Digital marketing expert Tamara Monosoff explains why hiring more women could be the key to success for your small business.
You’ve likely heard that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that “…50 percent [of small businesses will fail] within the fifth year…” Yikes! This is why it’s essential for business owners to quickly, and intentionally, find talent to give them that distinctive edge. Here’s a little secret: women employees and leaders have been statistically linked to increasing bottom line profitability in companies. “According to research from McKinsey & Company, published in January 2018, gender diversity on executive teams is strongly correlated with profitability…” (INC Magazine 2018).
With more female executive role models and corporate training programs nurturing and investing in women’s leadership skills, an expansion of women in high-level positions will continue. This trend can also be seen in top tier undergraduate Business Administration and MBA programs where women are increasingly being prepared for leadership roles. Business education is also becoming more accessible than ever as universities innovate and compete to attract new students. Mills College, for example, a leading women’s university in California has just dropped its undergraduate tuition 36% enabling more women to enter their new Business Administration major this year.
“Successful businesses know that attracting more women and cultivating them as leaders is a key to maintaining superior performance. Not only are women key sources of creative ideas, more importantly, they tend to emphasize collaboration over competition leading to healthier team dynamics and superior project outcomes,” says Kate Karniouchina, Dean of the Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College.
So now it’s time for small businesses to pay close attention to the benefits that women bring to the table. Here are five qualities that should not be underestimated.
Women leaders are:
– More collaborative and inclusive. They don’t pretend to know all the answers, they recognize other team members’ expertise and rely on them to make more informed decisions. They are also more likely to nurture and mentor junior team members and invest in their professional growth.
– Well prepared. Women leaders take the time necessary to gather and analyze information carefully and ask for input from others in order to adequately prepare before making important decisions.
– Problem-solvers with a creative twist. When I was being interviewed on TV as a successful small business owner, the TV host said, “It’s amazing how you think outside of the box.” My response was, “What box?” I have found that women can creatively solve problems on the spot while simultaneously considering every possible outcome. We do this while managing our families, taking care of our friendships and relationships, and in our leadership roles in business.
– More emotionally intelligent. Research shows that, on average, women business leaders have higher rates of “emotional intelligence.” According to Forbes.com, “Emotional intelligence is your ability to, 1) identify and manage your own emotions; 2) pick up on the emotions [and body language] of others and manage them; and 3) in so doing, build trust and grow influence.”
– Comfortable leading with consideration and empathy. In the workplace, women leaders often walk on an ever-changing tightrope trying to navigate the best course of action while also navigating the judgments of others. It’s old news that women leaders are often judged more harshly by both women and men. However, the women leaders who excel in business have to put their self-doubt aside and forge on. What is distinctive is that even when being judged they typically keep the best interest of others in mind.
– Resilient when faced with challenges. Despite well documented barriers and judgements, given the opportunity, women most often step-up to the challenge with bold conviction and work tirelessly to exceed expectations and get the job done. This is why cultivating women leaders is one of the best investments a small business owner can make.
Now that you know the benefits, how can you find women leaders to join your venture?
- Look where you haven’t looked before. There may be women in your company right now who can do more for you. But they may doubt their own capabilities or do not want to appear self-promotional. However, with some encouragement and training they may be able to solve some of your toughest problems.
- Don’t create unnecessary obstacles to finding talent. You may be your own biggest obstacle in attracting great talent. No matter how many incredible skills they possess, women are less likely than men to respond to job listings if they don’t check every box on a listing. Make sure that your listing is not unnecessarily eliminating people you may want to interview.
- Take a real look at your business culture. Are you sincerely open to taking full advantage of everyone’s contributions (both men and women)? How do you know? Have a candid conversation with the women in your company. Ask the question, “Am I giving you the opportunity to fully contribute to this organization?” Note: Unless you’ve created a safe environment, you may not get the candid response you need. If you do not know how to facilitate this type of dialog, hire a consultant who can.
In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook says, “Teams that work together well outperform those that don’t… So perhaps one positive result of having more women at the top is that our leaders will have been trained to care more about the well-being of others.”
Building a gender diverse team by hiring women is not just about creating equity and equality in the workplace. But instead, it is a key ingredient for creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment which can lead to increased performance, innovation, better products, and profits. Small business owners who recognize the benefits of hiring women early in their ventures, will quickly find them to be a vital ingredient in their recipe for success.
Dr. Tamara Monosoff is a digital marketing expert and bestselling business author. Tamara has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Wall Street Journal, Oprah, People & Time magazines to name a few. Before becoming an author and entrepreneur, she served in the White House and U.S. Department of Education as a Presidential Appointee to the Clinton Administration. Learn more here: TamaraMonosoff.com.