Roadblocks to Hiring Effective Women Leaders

Written by Abhishek on Jul 11, 2018

For most companies, diversity hiring incorporates not just inclusion, but also respect, acceptance and fostering an environment of individuals different from the existing ones. For the sake of brevity, we shall confine the discussion of diversity to the topic of hiring women in organisations.


According to a recent BCG study, increased diversity in leadership teams leads to improved performance. For many CEOs, diversity hiring isn't about showing some metrics on paper. Their aim is to improve organizational competencies on a broader scale. But most companies do not have a diversity hiring strategy or struggle with the one that they have.


The main problem which companies face in hiring women leaders in India is inertia amongst candidates to explore a career change This is aggravated by a lack of competence levels to attract talent and in evaluating them. Also, bias amongst evaluators is also witnessed. We recently worked with a company which was seeking to improve the diversity mix across their leadership teams. They were aiming to hire seven women executives having more than seventeen years of industry experience. The senior management had recently created a talent diversity agenda and was looking to implement it across all levels.


An initial challenge that they faced was buy-in from some of the male executives. These executives grew with the organization for many years and were not open to the idea of hiring women executives. Their misapprehensions lay in certain fixed opinions especially around performance and cultural fitment. Over a period of time, these issues led to the underrepresentation of women talent at every level within the organization.


The Solution: As a result, this company was losing out exceptional women talent to competitors. The led to a setback in growth opportunities and the inability to create a competitive advantage. This company signed up Han Digital to help them with their diversity hiring initiative. Through market mapping activities by our internal research team, we were able to identify industry best practices followed to hire diversity candidates. The team also mapped availability of diversity candidates across experience, salaries and locations.


Rather than focusing on diversity as a keyword to fulfil these positions, our consultants created pitch documents to showcase opportunities to women candidates. Senior recruiters evaluated candidates on multiple parameters. Personal interviews with Han Digital directors aimed at assessing candidates not merely to fulfil client criteria, but also on the merit of the positions for which they were applying to.


The Result: Following multiple levels of discussions, our client identified 3 women leaders in the first quarter and 4 in the second quarter. With this exercise, our client was able to showcase themselves as an attractive employer to diversity candidates and establish themselves as a talent brand for the future as well.


Globally, there is a proactive effort by business leaders to increase their talent diversity to drive business growth. Inclusive policies and diversity programs are a good start. With the right hiring partners, the ability to attract the best talent completes the journey.


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