Regardless of age, women are a valuable part of the workforce. From baby boomers to millennials, women who continue to work through life changes are a valuable asset to organizations that are dedicated to training and developing their workforce. Since the post-recession era in the late 1990s, there has been a steady exodus of women from the workforce, even though women are pursuing advanced degrees in a rate that outpaces their male counterparts. Why are women excluding themselves from promotion and executive-level management, and what can corporate America do to ensure that everyone, regardless of gender or race, has the most opportunity available to them based on their skill-set?
Here are four substantial strategies organizations can implement to ensure workforce equality and success:
Performance reviews should be based on performance, not perceptions. Performance reviews are already dreaded by most (managers and employees alike), but they don’t have to be. Shifting performance reviews from a stressful, fear-based model, to one that identifies and celebrates an employee’s achievement based on data and other validated inputs is beneficial for all parties. Using verified achievements, in the form of digital credentials, removes the anecdotal bias from performance reviews.
Recognize what makes a great manager in your organization. Female managers are consistently better at engaging employees than their male counterparts are, which leads to higher financial performance in an organization. The bottom line: when employees are engaged at work, they tend to stay in their roles longer. Less turnover means less money spent on recruitment and retention.
Create a culture of trust and transparency. Job benefits, such as remote work, a casual dress policy, and flexible time off, encourage working moms to stay in the workforce after they’ve had children. It’s not just working moms who care about the perks - when employees are trusted to do their jobs, whether at home or in an office, they tend to work more efficiently and provide higher value to the organization. Creating a culture of trust that emphasizes work/life balance removes barriers for women to make it to the C-Suite.
Focus on your employee's strengths - not stereotypes. This should go without saying, but it’s illegal to discriminate a potential job candidate based on their gender, race, sexual orientation or physical disability. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still happen in corporate America. Women are often removed from consideration of management positions after having children, oftentimes because their manager assumes they can’t take on the responsibilities that come along with a higher title. Not true, say most women. The threshold is the same for both working moms and men alike: fifty working hours a week maximum, reasonable travel, and time off when needed.
Every forward thinking organization can take steps to transform their culture to become one of inclusivity and acceptance. This inclusivity doesn’t have to include only women, but any demographic who is often discounted from advancement. If you’d like to learn more about how your organization can reduce gender bias in the workplace, download a copy of our free white paper, “Reduce Gender Bias in the Workplace: How Digital Credentials Can Surface Competency and Level the Playing Field.”