If you are a woman working in technology, you will often be the only female in the room … and it will often feel strange. But this diversity—your diversity—will add value.
During the 2016 Human Resource Executive HR Technology Conference & Expo on October 4, several female leaders in HR technology participated in various panel sessions at the first-ever Women in Technology preconference event.
Many of the panelists graduated from college with a liberal arts degree and transferred into HR technology later in their careers through various career-transforming—and disrupting—experiences. The key for most was to be fearless and to constantly explore new opportunities.
Another steppingstone to their successful transition and advancement was having a coach or mentor along the way. All agreed that these helpers, both women and men, can come in many forms and from many types of backgrounds.
One of the most significant factors leading to success for women in technology careers today is an organization that supports women with compassion, offers continuous development opportunities and removes traditional roadblocks to advancement. As an example, SAP not only provides workplace flexibility and opportunities for growth and advancement but also innovative perks such as the “Stork Program,” which quick-ships the breast milk of their traveling new moms back home for their babies.
Women in male-dominated workplaces are often tagged with the negative label of being too “aggressive” in meetings—when demonstrating the same behavior that is considered acceptable in their male colleagues. Conflict management was cited by the panelists as being an important business competency for navigating these situations and environments. .
Some women on the panel claimed that in the past they had been told just the opposite—that they were “too nice”—but agreed that women should never have to compromise their leadership style to fit into a mold that an organization creates. It’s important to find a workplace culture that’s a good fit for your talents and your personality.
Where are all the women?
Panelists agreed that often the problem with sourcing and hiring women for technology positions is that there is an absence of women in the candidate funnel. This is where your employees can help. Employees are the absolute best recruiters now. And it’s all social. Organizations can unleash the power contained in social media by empowering employees to share the message of their employer brand and culture to the outside world.
The tide is turning for women in technology and other traditionally male-dominated professions. How is your organization supporting and advancing women?
HR Technology Conference Co-Chair Steve Boese and "Women in Technology" session panelists.
Photo courtesy of Heather Bussing.
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