Women are better mentors, men have higher risk appetite

At the workplace, women and men have different strengths, but differentiation has also created several inherent biases. Behavioural assessments can help remove much of them


Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Bengaluru: The need to have more women in workplaces has been established beyond doubt. Women and men have different strengths, but that differentiation has also created several inherent biases. Behavioural assessments can help remove much of them.

Behavioural analytics company Jombay (Next Leap Career Solutions Pvt. Ltd.), which has over 200 clients, carried out recruitment assessments for about 35,000 professionals across different experience levels and evaluated how men and women fared on various traits. Companies use these assessments to see the cultural fit of recruits and to see the behaviour fitment of an individual to a role.

Analysing about 30 traits, the study found that women scored higher than men on about half of those traits. On traits like mentoring, desire for perfection and target orientation, there was significant difference between the two genders.

“A behavioural analysis helps break some myths and restore a level-playing field for women especially,” says Mohit Gundecha, co-founder and CEO of Jombay.

For instance, traditionally, men are mostly hired for sales-oriented roles, but the results show that women score much more than men when it comes to target orientation. So, mapping traits helps recruiters assess candidates objectively, says Gundecha.

Similarly, it also helps eliminate some biases about men.

The study showed that men tend to agree more than women and are also more process-oriented. It also showed they were better at networking, stress tolerance and emotional control, among others.

These results only go on to show that companies that don’t hire enough women are depriving themselves of a whole range of capabilities and skill sets.

“There is a danger of group think when you hire only a certain type of employee. Diversity in the workplace brings together people with different talents and skills. And when you combine this with an inclusive culture, you motivate employees to contribute more, thereby bringing to bear a virtuous circle of productivity,” says Hema Ravichandar, a human resources consultant.

Some traits at first do not look like good ones to have. For instance, women score more than men on guilt consciousness.

But experts say this is a good trait to have. “Guilt is good. Guilt is a good emotion to have—it ensures that you are able to equalize things, that you operate out of fairness and correct any wrongs that you might have done. Guilt is good, so long as you take positive action to remove it. Therefore, guilt is an enabling emotion,” says Saundarya Rajesh, founder and president of Avtar group, a diversity and inclusion talent strategy consulting firm.

She also warns that if people tend to be crippled by guilt and take no action, it will turn into shame. Shame, on the other hand, is a debilitating emotion.

So, it is up to companies to decide what competencies they need for different roles. “Each role requires a set of competencies. And it provides for a sound human capital framework if the organization recruits, trains, assesses and promotes employees based on assessment of these competencies. Psychometric tools, assessment centres and behavioural event interviews are all ways of assessing this,” says Rajesh.

But experts warn that these traits should not be used to strictly define what women and men can do.

“Even if women possess skills that are identical to men, their thinking will always be different. This world is built for diversity. Everything functions as a result of the variety and diversity in approaches, manifestations and perspectives. The world of work, commerce and business has always benefited out of innovation, creativity and lateral thinking,” explains Rajesh.

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