28 August 2015

The Impact of Culture on Business Success?

Social-businessWith globalisation making the world a smaller place in recent years, organisations and us as individuals are now engaging with a proliferation of nations and cultures like never before. As we step into this brave new world, it is important to consider the similarities and differences between us and our global counterparts so we can leverage the most value out of these relationships. A part of this, whatever sector you are operating in, will be business culture. Your understanding of this could be the difference between failure and success. But what is culture? How can we ensure we remain appropriate with other foreign business cultures? Especially if your company is operating on an international level, it is essential to know how professional people in certain countries prefer to interact. One should therefore gain as much knowledge as possible about different cultures and manners of doing business across the globe.

In his book ‘When Cultures Collide’, Richard D. Lewis says "By focusing on the cultural roots of national behaviour, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate with a surprising degree of accuracy how others will react to our plans for them. Allowing us to make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us. A working knowledge of the basic traits of other cultures (as well as our own) will minimise unpleasant surprises (culture shock), give us insights in advance, and enable us to interact successfully with nationalities with whom we previously had difficulty”.

This blog is the introduction of a new series that will take a look at some of the main cultural differences you should consider when evaluating culture in your organisation, and will use a range of different environments and locations as examples. Each blog will feature a particular country, looking closely at how people in this region like to do business. Each country will be explored against the following criteria:

    1. Business Communications

The first barrier is the language; however many international businesses are capable of conducting interviews or meetings in English. In this section, I will be looking at how any featured country prefers to hold and run meetings, what language they prefer and the channels they use (face-to-face, video conference or phone meetings). Also this section will be looking at the internal communication preferences overall.

    2. Ice Breakers

Ice breakers are always hard, especially in a new environment. Some people are very good at it some not as much. Understanding the use of humour in the business context is an essential to ensure it is pitched right for each audience. In this section I will look closely at what is the best way to start a conversation, and what you should use as an ice breaker.

    3. Business Etiquette

Etiquette and manners are an integral part of any business transaction, no matter what the location. But how you greet people, is the eye contact appropriate while speaking? Your use of body language can greatly vary from one culture to the next. Also what is appropriate when presenting yourself, in terms of dress code or punctuality?

    4. Top 3 Do’s and Don’ts

This section will show you three top things to avoid when you are in meetings or interviews with individuals from any selected region and three things which will help you fit in and interact successfully.

So why am I so interested in understanding business cultures from around the world? Well, from my own experience having interviews in various places around Europe, emigrating from Poland to the UK, I felt this insight might even help you get a competitive advantage. Of course you may already have heard some myths or stereotypes about how different cultures interact. However more often than not, blanket stereotyping is not applicable and it is a deeper understanding of cultural drivers and motivations that is required, especially in the business environment. As an international company we should take the time to consider how we engage with our international colleagues, customers and partners and be aware of areas that may cause confusion or offence.

It is crucial to know what to expect from different nationalities, when communicating, conducting interviews, meetings, events etc. You need to make sure that you are respecting other cultures whilst giving them the tools and outline what is expected of them, so both sides can feel comfortable. Reading this series of blogs will hopefully educate you to some of the subtle differences between you and your international colleagues, helping you to relax and be more comfortable.

25 August 2015

95% of Companies Do Not Use Purpose-Built Technology To Onboard New Hires. Do You?

We recently ran a webinar on how to drive returns from your Onboarding programme and we looked at the importance of using technology to support this process. While the market continues buzzing about the role onboarding has in driving employee retention, productivity and engagement, the reality is that companies are still not investing enough time and focus on honing their onboarding strategies.

In fact, analyst firm Aberdeen concluded that even though 71% of organisations plan to increase hiring in the next 12 months, only 32% have a formal onboarding process in place to augment this uplift. This presents a gap and a missed opportunity to engage your new hire from day 1 and convert them into a loyal employee who gets productive faster.

I have experienced this missed opportunity first hand as a candidate/new hire in my career, whereby I was carefully hand-held during the recruitment process by the recruiter and agency, only to be left in the cold as soon as I accepted the offer with almost all engagement coming to a screeching halt. That left me wondering as a candidate, who’s yet to step into the new workplace, whether my new employer really cared that much about my position and how important it truly was. While I was still very excited to start my position, there was something niggling at me. Fortunately in my case the situation was quickly resolved, however negative feelings can quickly compound if there’s no plan in place to encourage new hires to feel welcome or to get them up and running in their new job quickly. My job worked out OK, but the onboarding experience was less than stellar and it was very much a missed opportunity to truly engage and excite me about the business and its aims and goals.

