Engineer’s strategies can help companies capitalise on untapped potential

Lauren Neal is an award-winning chartered engineer, consultant and author whose strategies can help organisations foster a culture where people from all backgrounds are in positions where they can develop, where they are engaged, and where they are enabled to showcase their skills and talents.

“There are potentially many, many competent people who have so much more to give than they can because of workplace cultures or bias or any number of things that are just getting in the way,” Neal said in a recent interview. “I strive to spread the message that people should be able to show the world what they’ve got to offer and to be given the opportunity to do that.”

In her timely new book, Valued at Work: Shining a Light on Bias to Engage, Enable, and Retain Women in STEM, Neal draws from her own experiences, compelling research and numerous real-world examples to provide what she calls tried-and-tested approaches to help male-dominated organisations create and maintain more inclusive workplace cultures.

And Neal uses a unique approach to get her message across: The book is structured as a conversation between two male managers genuinely trying to improve the retention of women in their respective organisations. Readers get to be “flies on the wall” as these two men discuss the problems that women face within the patriarchal system — using concrete examples — and actively try to understand the challenges and find ways to course correct the company’s inclusion efforts.

They get it right, and they get it wrong.

“This fictional approach to a real business problem allows readers to empathise with these male organisational leaders in their own struggles, as well as with the women in theirs, with less judgement than is typical when discussing this topic,” Neal added.

Inspired by real-life stories, Valued at Work includes “top tips” for both organisations and women in STEM to equip all readers with strategies for driving real change.