The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic pressures faced in America may prevent women’s progress in the workforce by more than half a decade. A recent study on women in the workplace in 2022 found that 25% of women – and nearly one-third of mothers – are considering slowing their careers or leaving the workforce altogether. This drastic change is due to a lack of opportunities for advancement, increasing family demands (that other family members do not meet), and burnout, among other factors.
With many women frustrated in their careers and considering leaving their companies or industry, many leaders are frantically searching for ways to recruit and retain women. However, doing so requires not only a change of job description but a change of company culture.
One of the best ways to support and encourage female leadership in your company is to provide mentorship programs for junior employees. By encouraging women in senior positions to work with young talent in a mentorship program, you can create a more inclusive environment for women to thrive. Before you begin planning your mentorship program, however, use these three tips for success:
Encourage both formal and informal mentorships.
While some companies offer formal mentorship options, where mentors and mentees meet regularly to discuss progress, career goals, and growth opportunities, other mentorships are created organically. So, if you see a woman at your company with great potential, try to guide them or connect them to individuals who can help show them the path to success in your industry.
Offer incentives and rewards.
One of the many reasons women are leaving the workforce or changing careers in the new decade is that they often feel underappreciated in their positions. Studies have found women put in more work to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace but are rarely recognized for these efforts. They are also more likely to be mistaken for someone more junior at their company or are passed up for promotions due to their family life (whereas the family life of men in the same position is not considered). If you want to show the women in your company that they are genuinely valued, offer opportunities for promotions, salary increases, and more job flexibility for those who participate in your mentorship programs.
Mentorship isn’t solely about job skills.
Finding a good mentor for the people within your company isn’t solely about developing job skills. While professional mentorship is essential, your employees need someone they can gain inspiration from – someone who shows them how to work hard, create work-life balance, and find meaning in their careers. The best mentors are those who are not only skilled at their jobs but who can serve as role models to the women at your company.
By retaining and recruiting female talent in the workplace, you can make your company a more diverse and enjoyable place to work. Want to learn more? Check out our workforce development programs here.