And now, being on the employer side of things, I realise that a best-in-class onboarding process is about knowing what you want to achieve from onboarding, but also having the technology to support you with it. A great onboarding solution can do a lot to amplify your vision for your onboarding programme, like creating a completely personalised experience for each new hire, helping them get acquainted with the job before they actually set foot in your company and filling out all these admin forms faster and easier, directly online.

So back to our results, which were fascinating and do show organisations have a long way to go to truly perfect their onboarding approach.

Our first question was: How would you describe your organisation in terms of onboarding approach?

The answer choices were

Have ad-hoc, paper based processes.

Have a standardised process, led by HR and very administratively focused approach.

Have some portal technology and allow new hires to complete a few tasks before their day 1 on the job.

Enhanced process in place with dedicated onboarding technology in place to allow personalised onboarding based on the type of job, location, etc. that begins as soon as offer is accepted.

The results? 



Our second question was: What technology do you currently use to drive your onboarding process?

The results were mixed, but as suspected, only 5% invested in a purpose-built onboarding solution while the rest were a combination of Excel, paper-based and some bespoke solution, built In house or Core HR.


So there you have it! If you are interested to learn more about onboarding and why it matters to help turn your candidate into a loyal, productive new hire and employee, then listen to our recording please click here.

21 August 2015


Edsi_hseihquoteIn part one, we raised two questions that will enable company leaders to either redefine, or define for the very first time, how they would intend their specific company culture to look, sound and feel like. These two very simple questions were: “what should the media say about you?” and “what should your staff say about you?”. The answers to these provide a blue print for your culture club. It should be interesting, exciting, inspiring, and other adjectives that are not synonyms to these words. Funky, informal, transparent, diverse, radical, eccentric, flamboyant – these are the slightly less obvious, yet more specific words that should jump out of your blue print, the vision of your culture club. Once this vision is intact, there are three more critical questions that should be answered before taking the next step.

Who is your Boy George?

Say what you will about cheeky British front man Boy George, but the legend understands the impact of leadership, vision, perception, and most importantly, transformation. All organizations need to get the band back together, and find their Boy George, and his Culture Club members. These should be the individuals who embody your core values. Hopefully, these are already leaders within your organization. If not, that is a tricky situation that leads to bold decisions, often to an organizational overhaul. Since these are never pleasant and definitely burdensome, most organizations unfortunately avoid taking these decisions and continue operating as they were. To really change things, you need to be bold, take risks, and make it your mission to locate your club members, no matter how difficult the journey.

This means finding leaders who embody your organization’s culture and your values. If you are a start-up going for a low key informal vibe, then having a perpetually suited-up sales personality leading your company is an obvious mistake. If you want your organization to have a team vibe where collaboration is encouraged, then having your executive leaders float out of their fancy wing on a cloud of “I’m better than you” twice a day, really tosses a monkey wrench on your whole super fun, laid back, open culture, doesn’t it? These leaders are essentially your mascots, and as such, are direct representations of your company. Keep this in mind as your existing leaders may be brilliant, but if they give off very serious, monotone, stick-in-the-mud type energy, this will set the entire tone for your cultural movement.

Who gets the invite?

Once you find your culture club, the spirit behind your company, it’s your job to understand what makes them tick outside of your corporate doors. To listen to what their interests are, what they seem to be passionate about. If you travel a bunch and can’t make the time to physically ask these questions, then appoint a trusted advisor to collect this crucial data. To be taken seriously by your team, these are conversations, not surveys. These passions, hobbies and interests are what make your rock star performers happy; they’re the things that make them who they are, which should be appreciated by the company and embraced.

Buzzfeed does a grea
t job in putting their quirky, geeky, random culture show through in nearly everything they do. On their career site for a fairly high level marketing manager position, an image of a stuffed unicorn in a party hat at the office flashes on the right side of the screen, just to show you Buzzfeed is all about unicorn realness.

