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The World of Work Is Shifting – Our Mindset in Female Leadership Should Too

April 22, 2015 by Anka Wittenberg 0

What we have traditionally known as work is undergoing a massive transformation.

Whenever I interact with my children – ages 28, 25, and 22 – I am very much reminded of how things have changed. They represent an increasing population commonly referred as millennials. Right now, my children are dispersed across two different time zones. And when the time comes to coordinate family get-togethers, they frequently tell me that my e-mails are not working for them. Instead, they’d rather use other instant messaging channels to communicate and coordinate schedules.

But, let us take a step back. What’s driving this change?

Technology is advancing at warp speed. The workforce demographic is gradually getting younger and more technologically dynamic. No longer are slick campaigns and cleverly designed products the driver of growth – now, it’s all about information and knowledge sharing. And last, but not least, companies are facing increasing pressure to innovate to win the top seat in the market.

These factors are all driving this transformation and are defining the Future of Work with profound implications for businesses of all sizes, employees, and communities.

Workforce 2020: Encouraging women to take a seat at the executive table

Preparing for the 2020 workforce is critical to business strategy and performance. According to a recent survey conducted by Oxford Economics, managing the influences of a rapidly changing workforce is critical and requires a better handle on diversity and technology. Unfortunately, 65% believe that current leaders do not have the skills needed to address these issues in a manner that inspires and empowers a workforce that is diverse and global.

This environment is ripe for leaders to proactively redefine their people strategies. Not only do they need to focus on the technological, lifestyle, and emotional needs of future employees, but also how to identify and groom top talent for future leadership roles. And to make sure no stone is left unturned when searching for the best people available, CEOs and CHROs need to find ways to acquire, retain, and develop a part of the workforce population that is largely unrepresented in the boardroom – women. Achieving gender diversity is a top goal for companies of all sizes.

What we have seen in the last couple of years is women adjusting to a very male-dominated culture. However, covering up natural female behavior or appearances to be seen as more masculine does not enable women to lead effectively.

The women I see succeeding bring their whole self to it,” says Barbara Annis, founding Partner of Gender intelligence Group.

Participate in the discussion. Start making plans. Create opportunity.

That’s why I find events such as Global Female Leaders 2015 so fascinating. With only 24% of women in senior leadership positions, these conferences are chock-full of insight that can help them realize their full potential.

And believe me, there are more than 12% of us who are deserving of a seat in the boardroom.

What will it take to make women stay in the workforce? And better yet, how divergent are their needs from those of their male counterparts?

According to “Gender Surveys,” conducted by Gender Intelligence Group (formerly, Barbara Annis & Associates), the myth that most women leave the workforce because they want a better balance between work and life is absolutely untrue. In fact, the study identified these five main reasons:

  1. Not valued in the workplace (68%)
  2. Exclusion from teams and key decisions (65%)
  3. Workplace dominated by men (64%)
  4. Lack of opportunity for advancement (55%)
  5. Work-life issues (30%)

This list is not really surprising. Whenever you choose your work life over your personal responsibilities, your job better be worth your time. Not only should your job be challenging and self-fulfilling, but you must also feel that you are making a difference in your team, your organization, your business, and the world at large. And this is especially the case for women who are raising their own families and taking care of aging family members.

Is your culture inclusive and giving your female employees a reason to stay, raise their hand, and accept promotions for advancement? If not, now is the time to change that. The future of your business is counting on it. What are you waiting for?

For more tips and expert insight on how to prepare for the Future of Work, access the latest research and join the conversation at #FutureOfWork.

This story originally appeared on SAP Community Network.

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