At Gild Collective, we work most often with the leaders of women’s initiatives—whether they are formal employee resource groups, or more grassroots initiatives gaining traction within organizations. Over time, as we get to know them and their challenges, we’ve recognized that there is a power in sharing. As we prepare for our fourth meeting of the women’s initiative roundtable in our home-base of Cincinnati, Ohio, we have seen leaders come together to share and support one another as they tackle similar challenges, and brainstorm solutions when a new hurdle presents itself.
After our first meeting, we surveyed the roundtable participants across industries and roles within their companies to understand the challenges their women’s initiatives were facing, because we knew that breaking down these barriers was the best way to achieve success for each women’s initiative.
Key Factors in Building a Successful Women’s Initiative
- Creating a positive perception of the women’s initiative within your organization as a whole, including increased understanding of why it is needed and and how it fits into diversity and inclusion within your organization
- Increasing engagement (attendance at events, interest in taking on leadership roles)
- Retaining female employees through the 4-7 year “drop off” period and beyond
- Impacting policy change at your organization
- Creating a mission and setting strategic goals for your initiative
- Gaining buy-in from senior leadership (both male and female)
- Defining appropriate metrics and tactics for measuring success of your women’s initiative
- Finding the appropriate balance between internally facing and externally facing programs and events
- Increasing attendance, buy-in, and engagement of men within your organization
- Increasing engagement with special groups, such as remote employees or administrative/staff roles
While at first glance, these may just seem like numbers on a page, each of these has the power and stories of 30 women’s initiatives behind it. I recently partnered up with Caitlin Graham Felvus of Taft Law—a roundtable participant and past client—on a podcast interview with Brandon Hall Group’s HXMx Radio. In the interview, I share these findings, and Caitlin does an excellent job of adding a personal story and insight to the challenge and impact that comes with building a successful women’s initiative.
We continue to work with the leaders who participate in the roundtable and with our clients to tackle these challenges and push for greater success. We know that this emphasis on gender diversity is critical to organizations recruitment, retention, and promotion of women, and our mission is to check the box on these items one by one. To dive deeper, check out more of our blog series on women’s initiatives.