Increasingly, women are breaking glass ceilings and entering and excelling in domains that were considered to be male territories. One such area has been tech. While the technology sector was for a long time male-dominated, women now are rapidly changing the landscape. Having more and more women in tech teams is not only a social cause but makes business sense for organizations. Women bring along a different perspective which is imperative for technological innovations. Following the theme for this International Women’s Day, Balance for Better, we have identified the top 10 ways you can attract and retain women who code. Once you balance for better, nothing can stop you from soaring high.
To create a balance for better in your organization and ensure gender equality, start by ascertaining blind hiring. It is important to understand that blind hiring not only involves unbiased practices in interviews but starts way before it. Firstly, make sure that your job descriptions are gender neutral and do not reflect a preference for a specific gender. To attract women who code, follow a neutral hiring policy where talent and merit are the only criteria for selection. Compliment you hiring policy with an unbiased interview jury. This could even be in the form of blind interviews or online tests. This will not only help you onboard the right talent but also create an employer branding for you as an organization that walks the talk to create balance for better.
Once you have achieved gender-neutral hiring, the next obvious step is to ensure that promotions are equal. While most organizations start their journey of balance for better with flying colours, they often lose the appeal midway. At times, tech teams on board a number of women who code but do not give them due promotions, leading to their attrition. Therefore, unless you compliment your blind hiring policy with an equal promotion policy, you will only achieve 50% of the results. Make sure that all promotions in your organizations are based on merit and women are at least considered for promotions and not just hired and left to rot.
Any organization that offers a real work-life balance is the place for women who code. Organizations need to understand that women in their tech teams have a life beyond their work and deserve quality time with their family and friends. If you wish to retain the best women talent in the tech industry and balance for better, ensure that your women workforce receive the break and work-life balance they deserve.
Safe work environment
This factor can play a significant role in making or breaking your balance for the better. Unless you can guarantee a safe work environment, there is no point of even reaching out to women who code. Take small measures to ensure the safety of the women who are a part of your tech team, not only as a duty as the employer but also because that is the right thing to do. You can start small by ensuring that washrooms for women are safe and accessible, not in remote locations. Provide them with safe transport if the timings are late. These small measures can go a long way into helping you attract and retain women programmers.
Hear women voices
While having an unbiased perspective towards hiring and promotions is important to create balance for better, hearing and giving recognition to voices of women developers is equally important. Ensure that all women coders are given equal recognition for their ideas and are heard. Like their male colleagues, women who code must have an equal say in the decision making that takes place and the ideas that circulate around. This suggests that the voices of women developers should be equal to their male counterparts in every sense, no questions asked.
One of the most effective ways to attract and retain women programmers is to have mentors and role models they can look up to. Studies show that the numbers of women who reach leadership positions in the tech industry are less than half of those who join at the entry level. The primary reason behind this is the absence of any mentors or women role models, women programmers can take guidance from. It is a good idea to have formal and informal mentoring programs for the women who code in your teams. Mentoring can help these women navigate and voice the challenges they face and help them stay with your team for longer.
Equal pay for equal work
Creating a balance for better is not just about having an equal number of men and women programmers at different levels. It is also about ensuring that all genders receive the same treatment, compensation and benefits. Women in tech often complain of receiving lower compensation in comparison to their male counterparts, for the same work. This often downgrades their confidence and motivation, forcing them to quit in a few years. Therefore, if you really want to make an effort to attract and retain women who code, ensure that they receive equal compensation and benefits for equal work as their male colleagues.
Female friendly benefits
Next in line comes a factor that most organizations acknowledge but rarely apply. To create a balance for better, you need to offer female-friendly benefits to your women developers. While these benefits can don various faces, some of them are easily achievable. Start by offering them a little flexibility of routine and location of work. Try not to expect women developers to work late hours unless absolutely necessary. Such small efforts can go a long way into establishing your organization as a female-friendly one, striving to create a balance for better.
It would be unfair to say that tech organizations and teams do not invest in women developers once they hire them. However, the lag comes in the form of timing. Often organizations begin their effort to retaining women who code after they have reached a certain leadership position. However, this approach is crooked. If you really wish to retain your women talent, start young, as soon as they join your team. Start investing in their mentoring, benefits, flexibility from day one to show your loyalty and commitment towards them.
Diversity and Inclusion Policy
Finally, organizations that wish to attract and retain women who code must have a solid diversity and inclusion policy in place. This policy must highlight all benefits due to women developers and prohibit any form of discrimination. Adding penalties for harassment and discrimination is also a good idea. While having such a policy is important, it is also crucial that you promote your policy. Showcase it to women to breed confidence in them that you are an equal opportunity employer. Also, don’t just have a policy for the sake of it, implement it and create balance for better.
In a nutshell, follow these tips and we guarantee that you will easily attract and retain the women who code. If you are a woman developer looking out for an equal opportunity employer, reach out to us today.