For us, Women’s History Month isn’t as much about history as it is about the future. A future of equal pay, benefits that enable caregivers to pursue their careers, and company cultures that nurture all employees. We’re not there yet. But we’re on our way. And attracting, retaining and nurturing top female talent is one powerful step towards getting there.
How can your company attract and nurture a highly talented, driven and engaged female workforce? We have a few ideas.
Make Inclusivity One of Your Values
While your Engaged Purpose communicates to your team what your company does and why, including the positive transformation you’re trying to create within your company and out in the world, your Values tell the story of how you’ll get there. Your Engaged Purpose should reflect your strongest values, but it doesn’t include all of them. It’s a rallying cry, a tool for company-wide alignment. But committing to a defined set of values is every bit as important to Engagement.
Just as your actions and decisions come from your Engaged Purpose, your values are also how your business, your brand, shows up in the world. When you put your purpose and values out there with every decision and action, you’ll attract people who are aligned with your purpose and values.
That’s how you create a company culture of equality from the ground up.
If you’ve already completed the Engaged Purpose drafting exercise, you may want to draft a set of internal company values. Invite your team to tell you what values they see, and what values they’d like to see. And then make living up to your defined set of values one of your custom KPIs to track in your Engagement Multiplier Survey.
The average pay gap in the United States is 19.5% – which means women make nearly 20% less money than their male counterparts. Such a pronounced gap can only happen when salary amounts are kept as closely-guarded secrets. More and more companies today are embracing transparency around salary structure, which can strongly boost prospects’ confidence in the overall culture of equality in those companies.
Transparency doesn’t have to mean posting every person’s salary for all to see – you can take a page from Moz’s CEO, Sarah Bird, and provide salary ranges for each role at different levels.
A study by LinkedIn found that companies have been trying to focus more on management and leadership skills, technical skills, and career development in the last few years. That’s a smart move, since both current employees and job applicants have been clamoring for more growth opportunities (and lack of growth opportunities is one of the primary reasons employees leave). The other reason: Poor management.
It’s not just providing growth opportunities that’s important for retention though – it’s also about not assuming people will ‘figure it out’ with little to no support. Studies show that 47% of managers don’t receive any training when they take a new leadership role. That means nearly half of managers are ill-equipped to support their staff, of any gender.
In addition to providing management training in the first place, you can use your Engagement Multiplier Survey as a ‘leadership health report’ to gauge how effective your management staff is at mentoring, coaching, and providing the support their employees need to achieve the best results. That will give you a more targeted way to provide training that helps everyone, from the top down.
Mentorship is the New Management
The demands on management have changed in the last decade from one of “The Boss” to one of mentor and coach, creating a much more supportive work environment. Managers are increasingly scheduling monthly or bi-monthly ‘check-ins’ with their direct reports as a way to have regular coaching conversations. These can even take the place of annual performance reviews since it’s ongoing performance mentorship. In each check-in, managers have an opportunity to encourage employees to set attainable goals and record their progress towards those goals over time.
Support Flexible Work Schedules When Possible
Flexible work schedules are an enormous draw for employees, but especially female employees who are often primary caregivers to children or aging parents. The ability to work from home on occasion and manage the delivery of assignments that aren’t time-sensitive makes it much easier to balance work and home life. Just be sure to set clear expectations around when specific in-office hours and deadlines must be met.
Become Aware of Toxic Workplace Issues Earlier
Perhaps the most powerful way to create a welcoming work environment for under-represented groups, women among them, is to catch misbehavior early. Often, fear of reprisal prevents employees from speaking up when they’re made to feel uncomfortable, which can grow into creating a toxic work environment of fear and suspicion. Having a regular employee survey where employees can voice their concerns is one step in the right direction, but even that isn’t enough. That’s why we’ve also implemented the 100% anonymous Suggestion Box feature, that invites employees to share their thoughts any time, without fear.
What does that mean for you?
You can identify potential problems sooner, before they escalate into an HR issue, and before they can affect the morale of an entire office.
Tell us your story!
We’d love to hear about your best management practices. How do you mentor/coach employees? What have you found to work remarkably well? Your story might be featured on our blog! Email us at Support@engagementmultiplier.com.