Women at Work: 5 Ways Companies Can Improve the Workplace for Women
Wall Street has taken notice – women led companies are a great stock bet according to this Balance article, often over performing the 500 S&P index. However, women are still being held back in the workplace and that’s because companies haven’t changed with the times. These are just a few suggestions for companies that want the benefits of improving their workplace for women.
Fix the Pay Gap
Perhaps the most glaring issue at hand is the gender pay gap. Women can expect to earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man according to a CNN Money article and the gender divide worsens for women of color. Management needs to recognize and rectify the pay gap in their institutions. It will help retain women in the workplace and they will feel more empowered and embolden in their positions.
Acknowledge and Accept the Family
While having a family is seen as a bonus for potential male employees, it can hurt the chances of a talented female candidate being hired. If a company provides solutions for families, for mothers and fathers alike, they will have a happier workforce, devoted to their company. Moreover, consumers will take notice.
For example, the outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia prides itself on being a family friendly, providing daycare and carpool services to its employees. The result? Profits have soared despite the competitive marketplace.
While not every business can build a campus like Google or provide on-site daycare, it can embrace the ever growing remote working landscape. This allows employees to create their own schedule or work off-site to ease their schedule and commute. The company will thrive, as employees stay happy and healthy.
Provide Paternity Leave
You read that right. We are advocating for paternity leave. Yes, we do believe you should provide maternity leave. That absolutely should happen. But by providing paternity leave, you are telling your employees that raising children isn’t just the mother’s job. More and more men are stepping up and taking responsibility for the care of their children. A paternity leave policy shows employees that the company is committed to happy, healthy families. And that commitment helps retain good employees and attract new ones.
Redesign the Office
This tip goes beyond having a lactation room for nursing mothers who have returned to work. (Yes, companies should have those.) Here’s one example: Have you been in an office and seen men walking around in short sleeves and women bundled up with space heaters? It’s a pretty common sight. Companies can show that women are welcome by turning down the AC. It will also save the company money, help save the Earth, and keep your female employees from catching colds – that’s a win, win, win.
Representation matters and having women in the highest ranks of your company shows that you are committed to providing a fully welcoming environment. As you read above, these women will run your company successfully and profitably. In addition, they will also be much more aware of the company’s corporate culture and how women fit in.