Nearly 47% of women make up today’s workforce. However, only about 4% of them are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Today, on average, women only make $.80 to every dollar a male makes. If you are a company or organization that cares about diversity and inclusion, you know that there is immense work to be done to ensure that working women of all ages and races have the same opportunities as anyone else. After all, companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 21% more likely to reap above-average profits. Successful companies committed to attracting and retaining women must take steps to create an environment where women are included and involved in decision making at every level. To create an organization where women can thrive, and your entire team can benefit, consider the following.
Equal Pay for Men and Women
For starters, to help women thrive in the workplace, employers must pay them on par with what they pay men for similar job roles and be transparent about their process. It’s helpful to perform a salary audit so you can compare what men and women have been earning. Is there an imbalance? Companies can ensure that they pay fairly by borrowing a process used by the federal government. It features 15 pay levels based on education, training, experience, among others. Within each level, there are 10 steps for many types of jobs. Employees can only negotiate within a small range. The pay range is established to ensure that people with the same skill sets are being paid the same salaries as a point of fairness.
Provide Diversity and Inclusion Training–Often
If you allow your diversity and inclusion policy to sit untouched and unviewed in your massive HR policy book, you will never be able to apply the right practices within the company. You should be using this document routinely to provide diversity and inclusion sensitivity training and for meetings where you simply discuss topics related to diversity and inclusion. It’s necessary for management at the top to make sure all managers at every level are well aware that diversity and inclusion are top priorities for your company.
Focusing on these critical elements will also let women and minorities on your team know that you care and are working to create a fair and balanced organization. It’s also important to let your employees know that they do not have to wait for a review or special training session to talk about issues related to diversity and inclusion. Have an open-door policy and encourage your managers to do the same. If there are problems, you don’t want them to fester. Address issues right away.
Flexible Scheduling and Benefits
Companies who want to attract and retain female talent must consider what women are searching for in terms of benefits. Women are looking for greater flexibility when it comes to their work scheduling and maternity leave. Companies that prioritize maternity and paternity leave will attract the best executives and professionals searching for progressive companies who understand working parents’ needs.
But flexible scheduling doesn’t only benefit parents. Many women provide care to their aging parents or may want to further their education and training. Flexible scheduling allows them to maintain their work obligations while affording them more freedom to manage their personal lives. With increasing numbers of executives working remotely and enjoying more flexible hours, companies can better retain their top-tier employees.
Help Women Identify and Develop Their Talent
CEOs and key executive management have an opportunity to help women identify and develop their strengths, particularly those that are suited to leadership roles within the company. Businesses can provide leadership training in-house, initiate leadership mentoring programs, or enable access to outside leadership coaching to ensure their female talent is supported. Responsive company CEOs and other leaders can create an environment where women can thrive by making an effort to know their female talent pool, identify women’s strengths, and offer clear-cut methods for women to develop those strengths to achieve their professional growth goals.
When you nurture your workforce with fairness in mind, everyone benefits. But to be an equal opportunity employer, it’s necessary to put policy into action. By helping women succeed in your workplace, you can support your own company’s success. Align your staffing development strategies with women’s career goals, and you can create direct pathways for talent to fulfill your leadership roles. Keep these tips in mind, and you can create a place where women and all of your employees can thrive.
By Octavio Lepe
Director, Executive Search
Octavio is the search practice leader for Sales & Marketing, Agribusiness, and D&I in the Americas.
Barbachano International (BIP) is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Latin America, & Canada) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Since 1992, BIP and its affiliates have served over 50% of Fortune 500 Companies and have been recognized by Forbes as a Top 40 executive search firm. Outplacement and Executive Coaching services are provided by our sister allied company Challenger Gray & Christmas. We are supported by our NPAworldwide partner offices in over 50 countries.