Women are demanding more from work, and to get what they want, they’re switching jobs at the highest rate possibly in history. The pandemic kicked off the Big Quit; now we’re into “the Great Work Breakup.” Women are no longer putting up with conditions that don’t work for them. Some of them are even “rage-applying” which is applying to multiple jobs when you’re fed up with your current one.
So, what do women want?
The recently released McKinsey Study “Women in the Workplace 2022 reports several ways employers could meet the needs and demands of their female employees.
Flexible Work Policies
One of the most important things companies can do to support female employees is to implement flexible work policies. This includes things like flexible hours, remote/hybrid work, and parental leave. According to the study, 60 percent of women who responded said having more flexible working arrangements would make them more likely to stay with their current employer.
When women feel supported in finding a balance between their professional and personal lives, they’re more likely to be engaged and productive employees. And satisfied employees are key to any company’s success. Implementing flexible work policies is a win-win for both employers and employees.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on diversity in the workplace. Companies have been under pressure to hire a more diverse workforce and to develop a more diverse group of employees. Many have made public commitments to do so. However, many women feel that these commitments are nothing more than lip service. The few “diverse” employees often experience a visceral lack of inclusion and belonging that leaves them feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome.
Further, racialized and other underrepresented women point to the lack of progress that has been made in terms of hiring and promotion practices. And they are tired of being the “only” in the room. They’re tired of being told that they need to be more patient, that change takes time. They’re done with being told that their voices don’t matter.
The lack of diversity at the top level of organizations is not only a problem for women; it is a problem for companies as a whole. As I’ve written before, diverse perspectives are essential for making informed decisions, and companies that lack diversity are at a disadvantage. Studies have shown that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform their competitors by 19 percent, and those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by 45 percent. These numbers make it clear that diversity is essential for business success.
There are a number of reasons why diverse companies perform better. Diverse teams are more innovative. Studies have shown that teams with a diversity of perspectives are more likely to come up with new ideas and find creative solutions to problems because they have more diverse perspectives and experiences. They have fresh, alternative outlooks and ideas compared to more homogenized teams.
Diverse teams are more engaged and productive. Employees who feel a sense of belonging within a company that values them are more likely to be committed to their work and invested in the company’s success. Employees who feel marginalized and undervalued simply don’t feel as committed or invested — a completely understandable response.
In short, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that companies with more diverse workforces simply perform better. And given the competitive nature of today’s business landscape, that’s something all companies should be striving for.
There are many things companies can do to foster more diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They can start by reviewing their hiring practices and ensuring that they are reaching out to a diverse pool of candidates. They can create initiatives and programs to support underrepresented groups within the company by countering systemic biases and barriers. And they can make a commitment to promoting diversity at all levels, from the entry-level employees all the way up to the C-suite.
Otherwise, they will continue to lose the trust and respect of their employees. And they will continue to miss out on the talents and skills of a large pool of potential talent.
Professional Development Opportunities
Another way to keep women leaders happy in their jobs is by providing them with professional development opportunities. Women are looking for opportunities to grow within their companies – 74 percent of respondents said they would leave their job if they didn’t have chances to advance. This is especially true for Black women who have been leaving jobs to pursue entrepreneurship (and escape from unpleasant workplace culture) in droves, a trend that started even before the pandemic.
From offering mentorship programs to training courses on leadership skills, there are plenty of ways for companies to invest in the professional development of their female employees. When women feel supported in their career growth, they’re more likely to stick around and contribute to the success of the company.
Why It’s Good News for Employers
It’s time for companies to take action if they want to keep their female leaders from leaving for greener pastures. Companies that fail to retain their women leaders are at risk of losing not only experienced workers but also the next generation of female talent. As young women enter the workforce, they are increasingly focused on finding an equitable, supportive, and inclusive workplace. They have seen senior women leave for better opportunities, and they are prepared to do the same if necessary.
I think this is good news for companies that are looking to attract and retain top talent. By creating a work environment that is supportive of women’s ambitions, companies can not only attract the best and brightest women but also create a more productive and innovative workforce.
By implementing flexible work policies and providing professional development opportunities, companies can make progress toward gender equality while retaining their best and brightest employees. If companies want to keep these top talents, they need to provide more than just the bare minimum.
Are you thinking about a big change? You don’t have to go it alone. Reach out today for a free and confidential initial consultation by phone, email, or via direct message through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
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