How to Attract and Retain Talented Female Employees

Talented employees’ often fail to reach their potential. There are many reasons why this occurs such as disengagement, organisational politics, personal circumstances and so on. One of these reasons is because they don’t perceive a high degree of congruence, match, similarity or correspondence between themselves and their organisation known as person-organisation fit. This perception can lead to outcomes such as low levels of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, wellbeing, engagement, work performance, and ultimately, to the intention to quit.

Female employee more likely to perceive low levels of fit between themselves and their organisation are those in organisations, occupations and industries where women have historically been underrepresented. This has been attributed in part to a lack of understanding about how to create an enabling environment for women.

Did you know that how well your employee thinks they fit into your workplace is a better indicator of their work attitudes and behaviours than how well they actually fit? As such it is important to increase your employees perceived and actual person-organisation fit as much as possible.

Two types of fit are abilities-demands and needs-supplies fit. Abilities-demands fit is not the issue as women would not be hired if their abilities did not fit with the demands of their position. Needs-supplies fit is defined as occurring when an organisation satisfies individual needs, desires, or preferences.

How to improve actual and perceived person-organisation fit?

To improve female employees’ actual and perceived needs-supplies fit it is first important to understand their work-related values.

Research indicates that women have been found to place greater importance on the following work values:

  • need for activity (tasks that require a constant and sustained energy level)

  • compensation (equal pay for equal work)

  • working conditions (appropriate physical conditions)

  • morals (tasks without moral conflict)

  • company policies (explicit and definitive guidelines consistently disseminated and practised) and

  • supervision of human relations (work environment where supervisor creates and maintains an atmosphere of mutual respect).

So how can you assess whether prospective and current female employees are likely to perceive a high degree of needs-supplies fit within your organisation?

Rapid Connect can help by supporting your organisation to actively demonstrate to your female employees that they belong and are a valued part of the organisation by providing:

  • a rapid feedback loop to senior management and key stakeholders on the health of your workplace climate

  • personalized support to employees, including membership of our network, mentoring opportunities, and access to events and workshops

  • targeted workplace changes

  • insights on engagement, intention to stay, needs and retention risks of target populations in your workforce.

And through:

  • enabling development of tailored strategies based on employee experience

  • identifying risks, developing targeted interventions, empowering under-represented groups and increasing engagement and retention.

These services will enable you to provide your prospective and current talented female employees with a workplace they feel they belong to and are a valued part of – a significant advantage to your organisation.

Alicia Gilchrist is a senior consultant at Rapid Context specialising in organisational psychology.

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