Lead your female employees to achieve great things not only your organization, but for themselves as well.
The McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2020 survey revealed that while more women are being represented in the upper management levels of companies, they are still underrepresented vis a vis male executives.
This is a situation that companies need to improve on for many reasons:
- First, the financial consequences could be significant. Research shows that company profits and share performance can be close to 50 percent higher when women are well represented at the top.
- In addition, senior-level women have a positive impact on a company’s culture. They are more likely than senior-level men to embrace employee-friendly policies and programs and to champion racial and gender diversity.
- Finally, they’re more likely to mentor and sponsor other women, ensuring the continuity of the benefits outlined above.
But women in the workplace can only do so much to promote themselves; organizations and leaders must step in and begin eliminating gender bias while supporting and empowering female employees. Here are some ways:
- Make gender diversity a priority. As a leader, communicate that this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed so that the rest of the organization will follow. This in turn will enact a sense of urgency and convince others to begin to correct this issue.
Once this is done, establish goals for improving gender diversity. Complete an analysis of your organization by asking for recommendations on improvements from employees and really listening to what they have to say. From the information collected, you can establish a strategy for improving gender diversity and dive deep into where obstacles might be for women leaders to move up the ranks. Be sure to educate your company about these initiatives and make sure your goals are implemented consistently across the board.
- Diversify management. Encourage women to pursue opportunities at every level. When you promote women at the same rate as men, you show them that they and their skills are valuable assets to your organization.
- Champion success. Instead of just communicating action items or criticism, praise your female team members when it is deserved as well. Celebrate their strengths and accomplishments, recognize contributions, and give credit where it is due.
- Increase education and awareness on issues affecting women. Look into better training opportunities for your team members on topics such as implicit bias, inclusion, diversity, and flexible working. When you raise awareness about them in the company, you can evolve and improve your policies.
- Have a mentorship program. Mentorship can provide a pathway to resources and knowledge that managerial aspirants need, so connect female new-hires or those that you see are struggling with women in higher positions.
- Offer a flexible work environment. Women play multiple roles, from mothers to breadwinners. Flexible working options will provide them with much needed balance as they navigate their multiple roles in the workplace and at home.
- Close the pay gap. Look for inconsistencies in pay rates between the male and female members of your team, then make sure that all employees with equal experience and similar roles are paid the same as their counterparts.
There is certainly more work to be done, and it is up to you as a leader to do your part to help even the playing field so that women in your team feel heard, included, valued, supported, and empowered. And when employees feel empowered at work, they are likely to have stronger job performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization.
— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation