Even though research has shown that companies with higher levels of gender diversity are more profitable and more productive there is still a surprising lack of equality in most organisations. Striving to make your company a better place for women to work will help you to recruit, and retain, more female workers and could help you to boost the success of your business.
Creating a more women-friendly workplace takes time, effort and commitment. However, with the ethical and financial rewards of increased equality so significant, all companies should have plenty to think about when it comes to creating a gender equal workplace. Although there are a lot of things that need to change before women are truly on an equal footing with their male colleagues, making these eight easy changes should help to put your company firmly on the path to real gender equality.
1. Flexible working hours
Offering flexible working hours is one of the most important changes you can make to create a more women-friendly working environment. According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, almost three-quarters of mothers with dependant children are now in full- or part-time work. This means that a large number of the women in your workforce are likely to be mothers.
Offering flexible working hours makes it a lot easier for these mothers to organise their childcare and manage their workload. Whether they’re single mothers or are living with partners, this can make a huge difference to the women in your workplace. By being a little flexible with your timetable, you can take the stress off your employees and make your workplace a more pleasant place for them to be.
2. Identify workplace bias
Even if you don’t actively recruit or promote men over women, there’s a good chance there is some lingering gender bias in your workplace. For example, if your employees generally meet clients on the golf course or if you have a corporate box at your local football club, this may make it more difficult for women to make a mark on the business. Try to take a step back from your company and look at it with a critical eye. Are there areas where men have an unfair advantage over women and is there anything you can do to address the issue?
3. Recruit women
It may sound simple, but recruiting more women to your workplace is one of the best ways of making your business more female-friendly. Offering perks that appeal to women – like flexible working hours – will help to tempt more talented and ambitious female workers to your company. The more effort you put into creating a women-friendly workplace, the easier recruitment will be.
4. Promote women
Once you’ve recruited more women to your company, you need to make sure that you promote them. According to a recent study, women are up to 15% less likely to be promoted than male colleagues. However, having women in positions of power is incredibly important if your company is going to move towards true equality.
Make an effort to identify talented female workers and to encourage them to apply for available promotions. Make sure that women know that their input is valued and that your company welcomes women at all levels of the organisation.
5. Create an inclusive work culture
Creating an inclusive work culture will benefit both your employees and your business. If staff feel safe, valued and that they’re judged on their own merits, they’ll be a lot more likely to put 100% into their work, bringing you better results in the process.
Look at the language that managers and executives use in the workplace. Think about the roles than men and women play in your company and make sure that you listen to complaints and suggestions from everyone in the business. The more open and welcoming your workplace is, the more your staff are likely to contribute and the more you’ll get out of the business.
6. Change your dress code
Despite the fact that research has shown 61% of employees are more productive when they can dress casually in the office, a surprisingly high number of companies still operate a fairly strict sartorial code. If you require women to wear high heels, skirts or anything else gender-specific in the workplace, changing your rules will help women to feel more comfortable and will help to promote a more inclusive environment in your company.
7. Zero tolerance on workplace harassment
According to a recent poll from Opinium Research, a staggering one in five women has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Operating a zero tolerance policy on workplace harassment is incredibly important if you want to create a more women-friendly environment. If an employee reports that they have experienced harassment or have seen someone else being harassed, make sure the allegation is dealt with seriously and efficiently. If necessary, give all your staff training on appropriate behaviour in the workplace to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
8. Equal pay
Last but definitely not least, make sure that your company offers equal pay to its male and female employees. According to figures released by the ONS, women in the UK are still paid less in all sectors across the board. This means that, no matter what industry they work in, women get less money than their male colleagues.
A major cause of the gender pay gap is the lack of women in top jobs. Promoting talented female employees within your company, will help you to ensure your company does its bit to improve pay equality.
Although it takes time, effort and investment, working to make your workplace women-friendly is well worth it. Take action today and advertise jobs in Norwich to improve the gender equality in your office and your newly diverse workplace could pay dividends.