21% better than the industry median, this is a smart move.
So what do you need to be doing to get more women in the business?
This is a 3 stage process:
1 - ATTRACT
2 - EMPLOY
3 - RETAIN
Sounds simple doesn't it... well, with a few easy changes this can be achieved, but it will take commitment internally on a much longer-term scale, from hiring teams and managers and colleagues, who are all on the same page when it comes to workforce growth.
Disclaimer: I want to say early on, I do NOT speak for ALL women, this would be a breach of my authority and privileged platform, however, opinions are my own based on experience and conversations with other women in technology and sector, and research and studies performed by those much greater than I.
What's the first thing potential employees see when they come across your company? Is it a job description? Is it a recruiter? Is it at a university or technology event? If the answer is YES, then this is your focal point.
Cultivate an environment that women are enticed to be a part of, even if there are few or no women employed at the moment.
Consider how your company comes across to women in your job descriptions! This is often one of the first things people read when they come across a vacancy either online or directly on a website. Do you list at the top of your job description "HUNTER" or "smashing the phones" or "knock down doors"... I can honestly say that this kind of wording isn't appealing to women. That might be what you think you're looking for, and anyone in sales should understand what it takes, but SERIOUSLY? This is 2019! This isn't the Wolf of Wall Street, and although we all loved the movie, we don't want to be a part of that...
Consider what the end goal is and use more gender-neutral language - consultative sales; closing enterprise deals; building pipelines; methodology; person-ability; ability to overcome objections - these are quantifiable qualities you can look for in a candidate - include this - remember - a woman will only qualify herself in for a position if she meets 95% of a job description - so make it skills she can relate to.
Consider what you have included - a section about the culture or environment they will be joining? What are your values? What are you trying to achieve internally? If the answer is nothing - here is the first problem. You need to have values and a culture that people want to join, women especially would rate workplace culture higher than the actual product being sold in many instances - women want to enjoy where they work, not just be passionate about the position and product.
We have created a job description template - click here to see it.
Choose these carefully! Make sure the company and person representing your brand, your culture and your employees are doing so accurately and positively. Have you met this person representing you? Have they met some of the team, seen your office and work-space, and have an understanding of the type of person who would really fit in?
Would you employ someone you had never met? No? Well don't do the same with your recruiters! Invite them in, show them around - they are bringing VALUE to your business, and if they don't want to - don't work with them. Obvious clarification - but if you're in separate countries/cities this can be hard - but make time for them if you are ever in the same place!
Plus - what if you meet them and they don't have your best interest at heart? Are they going to sell your company to your prospective employees efficiently? Do they ask the right questions? Do they care about learning about what you are looking for on a deeper level? Are you working with a recruitment company that's also committed to increasing diversity? This may not sound important but having shared values and ethos will enable a good recruitment company to provide you with some incredible, diverse candidates because they truly care too!
Your Current Team
Last point (for now!), I'm sure you've got a GREAT bunch of people working with you, but how are they representing your brand? Either internally, or at external events, expos and conferences?
Out and about, do they network with everyone? Are they ensuring they are being a good 'face' of your brand? If there are post-event social events, how are they behaving? Are they enticing others to want to join, spreading the word? They are the face of the company and might come across SDRs looking for a new role, or AEs ready for their next challenge - imagine if the first thing they see is a group of positive, brand-aware employees who really LOVE their company? That's a company they'd want to join - especially if they don't currently have that!
Consider social media activity, are they posting about the activities within the office, the culture and what it's like to work there and not just work-related blogs? Who internally is responsible for employee well-being and what's their activity on social media?
This is the 21st century and you can be sure a potential employee will be checking you out on every social media channel - be truthful, be open and share constantly. People will come to you!