How to Encourage More Women into Your Workplace
"To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace." – Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell’s Soup
Building a high performing, people centric workplace is key for business success. Part of building this workplace is ensuring there is people diversity. Diversity is good for business - for example, one study found that gender-diverse business units in a retail company have 14% higher average comparable revenue than less-diverse business units. Men and women have different viewpoints - having a gender-diverse workplace increases these number of viewpoints, ideas, and market insights.
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” — Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
However, a study by The Financial Times found that only a quarter of senior financial positions are held by women. Creating a truly gender diverse and inclusive workplace is a leadership issue - in this article, we outline 3 ways to help increase women in the workplace.
1) Provide flexibility
Flexibility is beneficial to both all employees, particularly parents. Both millennial males and females want to skip that long commute, be more involved with their family, and have a good work-life balance. In addition to remote working, some also want flexible working hours. Flexibility doesn’t mean you expect less out of a team member. Flexibility means you set goals for a role and hire the best person to meet them no matter how they get there. In order to attract and retain top talent, organizations need to recognize that they hire someone to reach goals, not just to work the typical 40 hr/week. Offering flexible work options is a retention tool. With turnover costs predicted to reach $245B by 2025, this is an inexpensive way to save.
According to Werk, 70% of women who dropped out of the workplace said that they would still be working if they had flexibility. Moreover according to Harvard Business Review, employees who are given the autonomy to work flexibly are happier, more productive, and less likely to quit. Consider implementing flexible working policies at your organization as a retention and motivation tool.
2) Reconsider gap years
37% of women leave the workforce when they become moms but 95% want to return. They struggle to do so because the resume format doesn’t allow for atypical careers. This because many women have non-linear professional careers. If you are looking at a resume that has gap years or non-linear path, ask the reason. Sometimes, canditates have volunteer roles or other extracurricular activities that won't be captured on digital staffing sites, but these activities may demonstrate the values and competencies you are looking for in the role.
3) Provide support to balance work and parenting
During 2020, companies had to fast track their flexible-working and work-from-home policies – some did this with great success, others not so much. It is critical to offer support and the right tools for flexible working. Ensure that you have the right flexible working policies set up - this includes the correct performance management tools and communication tools. Be clear on which tools to use and when. With the plethora of digital communication tools, employees can spend more time checking and answering messages and less time doing actual work. This also results in many important files lost in several channels. Setting clear communication policies is necessary for flexible working.
If your company has allowed for flexible work, particularly remote work, you may want to consider checking out our remote workforce guidebook. You can also check out our other content on how to ace remote meetings and how to keep employees engaged and motivated.
Also make sure to check out our WWP podcast episode #24 on how flexible working helps keep women in the workplace.