Guest Commentator: Teresa Bryce Bazemore, President, Radian Guaranty Inc.

How does commitment to women and future generations promote socio-economic prosperity for our region?

Women continue to be a growing segment of our workforce and have achieved important roles at higher levels within our organizations. It is well documented that diversity within our companies provides a wider range of perspectives and facilitates better decisions. To facilitate this, it is imperative that we create an environment that allows for all employees to achieve their highest potential. Organizations must provide challenging work so that each employee can continue to grow professionally if they choose to do so. It also means offering honest and constructive feedback, on a frequent and timely basis—focusing on strengths, what’s going well, and where things need to adjust. As we know, growing professionally requires continuous learning and improvement.

A robust talent management program is critical to make sure that opportunities for growth are identified across the organization. Mechanisms should be in place to identify all employees with the potential to grow up or across in an organization, and opportunities should be made available to them to develop their existing skills and learn new ones. It is a disservice to any organization to lose employees because they have not been given the opportunities to develop or demonstrate their capabilities. Unfortunately, women still experience these challenges at a higher rate, so a focus on talent management will ensure that our companies keep the best and brightest.

We have also found employee networks to be of high value for employees and the company, enhancing diversity of thought and employee engagement. Studies show that companies with highly engaged employees have higher levels of customer satisfaction and better retention rates. Employee networks are directed by employees, providing leadership opportunities. Our initial employee network at Radian was launched by a group of our women employees with my sponsorship and it has been a tremendous success. The tenants of the program—Lead, Inspire, Network and Know—have inspired a broader employee network, as well as a newly forming group focused on Millennials.

Ultimately, a more strategic focus on developing and promoting all employees, including women, will allow us to keep them in this region and avoid brain drain that inhibits socioeconomic growth.

Join Teresa Bryce Bazemore on March 24 at the 2017 Paradigm Award Luncheon as she’s honored for her personal and professional achievements. Learn more and register »