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Women have always been central to labor, both in public and private lives. But their contribution has not always been appreciated or even welcomed. What can today’s companies do to make sure workplaces are women-friendly?
The world of business is constantly changing. A big part of this change is driven by technology but also by the societal changes around us. Some of the change is a sort of natural flow of humanity’s progress, but sometimes laws and policies are put in place to improve situations. This has been the case with women entering the workforce, as women still have trouble earning equal salaries, accessing financing, and progressing in their careers.
But there are big things companies can and should do to welcome more women. These aren’t regulations set by the government but the shifts in mind-sets and internal policies of the company.
What are the five things companies can do to create workplaces that are more accepting?
1. Put Equal Treatment at the Heart of the Organization
The bottom line is that all employees should be treated the same way. It’s not about favoring women or making the workplace easy for them but ensuring no one is discriminated against or feels unwelcome. Organisations that have high equality standards will also attract more women.
It’s important to have a clear set of policies and procedures in place to support equal treatment and mechanisms for employees to report problems.
2. Introduce Women-Friendly Policies
There are certain policies that can be seen especially helpful to women’s rights in the workplace. Organizations should make sure they consider implementing these to let women know they’ll be heard.
These include things like procedures for possible sexual harassment. While this can happen to anyone, the majority of cases are still against women. It’s important that women have the reassurance of clear guidelines on what happens in these instances. These policies must also ensure the privacy of the victim and the accused.
3. Implement Family-Friendly Policies
It’s also important to consider the ways in which the organization approaches families and especially motherhood. Organizations must provide adequate maternity leave to help women and families. This should be paid and the woman should have the power to choose between a shorter and longer maternity leave. With today’s technology, the maternity leave could even include a bit of remote work if the mother chooses. Flexible work is very easy to implement in many industries.
The maternity leave shouldn’t be considered for women only. Studies have shown that companies who offer parental leave for fathers as well tend to perform better. This can also help families a great deal and organizations across the globe should start implementing these policies.
Overall, it’s important to have a clear policy regarding time-off for family matters. This should be flexible enough to ensure no woman or man has to choose between a career and a family but also just enough to not hinder those without families. A good human resource management system with the right tools can help sort out things like this easily.
4. Provide Training and Opportunities to Develop
Organizations should also start paying more attention to the training programs they run. It’s important to provide opportunities for women and men to develop their skills, especially in areas like leadership and management. Taining programs and proper assessment of performance and talent should be implemented across the organization for all employees.
5. Use Artificial Intelligence for Recruitment and Performance Reviews
Overall, it’s a good idea to remove the unconscious or conscious bias from hiring and from offering promotions. Today’s technology provides the tools for this with innovative human resource management systems that use artificial intelligence and machine learning.
What this means is that it’s not just the human resource personnel making the decision but technology can help. For example, the software can remove knowledge of the candidate’s gender. This will allow a more non-biased way of picking the candidate, focusing only on the ability. Similar techniques can then be used for promotions and the like.
Women-Friendly Workplaces are Not Rocket Science
It’s important to understand that having a woman-friendly workplace is not rocket science. There is nothing odd about ensuring the equal treatment of all employees and ensuring everyone feels safe and welcome.
Therefore, organizations must continue to have a dialogue with employees, both men and women, over the ways they could improve satisfaction and productivity. This is the way to ensure organizations find and keep the right talent.