According to research by Catalyst.org, women made up only 40% of managers in the United States in 2018, despite the fact that females represent nearly half (46.9%) of the labor force.
The statistics are even worse for women of color. Latinas made up only 6.2% of women in management positions, while black women held 3.8%, and Asian women only 2.4%.
Hiring women into executive positions not only expands workplace diversity, but levels the playing field in terms of men and women in leadership. In our day and age, hiring should be a matter of qualifications and talent — hardly about gender. But until we see more equality in opportunity, it’s a discussion that needs to happen.
Here are some ways to encourage hiring more female leaders to your executive teams.
Provide fair compensation in the workplace
According to Payscale, women still earned only $0.79 for every dollar men earned in 2019.
Any company should be committed to equal pay by closing the gender pay gap. To ensure that more women are hired for and accept executive positions, it’s essential that companies provide equal pay for equal work. No exceptions.
Make harassment policies crystal clear
Create a positive and all-inclusive office environment that condemns inappropriate or illegal behaviors such as harassment and discrimination. Policies written in the company handbook help protect your employees and demonstrate that company leaders stand behind them. Having policies in writing can also show that there will be harsh consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Inclusivity policies require follow-through and should be reflected in all company communications and trainings. Behavior such as sexist jokes or harassment should be met with a zero-tolerance policy. Make sure each employee has the feeling of being fully supported in every aspect of their jobs and personal lives. This helps eliminate sexism and harassment from the workplace.
Cultivate an open-door culture
Open-door and open-office environments that make policies widely known can help curb unwelcome behaviors, making upper management and HR more approachable for all employees. Leaders can make a point to encourage conversation and contributions from employees, and listen when employees share needs or ask questions about the company. When leaders take employees’ comments and desires seriously, they can help create pathways to leadership roles for the future.
Offer flexible schedules
Women aren’t the only ones who benefit from flexible schedules. But when it comes to caring for children or older family members, the American Psychological Association suggests that females spend more time caregiving than men. Consider offering a compressed work week by giving opportunities to work four-day weeks and 10-hour days. This will open up opportunities for employees to embrace a work-life balance and opportunities for extended weekends for more enjoyable family time for the employee. Increase paid time off by incorporating company-sponsored family events and implementing policies, procedures, and expectations to help pursue a better work-life balance. What’s more, make it easier for leadership to take time away. Company managers who pursue balance in their own lives will model the behavior and better support their employees.
Consider offering childcare options
Open doors to children in the office if and when it’s possible. Consider offering in-office daycare, childcare vouchers or flexible schedules for working parents. Eliminate bias against working parents. Another benefit that can help with childcare is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) which can be used to pay for before- and after-school care, preschool and summer day camp.
Employing women in leadership rolls improves the bottom line
Diversity helps make companies profitable, innovative and more respected. More and more, companies are being recognized for strong female leadership. In fact, the most recent Fortune 500 list held a new record: For the first time ever, 33 of the companies on the list of highest-grossing firms have female CEOs.
Women play an important role in both leadership and company culture. This isn’t just important for showing female employees that they matter; it also has a direct benefit on the bottom line. CNBC reports that companies with female executives actually make more money.
Still, there aren’t enough women in leadership roles. While the number of female CEOs is growing, it’s still at only 6%.
To encourage more women in leadership roles in your office and reduce turnover, cultivate a culture of transparency. Hold existing leaders accountable, and set tangible goals for your company and your individual team members. Invite female speakers for company-wide professional development sessions. Celebrate women and diversity inside the company. Overall, encourage participation, foster inclusivity, and invite cross-departmental collaboration.
Building a successful company and workplace involves all type of people, men and women included. Work to create a fair culture where hard work is rewarded and collaboration makes everyone more successful.