Women make up more than half of America’s population and over 47 percent of its workforce; yet women remain underrepresented at every level in professional industries. At the current rate, it will take more than 100 years to achieve gender parity at the highest levels of U.S. corporations.
And this isn’t only a moral issue; according to McKinsey Global Institute, advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global GDP by 2025.
So how can you empower women in your office and set them up to succeed? Start with some of our workplace empowerment tips.
Establish and encourage mentorships
Connecting women with strong role models provides them with sources of inspiration and advice, and also gives them more visibility with leadership. Incentivize your senior employees to participate in a mentorship network across genders and departments.
Mentorship also benefits companies, leading to greater employee engagement, a more positive work environment, higher retention, and increased productivity.
Foster an open, collaborative culture
In general, women are adept at building relationships, understanding people’s needs, and motivating those around them. You can nurture and capitalize on these traits by designing a culture of collaboration where everyone is comfortable sharing their ideas.
Teamwork and open conversation can introduce employees to new colleagues, views, and skills.
Institute flexible policies
As society progresses, workplace policies are becoming more flexible. Aim to create an office culture with clear policies for employees to work where and when they can be most efficient.
This is especially applicable to parental leave, where employees may prioritize different policies based on their specific circumstance and family dynamic. Women feel safer and more emboldened at work when their desire for both a family and a career is respected and protected.
Establish more diverse talent pipelines
The solution to gender disparity in the workplace isn’t to hire unqualified women in leadership roles; Instead, employers need to create more diverse pipelines for hiring.
An effective practice is the “rule of two”: for every three leadership position candidates, no more than two of them should have a similar demographic profile.
Start a committee
Prioritizing gender equality isn’t only for HR professionals or the C-suite. A female group or committee can identify challenges for women in the workplace and develop training or policies to help solve them. The presence of like-minded women working together can provide a safe space for a woman who don’t know where to turn in the office.
Has your company implemented any effective policies or programs to help empower women? We’d love to hear about them in the Facebook comments!