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Despite having the same levels of education, working hours, and drive as their male colleagues, many women still feel they work in a man’s world. Why is this? And, more importantly, what can you do about it in your workplace?
The reality is that many industries don’t reflect as diverse of an employee population as they believe they do—even when it comes to women. The tech industry reflects this male-dominated situation all too well—one report shows women make up just a bit more than one quarter of that workforce. The STEM industries aren’t too different, with environmental and social barriers keeping women from inclusion.
Take an honest look at your business. Is your workforce one of diversity and inclusion—especially when it comes to women?
>Consider benefits and incentives that accommodate all associates. What policies benefit all workers? Provide benefits that all employees would appreciate—including greater flexibility and ability to achieve work-life balance—if you want to attract and retain great associates, especially women.
>Don’t overlook the subtleties—like informal systems or communications—that exist. Create an inclusive, no-fear culture that promotes everyone feeling welcome, even in a male-dominated industry. Demonstrate your company’s commitment to these positive values through leadership-driven initiatives.
>Be diligent about inclusion at all levels. Don’t just take a top-down approach to recruiting. Build a gender-diverse staff. That means promoting balanced perspectives in recruiting and hiring practices, with gender-diverse search teams and interview committees.
>Create mentorship opportunities, formal and informal, that encourage employees to develop valuable leadership skills and provide positive reinforcement. This will not only retain employees but help identify future leaders.
How engaged are your employees? It’s a common question. But it can be hard to gauge, especially with traditional performance reviews.
With the advent of “people analytics” platforms, engagement can be more easily measured. Companies like Adobe are using platforms that assess employee satisfaction and productivity with frequent, short surveys.
Experts behind these culture-based programs say that responding to the data—and making immediate changes—is crucial.
Birchbox, for example, surveys employees regarding internal engagement quarterly and gives longer questionnaires semi-annually—adjusting its strategies accordingly. In fact, it recently changed internal communications based on benchmarks assessed through the feedback—a crucial piece of the puzzle for building cultural confidence in a growing company.
Check out some financial and demographic facts about women entrepreneurs in this complimentary infographic.