What should organizations do to support women?
A lot of companies are willing and ready to support women to achieve their goals, but they might not know where to start. As Jodi explains, there are a few practical steps and strategies organizations can use.
1. Career mapping
“First of all, career mapping is essential,” says Jodi. “You have to ask people what they want to do and where they want to go. I’ve been fortunate to work in organizations with a deep interest in leveraging my talents and skillsets. It’s more than just a review at the end of the year - ideally, you have quarterly check-ups to track progress.”
This goes beyond simple performance review. When done well, career mapping offers a concrete action plan for women to advance in their careers.
2. Poll your team
“Another thing that really works is polling your team to find what they need, what they’d like to learn about, and how you can help,” says Jodi. “For example, at SmileDirectClub, my team has asked for training about leadership styles, and driving results through emotional intelligence.”
“By shaping content to share with your team, you show them that you care about their development, and you’re really listening to what they’re saying.”
3. Offer your team a forum to express their aspirations
As Jodi explains, supporting your team’s development - especially women - is about offering a forum for discussion and community-building around leadership.
“It’s important to give your teams a forum for open discussion, especially right now during the COVID pandemic,” says Jodi. “Lately, I’ve hosted discussions for people wanting to take the time to learn something and add to their leadership skills.”
4. Carve out time for team development
For smaller organizations, hosting leadership forums might sound like a challenge. But as Jodi explains, there are still plenty of things you can do. “Some organizations aren’t fortunate enough to have big L&D departments,” says Jodi. “In that case, it’s down to leaders to carve out time for team development.”
“I’ve interviewed women across the world who don’t have access to formal programs, but there’s still so much people can do. Form a think tank, build a network, or join a leadership group. With a little innovation, you can always bring something to the table.”
Encourage your team to speak up and share their needs
At the end of the day, real change always comes from the bottom-up, not top-down. Our role as leaders is to create an environment that allows that bottom-up exchange to happen.
When it comes to personal development, some people may not be as forthcoming as others. But as Jodi says, it’s up to company leadership to encourage people to speak up. “You need to ask your people what they want to achieve for themselves.”
At 360Learning, we’re all about creating forums for people to express their learning needs - and to share their own skills and knowledge. That’s why we’re so delighted to hear practical examples of business leaders putting this strategy into action.
Many thanks to Jodi for taking the time to share her insights and experience with us!
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