Women are increasingly on the rise to become CEO’s, entrepreneurs and leaders within their organisations and their fields of interest. However, there are still tremendous roadblocks to overcome such as pay equality and violence against women in the workplace. In celebration of this International Women's Day, we would like to share some practical ways that male and female employers can empower women at work.
#1 Offer flexibility in scheduling
With women on the rise in the workforce, but still active in their personal lives, the need for flexible hours has increased. About 50% of Australians work completely remote or for at least half of their work week. Allowing your female employees the option to work in and out of office on occasion, as long as your business needs are being fulfilled, will benefit them greatly.
Generous paid time off offerings, sick leave and maternity/paid parental leave are all key factors that can lead to the women working for your company to feel empowered. Women are more likely to work hard and complete tasks before placing any PTO requests or leaving for maternity purposes.
#2 Pay equally
Women take home on average $251.20 less than men each week. Knowing this fact, it is vital for employers like you to consistently re-evaluate salaries to gain a balance within the office’s pay scale. Handing out raises to employees to balance the scale isn’t a very effective or budget-friendly option, but offer raises based on job performance alone will prove to your female employees that you are focused on performance rather than gender when it comes to paying.
It is also essential for employers to set in place a performance review calendar for all employees. Performance reviews allow for employers and employees to discuss and critique their current bodies of work, list areas of improvement and highlight what they are doing well. Depending on the employee's tenure and quality of work, it may be time to give a pay increase.
Allowing employees to evaluate your leadership is key in identifying how you can improve as well. This is especially helpful in determining the good and bad experiences your female employees may have with management so that you are quickly able to act upon them and make necessary changes.
Promotions are an automatic confidence booster for employees at any company. They are an indicating factor that employees are doing their job well and that their bosses have recognised that, no matter the gender of the employee.
Depending on business needs, employers should seek to promote women within their organisation. Promotions can come in the form of placing individuals in a position of power, leadership or role. Seek out the women with stellar speaking skills to speak at your next business engagement. Create new positions when applicable if you realise that there is a particular need that can be addressed with extra hands.
Continue to hire qualified women to work for your organisation so that there can be more room to promote within instead of seeking out new talent to meet the demands of your company.
#4 Be accommodating
Hot tea, coffee and impromptu “bring a plate” food days at the office are all great ways to accommodate the women who work for you. Take it a step further and create a workspace that further accommodates them. Lactation rooms give women the power to deal with their personal needs without leaving work to do so. Allow the women at your job to decorate their work stations to make them feel more at home and to personalise the work experience setting. For those that are pregnant, offer soft seating areas that allow them to work in comfort.
#5 Support their ideas
Supporting the ideas of women in your workplace is critical. If you realise there has been an increasing need to build a workplace culture or a more collaborative work environment, starting culture clubs will likely do the trick. Empower the women in your organisation who enjoy reading, fundraising, writing and organising events to begin their own groups within the organisation. This will give employees the freedom to team build outside of work and form new relationships that will strengthen the company over time.
Support women's not-for-profit organisations by hosting a Women's History Month fundraiser or implement other efforts that support women's initiatives inside and outside of your organisation. These ongoing efforts will make your company more desirable to the women who currently work for you and those who want to work for you.
By implementing a few of these ideas into your business, you will see an increase in productivity, morale and confidence amongst your female employees which will ultimately benefit business overall. For more ideas on how to accelerate and push your business forward, check out our business coaching program.