Here at The Corporate Refinery, one of our major obsessions is how do we accelerate women in leadership? We have companies turn to us and say, “Look, we don’t have enough females in the pipeline in order to accelerate them into more senior leadership roles.” Well, Deloitte’s Women at Work 2022 report shows that of the women who are still at your organization but are actively considering leaving, nearly 40% of them cited burnout as the reason.
So if we want to have enough women in the pipeline, we’ve got to be able to retain them. And if we know that nearly 40% are actively considering leaving because of burnout, we can drill in and say, “Okay, let’s tackle burnout.” We’ve been talking about this at The Corporate Refinery for years, but one of the major culprits that’s really risen to the surface is what’s called “non-promotable tasks,” aka NPTs. Now, you may have heard me mention this, but I want to really open up the organization’s mind when it comes to the responsibility that you have when it comes to non-promotable tasks.
Just to clarify, these are tasks that yes, organizations need to have taken care of, but they don’t necessarily contribute to the revenue, to the profit, or to the bottom line. They also don’t necessarily require any special skill set, and they are often not taken into consideration when it comes to your employee’s promotions, advancement, or raises. One of the challenges is that leaders and managers are 50% more likely to ask women to take on non-promotable tasks. However, it’s not just managers that we are to blame or hold accountable for – on the flip side, when asked women are 50% more likely to say yes to these non-promotable tasks.
So organizations, first of all, we’ve got to train leaders on what non-promotable tasks are, and make sure that they’re very aware, that they have a heightened sense of awareness and consciousness when it comes to who they are asking to handle these NPTs. Whether these are taking notes during a meeting, doing some editing of presentations, or anything that is kind of behind the scenes, not as visible. Managers need to be made aware of this topic, so that they don’t have a tendency, hopefully anymore, to be more likely to just ask women. Or to even help support that when a woman is more likely to respond, they are pausing, asking questions, having conversation, and encouraging more equal participation.
In addition, I challenge organizations to build in criteria where NPTs are considered for promotions, raises, or baked into performance reviews where applicable. Because here’s why NPTs end up causing burnout. It’s because, especially for women, they’re more likely to be asked and more likely to take on NPTs, they simply say, “I have to work more hours. I need to do these NPTs, but I also need to do these things which I know will get me promoted.” So they end up working more hours, take on too much overload, feel that they have unfair treatment at work, and so they are likely to be burned out, which is why they’re leaving – and we’re not filling the pipeline.
So can we, as organizations, put these NPTs into consideration for promotion, for raises, for greater opportunity? Only once we can partner together from the top down, from all sides, can we take hold of things such as non-promotable tasks, mitigate the burnout, and start to really fill that pipeline with high-talent, qualified women, so that we are really, truly accelerating women in leadership. Take on that challenge today! We’re here to forge new paradigms for what leadership means in today’s world.