Women in Talent: These 5-Word Statements Say It All
Last year was a rollercoaster for women in the workplace. With most companies going remote, homeschooling becoming the norm, and historic job losses affecting almost 2X more women than men, burnout among women has become an everyday reality. But, despite the challenges, there are silver linings too—post-2020, the number of women in positions of power is growing, and positive change is on its way.
To find out exactly how things changed for women last year, we asked some top female talent pros to share their thoughts. From how to become more agile to why we should all be advocating for more, these influential women have a ton of wisdom, positivity and calls to action to share.
Now is the time to listen.
“These days, women prove they can crash through the glass ceiling and then throw a ladder down to other women—and yet they are still not treated equally to men in the workplace.” - Phidelia Johnson CHRO at Pac J
As Chief HR Officer at Pac-J Services, Phidelia Johnson knows a thing or two about what it takes to win as a woman. But despite her personal success, Phidelia has been witness to the hardships women can face.
“As the pandemic continues to disrupt every aspect of the workplace, businesses are being challenged to do many things to engage their human capital—especially women,” explains Phidelia. “These days, women prove they can crash through the glass ceiling and then throw a ladder down to other women—and yet they are still not treated equally to men in the workplace. We still have a pay gap, with women earning just 80% of what men earn for the same work. While this insight isn’t anything new, it’s yet another critical call to action.”
For Phidelia, the answer lies in embracing diversity in the workplace. “If organizations want to be an organization of choice, they must have a meaningful and useful Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity (DIB&E). And above all, there need to be ongoing opportunities for women in the workplace to have their say, to connect with senior leaders, and to have a sense they can be more and achieve more,” she says. “Organizational leaders need to be clear about their expectations because women are multitasking with multiple pressures.”
But it’s not only leaders who can stand for change. Each worker plays a part too.
“As workers, we can each be an agent of change in our own capacities and in driving organizations towards talent solutions for women in the workplace—to enable women to gain leadership development and to transition into more prominent professional roles with equitable job titles and pay,” says Phidelia, “Equity for women, like perfection, is something to strive for. It may not be attainable in our generation, but simply by working towards the goal, we will make great strides forward.”
“We play a big role in setting the tone to ensure we're creating spaces that lift up women.” —Elena Valentine, CEO at Skill Scout
Filmmaker and Skill Scout CEO, Elena Valentine, takes HR storytelling to the next level.
Her media company helps share the stories of the world’s biggest brands—and captures the humanity of work at the same time. Through her work, Elena has seen the issues sparked by 2020’s events firsthand.
“By September 2020, 845,000 women left the workforce—4X more than their male counterparts. And that number disproportionately affected Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women,” she explains. It’s because of these recent events that Elena believes there’s no more time to waste.\“Winning as a woman in talent is advocating for policies that enable these woman (and those on the verge of leaving) to succeed at work and at home. We need to advocate for necessary changes that allow for a new level of flexibility,” she says. “Flexibility and grace can no longer be a nice-to-have—it's a must-have if we're committed to achieving any level of equity.”
It’s up to HR leaders to show the way. “We play a big role in setting the tone to ensure we're creating spaces that lift up women. It calls for a new shift in how we think about work productivity, outcomes and beyond. Especially after the damage the pandemic has caused to years of progress,”
For some powerful women in talent, success is about taking control and setting your own boundaries.
Talent powerhouse Laura Mazzullo, owner of New York based HR boutique, East Side Staffing, says it like it is: “Don’t let them guilt you.” The ‘guilt gap’ between men and women is real, with women in the workplace often more willing to take on professional sacrifice. How does Laura overcome that challenge? With a simple motto: “Knowing your worth is success,” \
“Advocate, mentor, and show empathy”
“The best path forward is to ensure historically under-represented populations have representation especially in leadership ranks.” — Romy Newman, President and Co-founder at Fairygodboss
If you’ve been in the HR space for long, you’ll have heard of Romy Newman. As President and Co-founder of women’s career community Fairygodboss, Romy is dedicated to helping women succeed in the workplace.But the impact of 2020 has been palpable on the women she works with.
“The multiple crises of 2020 have had an extremely negative impact on women in the workplace—and especially Women of Color. Women have exited the workforce in droves, and those that remain are experiencing burnout at an unprecedented pace,” explains Romy. Despite the fallout, Romy believes there is a route to inclusion—and we all have a part to play. “The best path forward is to ensure historically under-represented populations have representation especially in leadership ranks. Once we do, it's up to us to advocate, mentor, and show empathy,”
"Winning as a woman in talent is about helping to redefine and reshape the workplace into a landscape that is more diverse, more flexible, more accepting, more innovative and more supportive.”
“As women we so often take on the role of carer, which means we accept any imbalance more readily, but we mustn’t.” —Katrina Collier, Author, Speaker & Facilitator, The Searchologist
Katrina Collier is on a mission to get all the people who recruit people to treat people better. And she’s taking that challenge head-on. From her raved-about podcast to her must-read book The Robot-Proof Recruiter—plus her ambassadorship for Hope for Justice, which aims to end modern-day slavery—Katrina’s got her mission down.
But for Katrina, there’s one detail that can bring about huge change for women in the workplace: getting recruiters to work with hiring managers to get the job done. “In-house recruiters and talent acquisition professionals, your job is to partner with your hiring leaders through the process, not to take on the role of a service or admin function. Stop calling them hiring managers and call them ‘hiring partners’ because they are not managing the recruitment process, you are!”
“As women we so often take on the role of carer, which means we accept any imbalance more readily, but we mustn’t. Shake it off—you will recruit better people if you work together to find the right person for the role.” The importance of this really hit home when Katrina was writing The Robot-Proof Recruiter. In chapter 5—aptly named Get Your Intake Right—Katrina explains exactly how to get it sorted.
“I called in industry experts Steve Levy, Maisha Cannon & Tangie Pettis to arm my readers with the information they need to go into this crucial meeting ready; ready to partner! It results in the success or failure of the entire hiring process,” says Katrina.
Here’s how it’s done:
“You explain your role in the process and they agree to theirs. Together you work to fill the role and in turn deliver a great experience that benefits candidates and your employer brand,” she explains.
Katrina has seen firsthand how working as a partnership can drive real change.
Over the course of the Robot-Proof Recruiter mastermind program I witness female recruiters, in particular, really sit up and demand partnership. Considering the mix of cultures who join each pod, it’s a delight to create this growth and see the results in their recruitment. In my podcast, I interview leaders who are already partnering with recruiters about why they do it, how they do it and what partnering achieves,”
Above all, Katrina has one call to action.
“Recruiters, it’s time to partner with your hiring leaders and see the differences it makes,” “Reinventing yourself is a lifestyle”