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Not just good for her – study demonstrates rapid hiring of women benefits all employees

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  • Jan 13, 2021
Not just good for her – study demonstrates rapid hiring of women benefits all employees

High employee turnover is a costly phenomenon that can be a signal of an unhealthy, underperforming organization.  Researchers from the Ivey Business School at Western University and the Australian National University (ANU) show a substantial and rapid increase in the representation of women within a firm will lead to a significant decrease in collective employee turnover.

In a study published in the journal Organization Studies, Ivey’s Cara Maurer and ANU’s Israr Qureshi explain a higher representation of women will lead to increased relationship-building within an organization, thus generating higher levels of job embeddedness for both women and men. Job embeddedness refers to employees’ links to the organization, perception of fit and the perceived social costs of quitting.

“High levels of job embeddedness are critical for employee retention efforts,” says Maurer. “Our research suggests that as the representation of women increases, women will transition from being isolated to integrated, while men will become further integrated. This means that the social context in which women and men operate will improve with a greater representation of women.”

While it is clear many leading companies are setting public goals to include more women, it’s clear many organizations have struggled to increase representation of in their workforce. For example, Statistics Canada data shows a slower growth rate in women’s involvement in the labour force between 1990 and 2018, when compared to findings between 1953 and 1990. 

Examining data from 499 organizations over a 14-year time span, Maurer and Qureshi’s study reveals the importance of a rapid and substantive change in the representation of women, as opposed to a slow and incremental one. The study finds a quicker increase will foster more and better relationships and reduce collective employee turnover, avoiding the costly loss of valuable human resources.

This study opens avenues for further investigation which could directly impact the human resource practice of organizational managers. The researchers explain that swiftly hiring women into an organization, along with appropriate HR investments and supporting programs, will have significant, positive effects on social dynamics and relationships. This consequently, will lead to a heightened sense of job embeddedness, so that employees can contribute over the long run rather than exit.

Click link for the paper in Organization Studies - Not just good for her: A temporal analysis of the dynamic relationship between representation of women and collective employee turnover

Cara Maurer, Assistant Professor, General Management/ Strategy, has expertise in longitudinal and multilevel change processes related to diversity & inclusion and behaviour strategy

Israr Qureshi, Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, has expertise in business models for inclusive and alternative development.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.