Change management & female progression

A recent roundtable event jointly hosted and organised by the Frazer Jones, global HR recruitment specialists, and the European Professional Women’s Network (EPWN) concluded that good change management skills and experience can help increase the number of female senior managers.

Dr. Ines Wichert, author of ‘Where Have All the Senior Women Gone?’, lead the conversation with panel members; Cathryn Riley, Group CIO, Aviva; Orlagh Hunt, most recently Group HRD at RSA; and Alison Horrocks, SVP, Corporate Governance and Company Secretary, Inmarsat.

The roundtable found that change management experience is beneficial to individuals for a number of reasons. The first and probably most apparent reason is the learning opportunity, but as Hunt says, change liberates an individual to operate outside of the norm and surpass their ‘day job mode’, which, in doing so, helps to prove worth. Having a change project that has a beginning, a middle and end provides tangible proof of the skills an individual possesses.

However getting the opportunity to take on a change project can be difficult. Riley says it is important for women to actually put themselves forward. Furthermore they should volunteer for projects that they will actually enjoy, without being too picky – as the perfect role for the individual’s development won’t exist.

Horrocks supports this but says that it is important to remember that not everyone that volunteers themselves for a project gets picked.

Therefore for women to gain these beneficial change management projects they need to package themselves correctly. Horrocks says that it’s not experience but the personality of an individual and the qualities that they possess. However, it’s often the case that an individual won’t realise they have already got a lot of experience in change. So if you can package the correct qualities with the experience they might already have, they are likely to succeed in gaining the right projects which will in turn allow them to surpass their day job and prove their worth.