Women and the race for global talent

I got very excited this morning when I opened my Harvard Business Review “management tip of the day” about how companies could best compete in the global market. What was the number one thing organizations needed to do, according to HBR? Focus on women! http://tinyurl.com/yemek44

Okay, some of us have been saying this for about twenty years: women have an incredible capacity for loyalty if they love their work. They also, as my co-author Julie Johnson and I demonstrate in our forthcoming book, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, bring concrete and identifiable strategic value.

So what does it take to attract, retain and inspire women’s best talents? The HBR tip advises “developing programs that help women see their career paths and better identify, request, and secure fulfilling work assignments.”

What kind of assignments are most fulfilling? Julie and I found something important in our research—something we believe has big implications for efforts to leverage women’s best talents. Women tend to judge satisfaction—another word for fulfillment—based on the quality of their days as opposed to focusing on abstract measures of success (I earn more than anyone in my division) or on where a job might lead in the future.

Financial reward, ranking and strategic position are important to women, of course. But if the daily experience of work is wretched, women don’t perceive their work as satisfying.

Do you agree that this finding has the potential to transform how organizations perceive, define and calibrate reward?