Happy International Women’s Day!
Wait, what? International Women’s Day?
We’ll be honest, we didn’t know that there was such a thing. But if this one day gives us the opportunity to discuss hiring, compensation and cultural practices that affect our fellow sisters in the workforce, why not take it?
For those of you not in the know, International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is “pledge for parity,” with a focus on accelerating equality between men and women. This is especially timely given increasing attention and legislation toward equal pay practices between the sexes.
So, how should you take this opportunity to celebrate your female staff?
Here’s a hint: we don’t want flowers and Hallmark isn’t making cards yet. In honor of this day, we’d like to encourage you to look beyond March 8 and to really assess how you help close the gender gap throughout the year.
What women want
When it comes right down to what men and women want in the workplace, there really isn’t much difference between the sexes. If your goal is to recruit great employees or if you are concerned about your employees being recruited out from under you, it is time to contemplate ideas that improve the employment landscape for your star employees or dream recruits -whether they are female or male.
The first step in really honoring your female employees (and this should be a no-brainer) is to look at your compensation practices. Where there is a pay or other compensation disparity between men and women who perform similar functions, focus your attention there. Making concerted efforts to equalize your compensation packages will not only help keep you out of the courtroom, but also will help cultivate a workplace that employees perceive as fair and where they know their contributions are truly valued.
Once your compensation practices are up to par, consider implementing flexible schedules. Why? Because everyone wants them - women, men and even those millennials who can be tricky to attract and retain. seem to want more flexibility and discretion over their work hours. Additionally, a natural side effect of flexibility is the ever elusive work-life balance, which is what we are all seeking and nearly every woman we know struggles with (including us!).
So, consider implementing flexible work hours, job sharing, part-time schedules and/or telecommuting. This is a highly valued benefit by employees and is relatively cost-effective to offer as technology is making it easier to work from anywhere.
3) Professional development
If you aren’t currently offering professional development opportunities, it’s time to start. One reason many great employees leave for other companies is the opportunity for growth and development. We recommend you implement a strong employee development program now, before your employees start looking elsewhere. All employees, not just women, want to learn, grow and take on additional responsibilities in the workplace.
Ask yourself: what are you doing to support the professional growth of your employees? Consider offering tuition reimbursement for college courses, support achieving professional certifications and financing conferences. Also, think about implementing a mentorship program where junior employees are partnered with tenured employees or executives to enhance their skills and knowledge of the organization.
Finally, consider implementing a job rotation program where employees have the opportunity to perform different jobs among the various departments in your organization. This not only staves off boredom and enhances employees’ skills but also gives them a more global view and understanding of how the organization operates.
The competition for talent is fierce. You want to be able to attract key hires and retain your critical staff. This requires thinking beyond just offering a competitive and fair salary, but also providing a workplace that is fair and flexible and a culture that values everyone’s contributions equally. This is a must if you want to compete for the best and brightest men AND women.
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