Your existing female employees are key to identifying changes that you can make to support their retention and that of other female employees. Listen to, and act on, their feedback. Ensure that your commitment to women in STEM is visible in every part of the organisation and in all its activities. Manage career breaks so that staff are supported to return. Increase the visibility, and celebrate the achievement and success, of all your female employees.
We provide a range of opportunities for our female employees to give feedback, raise concerns and offer recommendations to support their, and future female employee’s, participation and progression.
Listening to your female apprentices and acting on any concerns is the best way to demonstrate that you wish to retain and develop them. Positive and negative feedback are equally valuable to you.
- Organise networking groups – women engineers, apprentices, parents. Record their comments and act on them
- Using employee engagement tools such as surveys and focus groups will give you the opportunity to understand the challenges women and, in particular, your female apprenticeship cohort have faced in the workplace
- WISE uses its Cultural Analysis Tool (CAT) to look at the different ways men and women experience the workplace
- Using a specific survey for your apprentices would enable them to anonymously report their experiences which may be a useful way to monitor the satisfaction of the women in that cohort.
We are seen to value and to act on these recommendations.
Analyse all responses and act on this. Acknowledge the positives as well as taking action on the negatives.
We publicly demonstrate our commitment to the participation and promotion of women in STEM careers.
Making a public pledge to retaining and developing your female staff is an effective way of demonstrating that you want to create an inclusive environment.
- Ensure your commitment to support and employ women is clear on your website and all marketing and promotional literature
- Ensure your desire to increase diversity is evident in all recruitment materials
- Sign up and engage with to the WISE Ten Steps good practice framework for the retention and development of female talent
Visibly show your commitment and access resources, and good practice guides
- Consider becoming a WISE member and being part of a national network supporting women into STEM. Benefits include opportunity to display the nationally recognised WISE logo, access to networking, events and resources
- Connect with specific women in STEM organisations and partners, and women’s networks within relevant professional organisations.
We raise the visibility of our female employees and support them to become confident and skilled role models.
Giving your female apprentices visibility both inside the business (to decision makers) and outside the business as representatives of the company is important to demonstrate you value their contribution.
- Ensure that for ALL internal and external, public and professional events, you endeavour to ensure that there are male and female representatives of the business
- Use a wide range of female representatives in terms of age, culture, role etc. Do not rely too heavily on particular individuals, they are there to get on with their job. Female apprentices in particular have interesting stories to tell and can be tremendous ambassadors for the business in panel discussions, at conferences and exhibitions.
- Visibly celebrate your female employees’ contribution, success and promotion through media opportunities, internally and externally
- Ensure you equip your female employees with the tools to do a good job - be it confidence on a career’s stand
or communication skills in front of an audience or a microphone. People Like Me training will support them to engage with girls and build their confidence
- Offering access to Presentation Skills and Media training is hugely beneficial – don’t expect it all to come naturally without any training
- Some of your employees may need coaxing to participate, support them to develop confidence through group activities, observing and partnering others in outreach activities - they will soon want to join in
- Provide opportunities for them to engage with young people and promote STEM education and careers.
We have a positive attitude to career breaks and provide support to assist our staff to return.
Having a positive attitude and proactive approach to career breaks means that your female employees will not feel pressurised and anxious about any future plans they may have to start a family or take any form of career break. Knowing they have the support of the company and their line manager, whatever the future, will build long term employee loyalty and make the most of your investment in them.
- Address unconscious bias in managers who may feel that career breaks, flexible working and maternity leave are incompatible with certain roles
- Implement appropriate company policies and translate them into practice on such topics as:
- Good maternity and paternity packages
- Shared parental leave
- Part time and flexible working
- Review and update these policies regularly, with employees, to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Set up a Parents or Carers Network that supports working parents. This is a great indication that you encourage a family friendly working life.
- Make sure that if/when your female employees reach the stage of requiring a career break you have a proactive approach to keeping in touch and welcoming them back. The WISE Returners Course is one suitable way of showing your support.
We actively celebrate the achievements of all our female employees acknowledging to them, and others, the value we place on their success.
Female apprentices are a great success story when everything goes well! And hopefully this toolkit has ensured that all has gone well. Celebrating their success is good for the individual, for the company and is encouraging for anyone wanting to follow a similar pathway.
- Do visibly celebrate your female employees’ success at all stages of their career through internal schemes or by simply acknowledging success within the review process. We all do better for a ‘pat on the back’.
Why not nominate your scheme or one of your female employees for an award. Lots of recognition and award schemes are in existence.