Two sets of three tips on inducting women to new management positions

Marcel Ramin Derakhchan2. July 2019

How can companies succeed in raising the share of women in management positions in a sustained manner? Maren Martschenko, brand consultant and board member of Digital Media Women, outlines three success criteria for female managers getting off to the ideal start in the corporate world. Marcel Derakhchan, Managing Partner of dla digital leaders advisory rounds off the account with three aspects that are important in executive searches and the staffing of management positions with female professionals.

“Monocultures are bad for business.”

Marcel Derakhchan – Our key focus in the executive search of female managers:

1. Qualifications are the name of the game

When staffing a position, we concentrate – together with the company – on finding the best qualified individual for the role – whether male or female is secondary to begin with. The challenge on the German employment market is not necessarily finding highly qualified female candidates. Far more, it is an issue of overcoming the thresholds in the recruiting processes that are still not in line with gender-sensitive selection procedures in many of today’s companies.

2. All alone?

The McKinsey survey entitled “Women in the Workplace” described the problem very aptly that many women experience in their jobs when they find that they are literally “the only woman” on the team. And in the case of women in higher management echelons and in technical functions, this situation was encountered twice as frequently as in other functions. Such monocultures, however, are bad for business over the long term. In view of this fact, we advise companies to build up an in-house pipeline of junior executives enabling the new female managers to get off to a good start in teams with greater diversity.

3. Exchange is uplifting.

When there are programs in place in companies that specifically break up such patterns in order to promote the upward mobility of female professionals, this is a major advantage from the viewpoint of the candidates. The “iLead. Make it your Game” program in place at Accenture is a salient example. Female high potentials embark on their individual development journeys together with sponsors from top management accompanying them.

Maren Martschenko:
TOP 3 success factors for the right start in new companies:

1. Creating sound general conditions.

The companies that already have a 30% share of women in management positions have created sound general conditions for the compatibility of private and professional life, as well as a framework supporting work in various teams. This includes flexible working hours and locations, true to the adage that “work is where the people are,” as well as management tasks in part time positions, and training offerings concerned with behavioral stereotypes and communication in critical situations.

2. A culture of trust.

The companies of the #30mit30 Campaign are encouraging women in their companies to take on management responsibility. This entails, for example, introducing mentoring programs for managers, as well as addressing women specifically and strengthening their positions. All in all, a “culture of trust” has been established. This includes flat hierarchies, informal communication channels and assigning greater responsibility to staff. In one company, for example, employees jointly developed a career model enabling the fair evaluation of the performance of all members of staff – without specific management participation

3. Mindset and talent count 50:50.

In the recruiting process companies pay special attention to the “cultural fit” in addition to qualification criteria. Talent and mindset are key factors. When joining the company employees undergo a several week program to become thoroughly conversant with corporate values, and to feel welcome right from the outset. In order to achieve a 40% percent share of women, one tech company is filling 60% of the respective positions with women and is cooperating specifically with women’s networks in order to recruit the appropriate candidate directly.

Maren Martschenko is a brand consultant and board member at Digital Media Women. Within a period of 30 weeks, the initiative #DMW Digital Media Women is looking for 30 companies that want to shape and advance digital transformation in which 30 percent or more of the management positions are already staffed with women.

At dla digital leaders advisory, Marcel Ramin Derakhchan is responsible for staffing top corporate management positions in companies active in business & professional services, as well as in software and high-tech firms. He specializes in complex search mandates calling for an interdisciplinary approach entailing search, organization consulting and individual coaching