The business case for women

The business case for women

Business consulting expert Jeffery Halter outlines the importance of women as managers, employees and consumers, and what companies can do to tap into the power of females. 

Expo East appearance:
Women in Leadership: Executive Success - Secrets Revealed
Friday, September 19
2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Room 318
Baltimore Convention Center

Business today is tough. Companies are struggling to drive mid-single-digit growth and yet are expected to deliver double-digit earnings results. There is an unprecedented war for talent, and the average employee engagement level in the US today is less than 40 percent.

What most men and most organizations don’t know is the solution to all three of these challenges is women, women and women. The business case for women today is overwhelming:

In the US economy women control more than 80 percent of all consumer spending representing $7 trillion, (in the natural health industry women represent over 90 percent of the spending). If US women were a stand-alone country they would be the have the third largest GDP in the world! Yet most organizations still look upon the women’s market as a niche.

Women, (and minorities) make up over 80 percent of the under-30 workforce. Said another way, if your organization is dependent on young intellectual talent, it looks significantly different than most senior leadership teams.

Research is now finding that given the multifaceted multitasking lives of women, women are now the most highly engaged element of your workforce. High-performing companies are finding that women’s engagement level is above 80 percent.

The business case for women is overwhelming. Senior leadership today in most organizations is still predominantly male. The challenge is not that men are unaware of the facts and data, but rather in the fact that men have not internalized the business case for women. In the natural products area men are well aware that women are the primary consumers. But have their organizations truly started a dialogue around men and women working together to help senior leadership internalize the business opportunity for women? Research of best practice companies points to some key areas for men and women to focus on in joint partnership:

  • Senior leaders, specifically men, need to internalize the business case for women as consumers and employees and talk about why women are so important to the business. Can your organization articulate its revenue, operating profit, talent recruitment, advancement, and engagement metrics regarding women? For women to be a true business priority, (versus what many organizations see as a ‘nice to do’) this needs to be part of the daily conversation.
  • Deepen the organization’s cultural competency regarding women. Does your organization truly understand the deep and complex lives of women and how this impacts both the marketplace and the workplace? Many organizations still have predominantly male sales forces, yet most men have never been taught how to effectively sell to women. Has your salesforce received training on the differences between selling to men and selling to women?
  • Organizations must acknowledge and adapt to the differences in how men and women operate. Men and women are different, very different. We communicate differently, we solve problems differently, and we handle stress differently. The challenge is most leaders today have been trained to manage people in the same manner. Success today means that men and women need to be able to meet jointly to discuss the unique strengths both parties bring to the workforce.

Women are ready to begin this conversation. Men, all you need to do is ask.

Excerpt from, The Complete Organizational Guide to Winning with Women, being released in the November 2014.
Jeffery Tobias Halter is the President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership development. Jeffery will be leading a panel at the upcoming Expo East, Executive Success: What Men Aren't Telling Women.

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