have both men and women at the execu-
CREATING THE RIGHT CULTURE
tive level can change this.”
To help women take the next step,
Rakuten has policies for working mothers,
including an on-site day care center. “As
a result, over 98 percent of women who
had a child are coming back to work after
maternity leave, which is uncommon in
Japan,” Ms. Tuot says.
The desire for balance transcends sectors and generations, and it’s a consistent
want for women at work. More than 60
percent of female engineers who opted to
continue in their field reported that their
companies offered excellent training and
supported work-life balance. And 97 percent of female millennials (those born in
the 1980s or 1990s) placed a high priority
on good work-life balance, according to a
Management at Rakuten made it clear that one
company goal was “a good life balance,” Ms. Tuot
says. In other words, a place where the most important thing is what workers contribute—not the
number of hours they spend at the office.
Likewise, recognition from management can go
a long way to encourage long-term talent retention. Intangibles like executive interest in projects
and departmental cohesion build a positive environment that help female project managers in
particular feel supported—and connected to the
organization, says Elena Kovalenko, project manager, BIN Insurance, Moscow, Russia.
“The best project manager of the month had
a dinner with our COO,” she says. “We played
snooker or simply went to a bar by our department.
It is always good to discuss work in a nonwork
Ms. Kovalenko says her career got a boost at her
previous employer, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd.
“Management trust and
interest made me confident
—Elena Kovalenko, BIN Insurance, Moscow, Russia
in Moscow, Russia. When she joined the company,
she was assigned as a project manager for one part
of a large international project.
“The project-specific approaches weren’t well-
known to me. But management trust and interest
made me confident and motivated,” she says. “It was
a great success. After that, I was invited to manage
some of the most important projects for the com-
pany in various departments.”
Elsa Mangione recalls the shock of walking into
her first software engineering class and seeing four
female students among 50 males. That imbalance
persisted post-graduation. “It is common for me to
be in executive sessions where the other attendees
are all men,” says Ms. Mangione, a Santiago, Chile-
based senior delivery project manager, Microsoft
Corp., a PMI Global Executive Council member.