As an ASX-listed top Australian financial institution, and one of Australia’s largest employers, our client is keenly focused on addressing gender diversity. This is particularly true in its IT function, where traditionally men outnumber women significantly. Their quarterly Women’s Forum is an initiative designed to engage women to increase retention rates and provide opportunities and exposure for women at all levels to manage their careers. After a successful first year, it became clear that women in IT faced a number of specific challenges in managing their careers.
Key Business Challenge:
How can we leverage our Women’s forum to provide genuine skill development to support our women to build successful, rewarding careers in IT?
How Milan Partners helped:
Using feedback gained from previous sessions, we developed a quarterly forum Speaker Series, each followed by more intensive workshops to take a deeper dive into the key skills and concepts.
Each installment in the Speaker Series, delivered to the 150 strong forum audience, addressed a key career challenge identified by women, and provided an opportunity to practise skills and get feedback from peers. These highly practical sessions complemented the preceding sessions with guest speakers which highlighted issues and challenges, but provided little in the way of solutions.
Each forum session involved a pre-session exercise to create anticipation and engagement early, a key factor in driving high attendance at the forum.
To capitalise on the momentum created during the Forums, a series of workshops provided a more personalised, high-touch learning opportunity for participants. These half-day, small-group workshops allowed for extensive discussion of personal challenges, skills practise, personal coaching, feedback and reflection for long-term behaviour change.
- The focus on practical skills development led to significantly increased attendance at Women’s Forum events, with 97% rating the speaker series sessions as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
- Participants’ positive feedback confirmed they valued the practical support these sessions provided; “I liked the exercises in the forum – they put us on the spot to actually start thinking about how to do these things.”
- Similarly, the workshops were very well-received: “I will take the learnings from today and apply them to my next career move.”