Utah currently sits at a very low 3.1 percent unemployment rate. This is great for Utah, but rough for companies who need better candidates in their pipeline. The Women’s Leadership Institute proposes a solution to this pipeline problem: women.
Utah has an untapped resource of smart, capable women who can help your company grow. In a recent panel discussion with five Utah business executives, we explored this option in more detail. Through their suggestions, here are three things your company can do to work toward attracting female applicants:
1- Adopt the right policies.
“Create a women-friendly environment,” urges Cathy Donahoe in the 2018 ElevateHER event panel discussion. Donahoe is the vice president of human resources at Domo, a Silicon Slopes-based cloud software company, and a member of the WLI Advisory Board. “We need to adopt the right kinds of practices and policies about things like maternity leave and family leave.”
Donahoe explains the four, well-stocked nursing rooms Domo has for its nursing mothers – one in each of its buildings. Domo executives intentionally thought through what the needs would be of their female employees with babies at home. Cathy explains, “we also do ship-your-breast-milk-if-you’re-working. It’s all of these little pieces that make a difference.”
But adapting the right policies doesn’t have to be as difficult as structural changes in each of your buildings. You can start small. Think about the needs of your current female employees.
What policies do you have in place that create a work environment which would attract female employees?
2 – Rethink workplace traditions.
The rising generation of female employees are looking for more flexibility than the one before them. During WLI’s panel discussion, Chatbooks CEO and co-founder Nate Quigley mentioned why Chatbooks customer support team – which includes over 70 women – is so much better than his competitors. They all work from home. And in every timezone across the United States.
“I think we’ve recruited a customer support team that you can’t possibly hope to put into a cubicle form with a headset on,” explains Quigley. “Our customer support team is head and shoulders above our competitors’ support teams because we’re recruiting valedictorians and masters students who just don’t want to come into an office right now.”
Because Chatbooks rethinks traditional workplace arrangements, they have been able to recruit highly educated and highly skilled female employees who are not in a place in life that allows them to work in an office, but who still want to be a part of something great.
How flexible is your company?
3 – Communicate your benefits.
Because of the low 3.1% unemployment rate in Utah, women who are currently looking for work in your industry have the advantage. And they may choose whether or not to accept a job offer based on company culture or company policies that are conducive to their values.
As a company in the STEM industry, BioFire was already looking for female talent. Senior vice president and science officer Deepika de Silva pointed out during our discussion, that companies can’t overlook the importance of the interview process. “There is a crucial need in hiring,” de Silva points out. “There’s an onus on the company to present something that’s attractive to a woman because they have a choice of where to go.”
Do your top female candidates see or know why you are a great place for them to work?