hiring for gender diversity


on the 1st of September 2012, I set myself the goal of hiring 50 of the best female engineers in Asia during the following year. The context is a chronic low ratio in the individual contributor and management population of my teams combined with a rapid rate of growth that allows for these positions to be opening up. With 400+ staff, an attrition rate of 5% opens up 20 jobs and growth rates expected to be even larger – 50 is a reasonable target.

Why am I driving to make an impact here? it’s a moral issue 1st and foremost. A moral issue of fairness, we should leave no-one behind and opportunity should be fairly distributed. However, it is also an issue of strategic imperative  – as diversity and inclusion trend toward the norm, our environment changes. At the cutting edge we have to move faster to stay ahead and in a diverse customer reality, we will gain a commercial advantage in having a rich pool of diverse talent to serve those customers. the third, not completely irrelevant fact is that the more diverse the workplace, the more fun I have!

what I am hoping to learn are transformational behaviours, process and tools that will give me a competitive edge in what would be a proud legacy of diversity and inclusion hiring in Asia.

when starting to prepare some research – there are unlikely to be many more bald a reminder of the attitudes of many past and present. this from http://www.analytictech.com/mb021/gender.htm

In the past, all women in the workplace were automatically assigned to temporary or part-time or low responsibility jobs because it was understood that their first priority was taking care of their families. Unmarried women were likely to quit as soon as they married (often to an up-and-coming executive in the company), and married women were likely to quit as soon as the became pregnant. Women with children were understood to care more about the children than about work. In addition, there was a widespread belief that women were not as capable as men, either physically or mentally or emotionally.

action plan:

1) sourcing : it’s illuminating to compare Computer Science degree and CCIE pass rates and ratios of women to men with the workforce – indeed, I will be using this as the baseline for success in building the pipeline

2) hiring : there are ways that we tell the story of our jobs and careers that inhibit or accelerate attraction to diverse workforce; then there are ways we handle prospects that get in our way, or build even stronger pipelines

3) retention : great! you made the new employee orientation meeting 🙂 but now – how do we ensure and build a career for you?

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“Burning Deck” without setting things on fire


The role of leadership teams in providing motivational gravity

Some weeks back in a hugely impactful, and widely reported memo to his staff,

Nokia’s chief executive to staff: ‘we are standing on a burning platform’ http://bit.ly/ePlUgo

Mr Elop made a dramatic call to arms that I found inspirational, but which also got me wondering “how do I get my team to work in burning deck mode without setting fire to things?”

Regression to mean can be observed in that left to themselves, teams regress from high performance to the mean, normal performance. Normal is misleading, I do mean underperforming; performance is not sufficient to meet the needs of the business.

As leaders, the question we need to ask ourselves and our teams when we recognise performance as regressing is “If we carry on at this (normal) rate, how long have we got left?”

  • before we lose our market position
  • before we lose our relevance
  • before we lose our jobs?

and when the answer is “not long” – burning deck motivation looks ideal

image

I like the phrase “Job Tourist” to describe a mode we all get in and can recognise, pretty much all of the above are words we use or situations we are in where we are coasting, passing through work – normal performance.

image

These are the words and situations represented by the paradigm of standing on the burning deck of a ship and, are easy to understand as attributes a leader would like to observe in a team that is need of greater performance.

Here is where the role of the leader is to provide motivational gravity that inspires and pulls team performance from “normal” to “burning deck”

Motivational Gravity

Motivational Gravity pulls normal behaviour to exceptional through:

  • Clarity of purpose [confront difficult issues]
  • Behavioural modelling [authentic belief]
  • Consistent messaging [systemic not tactical]
  • Emotional appeal [critical path]

The leadership models I’ve borrowed from are obvious to most readers but this is where to apply that theoretical learning you’ve done to great impact.

And that is the key message here – it’s what we do that matters, not the people we have doing it for us. The role of the leader is to provide that motivational gravity that shifts performance of the team as a whole from normal to something exceptional – go, start now!

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