Another great example of this are the guys at BarkBox, who allow their employees to bring their dogs into the office. While participation is of course voluntary, almost every employee participates, and the results are positive. Because this is clearly a passion for these employees, having their dogs by their side increases their quality of work and moods, and even increased productivity by eliminating employee breaks to take the dog out during the day. While this is a bit of an obvious example, your company culture needs to embody your employees – are they social butterflies, do they like sports, travel, live music, gadgets, charity events, microbrews, food, travel, education? Are they outdoorsy types or into geek culture? Do they like to work from home? Are they parents? Are they money motivated? There are so many possibilities, and these are easy opportunities to weave a culture from the many passions and interests of your staff. If you have a few parents in your office for example, and a person or two who plays the guitar, set up a once a week lunch jam session in one of the conference rooms. Such a small thing that could generate so much joy, and relaxing comradery for both co-workers and the kids. It’s very simple. Blindly assigning rules that don’t seem to serve a purpose towards your ultimate cultural vision will start to turn off your future leaders, and make them quit your lame club.

Who gets snubbed?

One question that is often ignored in the culture conversation, is the fact that you will - and should - make waves with your culture overhaul. Start-ups should do this from the start of course, but organizations that have a long standing vibe need to have the guts to make the change, and make it stick. Some of your staff, even those that have been there for ten years, may quit. Others, may wind up being let go. While it may sting and feel counter-productive, it’s a good thing and the result of weeding out these vampires (as we call them in the industry) if you want to be serious about building a culture that’s talked about and solid in the media. You may not please everyone, and not everyone may understand your vision, and that is the true test of success – weeding out the non-committed ones and moving forward with the club who will fight for your, and their vision. When Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh implemented his WOW culture (where customers have a ‘WOW’ experience with every interaction), he encountered some internal resistance. While one might imagine this customer focused culture would be innate to this type of organization, but we have to keep in mind that not all employees are customer facing. So even developers, web designers and data analysts, who never even converse with a customer, must have these same characteristics and traits that lend to a WOW culture. While it seems like a simple concept, this was a task that ultimately required leadership and an overhaul of core values, and data validation to ensure results. With a cultural overhaul, you are not going to please everyone, and that’s a good thing.

Finally, with this last question answered, you have completed your framework for your company’s culture club. You have decided the qualities and traits of your culture as well as the story this culture tells in the media. You’ve appointed your leaders, and vetted your invitation list. Now send out those invites, and watch your company transform!

18 August 2015

Planning is Everything – The Plan is Nothing

According to Wiki, Dwight D. Eisenhower said this in a conference in 1957 “Planning is everything – the plan is nothing”, and it’s still a very valid statement. The point being that while things never pan out the way you expected them to and the future is always changing, if you haven’t at least been planning for a situation A, B and C, then you won’t be able to handle situation D or E either.

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting up after summer, making a new plan or following a long-term plan from before. The question is - can we apply this wisdom to our job today?

The first question to ask is, who should be doing the planning and how far into the future? There are of course a lot of variables. In any organisation your time horizon depends on your level of management. It’s reasonable to suggest that the higher up you are, the longer into the future should your strategies and visions project. Not everyone should be working with a five year or a three year plan, but top management must.

The level of planning that goes on affects the lower and middle management right away. Here’s an illustration we can use as a model, just fill in your own department names and time frames.

PlanningThis illustration reflects an ideal situation. Of course the details of the plans will vary, and the further into the future you get, the less the attention to detail is required. But the big picture, the vision, the direction – it needs to be in place, and constantly reviewed. Don’t forget – the plans and the reviews need to be communicated and turned into workable documents all the way down, or they become useless. This is the traditional task of management.

But if top management isn’t looking far enough ahead your job might look something like this if you are a first line manager or on an operational level.


A set of constant crisis and ad‑hoc situations and problems need to be solved. Granted, some will always fall under the adapt-and-adjust workflow, but what if our everyday looks like this? This will strain your resources unnecessarily. If we are constantly on alert, dealing with crisis and fire alarms, we are also losing a lot of our productive time since there is always an amount of starting time to every task. Think of a machine where you have to change tools to work a certain job, or a kitchen where you have to prepare differently for different types of cooking. Unnecessarily changing tools back and forth is a waste of time, even if it’s just your mindset you are changing, not a physical tool. Staff runs the risk of stress and overwork, and creativity dies very fast when you are on a constant path of patching‑up and fixing surprises and unexpected work load.

The here-and-now will always be tripping us into just looking at what’s in front of us, so we need to make a conscious choice to look further ahead.

In Talent Management this means planning long-term for recruiting and/or training, before the need arises. Therefore, we cannot wait until our key players resign; we need to be at least two steps ahead. Without a long-term plan for the business we are in, how can we recruit the right talent, how can we even know what kind of talent we will need? Let’s not count on staff to pick up what new skills they need in order to survive. If there is no vision, the human brain tends to delve deeper into things we already know, shunning away from the awkward and unknown that demand more efforts to master.

