Research shows that women get less credit than men for the same work, and also when they work as part of a team of men.
Across industries, women report that their hard work goes unnoticed, a male colleague gets credit for a shared initiative, or they are too often passed up for growth opportunities, from attending important meetings to introductions to new clients.
Why should employers care?
Undoubtedly, particularly in male-dominated industries such as finance, part of the responsibility to break this pattern falls on employers to promote a culture that encourages the success of women.
Teams that provide equal space to individuals to voice their ideas have been proven to enjoy many benefits:
It can improve performance, help teams come up with creative solutions, and avoid issues that might hold them back. (HBR, Nov 17)
Employers need to ask themselves whether they are leveraging their female employees to their highest and best use for their own business outcomes.
As research confirms, increasing gender diversity improves financial performance, supports innovation and increases problem solving. All of this can only happen when employers drive initiatives to make all employees heard and have performance recognition proactively managed.
Why should women care?
Those who speak the most in groups tend to emerge as leaders. (HBR, 2017)
One of the primary reasons women do not always get the recognition they deserve in the workplace is that they do not speak up. The responsibility falls equally to women working in these industries to be adamant about having their ideas recognised and duly credited.
This is not just a problem for women coming up through the ranks; women at the top of their field find these issues arise again in the boardroom when it comes to external visibility.
What can women do to raise their profile and recognition?
Remember: Doing a good job is not good enough. Women are more likely than men to work hard and assume that their work will be recognised by colleagues and employers.
Be proactive: Women should not wait until they have been passed up to take ownership (retrospectively) for their ideas and work. They need to make sure they are sharing their ideas as their ideas explicitly and ‘real time’, and making clear requests about what their expectations are.
Be strategic: This is not about sharing every tick on a ‘to do’ list and looking for recognition. Women should consider which ideas or pieces of work their manager or team will be interested in; ‘how can I share what I’ve learnt that will help move the business or relationship forward?’
Audience analysis: Who is in the room and what do they care about? Ideas and pieces of work will only get credited when they successfully land with someone.
Speak with conviction: For important meetings, preparation is key. Where there is a pressurized situation, women (and men!) benefit from being very clear what they need to share and how they are going to articulate it.
Kirsty Reynolds joined Templar Advisors in 2016 following a successful banking career with Citi, UBS and Deutsche Bank in both London and Paris. Kirsty’s particular area of interest is female communication and leadership. She works with female executives on a 1:1 coaching basis, as well as group training, on workplace communications, including negotiation and influence.
At Templar, we work with employers on diversity initiatives and female development and leadership programmes, as well as individual women on a coaching basis. Please see our Women’s Development Series for more details or get in touch to speak to one of our consultants.