Women empowering women in the workplace is becoming a cornerstone of how many innovative companies attract, retain, and advance top talent. Increasingly, women are rising to positions of leadership and entering a wide range of positions across the business landscape. How can companies ensure they're creating an environment which supports the success of all employees, while helping women in the company facilitate the growth of other female talent?
Focus on Fair Wages
Paychex research has revealed there are noticeable wage gaps between men and women, even in fields where the gaps are smallest. Companies that want to attract and retain top female talent need to have a clear strategy in place for eliminating the wage gap. Take steps to eliminate hiring bias, such as increasing diverse interview panels or using tools that facilitate blind candidate selection. Use set pay ranges for positions, and utilize factors such as years of experience, education, and responsibilities to assign salary. Don't use a candidate's previous salary as the basis for your internal equity. In fact in Massachusetts, and soon other states, employers are prohibited from asking applicants about their salary history. Finally, take strategic steps to be fair and objective during employee reviews.
Invest in Female Leadership
What percentage of your company's executive leaders are women? Evaluate the same for your mid-level managers and management track employees. For companies committed to equality, it's important to invest in female leadership. When your female employees see women in positions of authority and making decisions that shape your company, they're more likely to envision their own career path in those terms. Create opportunities for your leaders to share their stories, network with junior employees, and potentially establish mentor-mentee relationships as well.
Evaluate Your Benefits and Scheduling
A company culture that is welcoming to both male and female employees is likely one that's in compliance with state and federal regulations on issues ranging from the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to pregnancy protections. If you're facing questions about your compliance with these issues, consult a legal advisor and ensure you're aligned with these laws and regulations – for the good of both your business and your employees. Companies may want to strategically evaluate their benefits, schedule, and workplace culture for factors such as:
- Parental leave policies: When fathers are able to take paternity leave, family life may impact employees’ careers less.
- Flexible scheduling: Do you allow telecommuting, even occasionally, or alternate scheduling?
- Benefits coverage: Do your benefits include coverage for maternity leave or services related to reproductive health? For example, some employers have begun offering benefits that include supporting egg freezing, adoption, and surrogacy.
Connect with Employees and Customize
Ultimately, it's important to remember that a woman-friendly company is one that is geared toward the full range of employees you want to hire. Every woman's needs and interests are different, and each individual's career path is different. Maternity leave and flexible schedules may be top considerations for some employees, while others may focus on mentorship and compensation. Still, other organizations will consider the full range of options to promote equality and women's growth in the workplace. As an employer, it's beneficial to know what issues matter to your workforce and how you can focus on delivering the customized support they need.
As generational shifts occur and women increasingly step into leadership roles, it's critical that companies find ways to support women empowering women in the workplace. From benefits to mentorship programs, there are numerous ways to help all employees do their best work and grow long-term, successful careers in your organization.