Is the global economy picking up or are we heading into a new crisis? Experts debate experts, and we cannot be sure. But if we are looking ahead, not just putting out current fires but doing fire prevention, at least we have the chance of adapting and adjusting for change. How is your company looking into and planning for the future? What are the talents you need to survive and stay competitive? Ultimately, this quote sums it up nicely, ”If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what road you take”. 

14 August 2015


Edsi_hseihquoteFar too often, some companies feel entitled that the simple act of bringing an employee into their organization is enough. And it shows. With minimal training, a lackluster onboarding program, and a throw back to when you were just a number in a 500 person deep Econ seminar at University, new hires are sent into the fire to be yet another slave to the man. A good day for many work professionals is: get coffee, minimal socializing while answering 112 emails, leave at 6 to be frustrated in highway traffic, and get home to life as quickly as possible. The corporate world doesn’t have to be like this, and one of the most unavoidably hot topics in the HR industry is what to do about the fact that it is. We must reverse this trend, and instead move towards rewarding and nourishing talent, while fostering a team all working towards the company’s vision together and effortlessly.

There are countless advantages to focusing on building up a culture within your organization - some emotional, but many lucrative. Our working society needs to move past discussing culture, and start taking action to begin leveraging some of these massive benefits. Among many others, some worthy advantages to note are personalized branding by staff word of mouth, a recruiting tool for talent acquisition in the way of competencies, lowering turnover as loyalty increases, and greater efficiency as happiness leads directly to productivity. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says it best: “Happiness is the secret ingredient for successful businesses. If you have a happy company it will be invincible.”

If culture hasn’t been a top priority for your company, you are not alone. Culture isn’t mathematical, it’s not something that can be easily measured or even identified at first. To focus on culture would be bringing concepts about a future state into a rigid structure dedicated to present and historical results. This makes the task seem insurmountable, and less important than direct revenue driving initiatives. I believe that this is the reason companies talk incessantly about the importance of culture, but then make very few actionable decisions about it. However, the process isn’t as tough as it seems. The first hurdle to jump is defining your company’s ideal culture state. To achieve this seemingly burdensome task, one really needs to take a step back and answer these two questions:

What should the media say about you?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself. This is about how you want your company to be perceived and talked about in public. Also, be careful not to answer this question as where you are today, because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t remotely matter. 

Molly Graham, former Head of Mobile at Facebook suggests writing down on paper what you would like to see written about your company in two years. If it’s hideously dull, rip it up and go again. Do you want it to be said that your company culture is about delivering awesome service like Zappos, or do you want it to speak about breaking rules to forward progress like Facebook?

At Lumesse we are implementing a top down Customer First competency overhaul, organization-wide. Being in Customer Success myself, this is music to my ears. It’s my job to be Customer First, but is it the developers’ jobs who build our HR technology, or the integrations team’s job? Now, with competencies to be measured on, and rewarded on, I feel I’ll start to sense a customer success army behind me in support, instead of the lone soldier, fighting in solitude. If followed through, this will lend itself to service oriented team based culture that will be talked about by the employees, the customers, and will show in the product itself.

What should your staff say about you?

How many times in your life are you asked “How’s work?”. This seems like a simple task, to ask yourself as the CEO or founder of a start-up, but “How would I want my staff to answer that question”? With much of the workforce feeling that lackluster sort of apathy towards their jobs described in the intro, I’d bet good money that your idealized hope of their answer won’t remotely align with how they would, and do, answer that question.

This inconsistency can be resolved by taking action based on how you answer this question. For a company like Amazon, who wants to attract pioneers and inventors, they were able to build a well-respected culture that nurtures and encourages creativity, individuality, communication and stimulation, all while repelling negativity, disengagement, and general production blockages. If your organization does better as a team, like Referly and Instagram, then you should present yourself as a team oriented organization, and think about ways to not just say it, but to show it. Open floor plans and common areas are a simple way to invite a collaborative atmosphere, as a quick example. Make sure your interviewers are cultural fits, so that they can have personality and energy during their interviews, asking the right culture based questions, and therefore enabling them to pick the best fits.

