Why Hiring More Women Will Change Your Business

May 5, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

diversity hiringGender bias — the two words that could be keeping your company from better performance, and equally, the two that could be bolstering a soapbox prepped for a lawsuit. 

Whether or not it's a matter of unconscious doing, the bias against hiring women is not a new weed in the grapevine. 

Organizations today probably wouldn't need a step-by-step guidebook on hiring more women, but the lack of a diversity hiring strategy is still a problem many recruiters (sometimes unknowingly) face. Research studies prove that having more female employees can increase productivity and company growth, so where are all the women?

At the root of the issue, both male and female hiring managers are said to be more inclined to hire men, disrupting the team's gender balance from the talent funnel starting point. One report even suggests companies that hire for upper-level management workers who aren't already part of the organization is a sign of career development problems that goes beyond a flawed hiring system. 

The case for hiring women is no longer just about trampling the talent-gender gap and providing equal opportunities — it's a proven argument. The Anita Borg Institute, a nonprofit that provides resources for women in technology, published a study in March on the business advantages of hiring women. Innovation by Design: The Case for Investing in Women, compiles research from the past 10 years that proves increasing the ratio of women to men in a company:

  • Improved operational and financial performance

  • Increased innovation

  • Boosted troubleshooting and company branding

  • Strengthened group productivity

Here are more takeaways from The Case for Investing in Women, and how your company can apply them to its recruiting and hiring strategies:

Women in senior-level roles boost companies' economic performance, which is attributed to positive interpersonal management skills like inclusiveness and the ability to collaborate.

What you can do: Provide a clear path of career development that supports the progress of under-represented groups moving to higher management positions, including a career plan, reading resources, or access to conferences to nurture the opportunity.

Fortune 500 companies with at least three female managers experienced an increase on the return on invested capital by at least 66%. 

What you can do: Optimize the networks your employees already have, and have the potential to generate, to grow your organization more efficiently than the competition. Creating a more diverse workforce expands the industry into new markets of people and consumers. 

An equal proportion of men and women working in groups can improve innovation and team performance, in part because of women's tendencies to be more inclusive, more focused on collaborating skills and practicing trial and error. 

What you can do: Try A/B testing this management technique with your team to find out what works best. While this study may recommend evenly splitting a group's male-to-female count, the success of a team's performance can't be completely credited to a fair battle between the sexes. Simply, certain employees work and progress differently from others. 

Companies that hire more candidates from under-represented groups have higher retention rates. 

What you can do: A diverse workforce, especially one with a diversified management team, attracts a wider spread of job seekers with various backgrounds, experiences, and business insights, in addition to building a stronger company image.

The bottom line? A more diverse workforce yields more productivity and innovation. Companies should be hiring the right person for the job, not only to create a diverse team. Read the whole ABI report here. 

Join the conversation on diversity hiring with Box's Sarah Lovelace, senior manager of technical recruiting, and Entelo Recruiter Evangelist Loni Spratt to learn how to increase workplace diversity. Click here to register:

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