Offices around the globe are filled with bright, hard working women thriving in their roles. So, it’s hard to imagine that women once weren’t given a voice in what was traditionally considered a man’s world. Now more than ever, women are gradually climbing to the top in the fight to break the glass ceiling and access senior leadership roles. And businesses will want to take notice, as those that have a minimum of 30% women in the C-suite have an average 15% increase of corporate profits. Therefore, the companies that revolutionise how they value their female employees will be the ones that achieve with greater success.
To continue to put women at the forefront, businesses must incorporate gender diversity strategies, such as hybrid working, mentoring schemes, and male allies that focus on female employment at the hiring & promotion stage. These will be the companies that create a pipeline of talent and have a well-rounded business.
Changing the Conversation
To make progressive change for women in the workplace, businesses need to dedicate their strategies to making diversity and inclusivity the lifeblood of their practices. This starts with reviewing the pipeline to create sustainable leadership. Leaders at the top must send a strong message that diversity and inclusion are paramount.
According to an S&P Global study, female CEOs displayed greater adaptability, empathy, and diversity than male colleagues. Now more than ever, incorporating emotion into the heart of the business is an imperative quality of a senior leader. According to a Catalyst survey, 76% of people reported those with empathic managers have higher levels of engagement than those with less empathic senior leaders. This is particularly significant for women of colour who’ve reportedly felt more burnt out when their senior leaders lack empathy. Having equal representation will inadvertently bring together different types of thinking, creating a more versatile business that reflects the values of their customers. Companies that create a culture that supports female talent in their workforce’s senior roles will set the stage for a much brighter future.
Equally, mentoring schemes led by female senior executives can help to close the gender gap in the C-suite. With the help of seasoned leaders who become mentors and subject-matter experts, aspiring leaders can get support. Mentoring can also provide mentees with a chance to pick the brains of peers and corporate executives from various departments. This supports women’s career aspirations, identifies and fills in knowledge and skill gaps, and builds confidence. Thus, female mentees are supported in creating a plan to advance their careers, grow their networks, and establish new contacts.
New Features in the Workplace
There are many stories of pregnant women and mothers sometimes being overlooked for senior roles in the workplace due to patriarchal fears about a woman’s commitment to the job. However, employers that introduce hybrid working as a more flexible alternative for women with child minding responsibilities can create a more diverse work force, helping women to rise into senior roles. In fact, it was reported that flexible working led to a 33% increase in women being hired for senior roles. This is essential to businesses as research has shown that companies with more women in senior positions are more profitable, more socially responsible, and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences.
Women traditionally shoulder the primary caregiver’s responsibility, so they are more likely to take time off work if their children are unwell. Additionally, women are more likely to leave their jobs to look after a family member – usually their children. Many employees embraced hybrid or remote working during the pandemic and slowly it became widely accepted worldwide. As a result, hybrid work models allowed mothers to fulfil both their domestic and career decisions. Post-COVID, many offices have retained this model of working which has witnessed many women thrive in their careers. Through flexible work timings, businesses that promote work-life balance will promote women to rise to the top and further enrich businesses.
Furthermore, hybrid working benefits the lives of women as it allows them to save more – especially in light of a looming recession. According to an IWG report, 66% of women reported that working from home saved them money from daily commutes into the office. Additionally, 17% of women reported being able to save for a deposit in a house thanks to the flexibility that hybrid working allows. Hybrid working clearly shows the great potential to enhance women’s well-being, career, and life aspirations.
Diversity and Inclusion is The Way Forward
Diversity and inclusion are issues that require ongoing effort that must be established, maintained, and nurtured. They cannot be reduced to a one-time campaign. It’s important to offer sponsorship and mentorship options for women at all levels in order to draw more women into male-dominated industries, and bring them in at the executive level.
Businesses must persistently promote and reward a more inclusive leadership style that consistently pushes women to new heights. Employers must appoint women on executive committees and advance them to C-Suite roles in order to create long-lasting change. Simply hiring female staff is not sufficient.
Above all, achieving equality in the work place, and a space for women in top roles, starts with male leaders being active allies in the right for women to climb to the top.