The COO of Mabbly (digital marketing firm), Vlad Moldavskiy, says it is critical that “every piece in the Mabbly puzzle fits our culture vision. When we’re all on the same page, we can tackle our objectives as a unified force. Mabbly’s mission and vision should be a part of every team member’s DNA.” This is the heart of what the answer to this question can bring your organization – becoming a unified force, fighting towards whatever your organization goal(s) may be, and doing it together. If your staff senses they are working towards someone else’s, completely unshared vision, they will disengage and revert back to that hum drum, unmotivated, 9-to-5 employee. Make sure their ideas matter and their contributions are noted.

Google was once regarded as a place that would ONLY accept Ivy League school graduates into its famous campus. Not anymore. Google has made a shift and started using what they are best at - data analytics - to drive a People Analytics Department. This has resulted in drastic change, in that GPA and SAT scores no longer dictated hiring decisions at Google. “...Numbers and grades alone did not prove to spell success at Google and are no longer used as important hiring criteria,” says Prasad Setty, VP People Analytics. This decision has made positive impact on hiring better fits, leading to better longevity and loyalty from their employees. Not an easy feat, but change can come, and it’s worth it when it does.

Answering these two questions will create the framework for your company culture. In my next post, I’ll be reviewing three additional questions that will enable you to assign specific actions to start implementing your culture creation or overhaul.

07 August 2015

Recruiting for Cultural Fit

Cultural-fitOn a recent visit with two customers, both operating within the same market sector, I had a unique opportunity to observe how vastly different their company cultures were. The most tangible elements I noticed were the differences in dress code, office design and décor. Other aspects such as employee attitude, corporate policies, procedures and management style all make up a company’s culture.

After this visit I reflected on the importance of company culture when recruiting; we all know that the goal of recruiting is to hire the ‘right’ person for the job, but what does ‘right’ really mean? Everyone has their own definition of ‘right’ so if you have the choice of two candidates - Candidate A is slightly less qualified than Candidate B, but more closely shares your vision, values and passion. Who would you hire? There is growing argument to hire Candidate A, even if his or her previous experience isn’t as idea as Candidate B’s.

Traditional recruiting focuses on finding the ‘best candidates who are available and I’ve seen first-hand that stands out candidates with the most experience and skills and from the best universities aren’t always the best choice. Also, focusing on hiring from competitors and paying a premium for those hires can be a mistake. So instead of recruiting for just skill and experience, more companies are recruiting for culture as well. Hiring for potential means that a candidate who is not perfect on paper could be incredible in the right environment and research suggests that companies who embrace this approach see employee satisfaction and retention increase and performance improve.

Recruiting for cultural fit means focusing on whether the candidate’s values align with those of the company. Companies like Google, favour ability over experience and Googlers share common goals and visions for the company. To effectively recruit for cultural fit, company need to reflect their culture in every part of the hiring process. Below are some best practices for Attraction, Assessment and Onboarding.

Attraction Best Practice

  • Once a clear culture is developed, communicating this culture externally is a joint job between HR and marketing to ensure both customer and employer brand are aligned, after all, customers are also potential employees. Your website and social media pages should reflect what’s special about your company.
  • Recruiters need to sell what’s unique about working for your company? Can recruiters articulate simply and clearly what separates your company for the rest? Internal, direct resourcing teams typically do this best as external agencies can lose the brand identity and messaging.

Assessment Best Practice

  • Recruiters can try to explain the culture, but once a candidate is onsite they can ‘feel’ it so inviting candidates for interview into your office so they can meet other employees goes a long way.
  • Interview questions tend not to be great predictors (candidates tend to tailor their answers to what they think the interview will want to hear). Psychometrics continues to increase in popularity as it’s somewhat more scientific way to measure something that isn’t in reality, immeasurable.

Onboarding Best Practice

  • Inductions and training need clear and consistent branding and cultural messaging. 
  • Resourcing and L&D need to have a clear and joined up process.

There is of course a risk to hiring just for cultural fit and in doing so could cause highly skilled candidates to be overlooked just because they don’t fit the culture ‘type’. So what’s the answer? In my experience the companies that get it right strive for consistency throughout the recruiting process to find the right mix of both skill and culture fit. There are three points to be follow in order to find the right candidate:

  1. First recruiters need to understand the value proposition and clearly articulate it to the candidates. They have the opportunity to tell the story and relay the vision to potential candidates and at the same time weed out those that are not be the right cultural fit.
  2. Second understand how culture relates to the competencies and capabilities that your company promotes. Review selection process and the ways in which you screen for job and organisation fit. Use behaviour based questions to better understand cultural fit. Make sure the process is consistent that each candidate doesn’t get a different set of questions.
  3. Remind managers that hiring for culture is fine and important but the interview processes must be unbiased and limit personal reactions to a candidate’s socio-economic status, the school they attend and what they do for fun on weekends. If the company’s value proposition is clear, managers should be able to vocalise culture and values to the candidates, sharing the story and portraying what it’s like to work there. 

