How to create a workplace where women thrive
Creating a respectful environment is not enough when tackling gender inequality in the workplace. We must also create equal opportunities for growth and achievement by cultivating a working culture where women are able to thrive. Here’s how.
In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, we asked several incredible women at Moorepay how they think employers can better support women in the workplace. Watch the video for a summary and gain greater insight into cultivating a positive and fair workplace in the article below.
Amplify Women’s Voices in Meetings
Louise Ankers, head of Product Management at Moorepay, proposed that amplifying women’s voices is a tried and tested method of helping women gain confidence and advancement in their roles. Sometimes, women’s voices can be overlooked or talked over in group settings, and as such ideas can be taken on by other group members.
As a manager, Louise has used her influence to ensure recognition is given when it’s due, calling out her team members’ valuable input into discussions. This tip doesn’t just apply to managers though – it’s an easy technique that anyone can implement to support their colleagues day-to-day.
A Quick Lesson in Microaggressions
Microaggressions are when subconscious biases affect our behaviour around other people. They are usually done accidentally or unconsciously rather than maliciously, but nevertheless, these actions are harmful as they perpetuate the idea of ‘otherness’ of a certain group of people, as well as stereotypes. Louise’s technique effectively responds to a common microaggression against women in a positive way.
Back-Up Your Efforts With Fair Policies and Procedures
What’s the best way to ensure a working environment where people are treated equally? Well, put it in writing of course!
Our Business Transformation Programme Manager Sara Wilson said that backing up your methods (for improving equality in the workplace) with HR & policies will have a more significant effect on your workforce. As well as aligning employees to your goals, it can also show female colleagues what support they can expect or request from their company.
Don’t Offer Opportunities Due to ‘Personality Match’
We’d like to think that, as employers, we do everything very fairly. But we are human, after all. When opportunities come along, such as a training course, a speaking or networking opportunity, a client meeting, or a business trip (when we can have those again!) the manager or team will have to select the right individual fit for the job. However, this is often when internal biases or preferences can shape decision-making. Ask yourself: is the choice down to who is best for the role, or who will be the best company?
Neesha Heal, Head of Business Transformation, advises thinking through the decision-making process so that everyone gets a fair chance to take these opportunities. An easy way to do this is to have everyone on rotation, or pull names out of a hat: whatever way, the key is to remove the human decision-maker out of the process as much as possible.
And let’s make it clear: we’re not just talking about mums here, but dads too. Men and women are sharing the responsibility of childcare much more equally than ever before. But there is still a long way to go. And the more that employers can support all parents with generous leave and maternity and paternity pay, the more women will have the agency to pursue their career goals.
Women can often get left behind in career progression when taking maternity leave. Sometimes, job roles change or promotions and pay rises can be missed out on due to being away from work. Because of this, our Implementation Consultant Ervisa Lotze suggested that extra training should be offered to women about to go on, or returning from, maternity leave. This will mean they are still enhancing their skills and are given opportunities to grow, whilst supporting their transition back into the workplace.
Offer Targeted Mentoring for Women
Following on from Ervisa’s point, Moorepay’s Payroll Service Director Christina Holloway is an advocate for targeted mentoring, as she’s seen its benefits first hand. Mentoring is a good way to address the specific needs of the individual and to address any systemic or social obstacles to success.
For example, women currently only take up 29% of senior management roles, and only 87% of global mid-market companies have one or more women in senior management roles. In light of this knowledge, perhaps it would be beneficial to offer mentoring for future female leaders to help level the playing field in upper management.
Offer Flexible Working
We mentioned in another article that the four day working week could be a resolution to the gender pay gap. But if you can’t stretch that far, giving employees more flexibility in their role will still help. Movable start and finish times, working from home and part-time opportunities can all help employees manage their personal responsibilities alongside work, such as domestic duties and caring for relatives (tasks that still predominantly affect women) leading to reduced stress and more workplace satisfaction. Consider what you can offer in this regard.