22 July 2015

Women are capable of extraordinary things and can become an integral part of the technology industry

Picture for blog 1I recently had the privilege to attend a number of women in technology events in London, where the topic of debate was how to rebalance the gender difference within technology businesses.  The first was hosted by Baroness Martha Lane Fox who is a truly inspirational woman leading the way on this topic. I also had the honour to attend an event hosted by Melissa Di Donato, VP at Salesforce with some incredible guest speakers such as Emily Lawson, HR Director at Morrison’s. It was truly inspiring along with being incredibly frustrating to know that we have some real challenges to overcome this imbalance. However, I do believe the time is ripe for women in technology, and I think the news we’ll see in the future is going to be a whole lot better than what we have been seeing in the past.

According to Martha Lane Fox a staggering 98% of internet coding is programmed by men and only 14% of technology jobs are filled by women. It’s a pretty damming statistic and one that needs to be evened out, but how is this going to happen given the current challenges women face in technology?

I am part of this 14% - so I can say with confidence that working in the digital tech economy is one of the most exciting, fast-moving and challenging places to be at the moment. However, the main task for me is how we get the next generation of career women to realise this and how can we progress our careers up to the C-suite?

Here's another pretty poor statistic: According to Emily Lawson only 12% of women hold executive roles within the UK. It’s a known fact that companies that have women sitting on the executive board tend to have a 60% increase in profitability. If that's not compelling enough to review the gender balance and make proactive change I don’t know what is!! It’s a fact that ‘you can't be what you can't see'.

However, we just don’t have enough women applying for these roles and even fewer young girls studying science, technology or programming in secondary school. There is a fundamental need to address this at school age. Let's face it, when it comes to girls, our industry has a PR problem. This is not just an issue we are facing in the UK, but a global problem that needs tackling. Tech is for whatever reason, not appealing to enough young women as a career opportunity. We know it’s not boring or that it means you are destined to sit in a dark room coding your life away. We also know that you don't need to be amazing at maths or have a passion for science. It’s also about creativity and ideas and this is something that doesn't get coverage within the tech world. Women matter for the strength of product design. Facebook would have been far more evolved from day one than having a ‘like or not’ feature had it not been based on men liking women at university!

Roughly 50% of the population are female; this means 50% of the working population should be female too. We need to look at this demographic and start to change the way we operate. According to Emily Lawson, group HR Director at Morrison's and previously a Partner at McKinsey there are five areas where a shift is needed given the shortage of talent in technology.

1. Hiring - Significant work is needed on the hiring process when coming across women without tech degrees. By taking the bias off our hiring we would inevitable see more women being recruited. 

2.  Promotion - Women need to get themselves out there and be proud of their successes. Find what works in an organisation and keep doing it. Setting targets when doing promotions will help.

3.  Assignment - Women tend not to get the tough jobs because we think they might not be up for it. They are up for it!

4.  Evaluation - Women don't receive the same evaluations and then they leave (50% of your female workforce will leave to go to competitors)

5.  Culture - Women are twice as likely to leave if they don’t like the culture.

No matter how small a change you make, you need to make it. One key initiative that is proven to deliver results is around mentorship and sponsorship. Women need to mentor men to ensure men gain a better understanding of women at work and ultimately this will make them better in many facets of their lives. Yet women need to have engagement from men in leadership roles. They need to move from a mentorship relationship with men to a sponsorship one. Only 17% of women in the UK have a sponsor and 74% of men have them. Internal sponsors are critical to getting you recognised on reputation and merit and help support getting you promoted. Sponsors will (or should) stick their neck out for you. Through increased mentorship/sponsorship and by actively trying to create conditions in which enterprising women thrive, we can ensure that future generations of aspiring females in tech have the support they need to achieve similar success. Quite simply we must send the elevator back down.

Leadership needs both men and women. I am certainly not a women's right activist and honestly before I started to engage in this topic I felt it was far too 'right on' for my liking. I do however passionately believe that the different traits in both men and women are an essential mix that any organisation needs. It’s just getting the balance correct.

The continued convergence of technology with human resources and marketing will inevitable bring with it a rise of women within the tech industry but let’s be honest, we need more women in senior positions to give us all the aspirations we need to take ourselves further.

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