In recent years there has been a significant amount of research delving into what women want from the organisations in which they work.
For many of you, the findings from numerous studies into what women want in the workplace may not come as a surprise, but the truth is that in Australia, we still have a way to go before women in business have all the opportunities the deserve.
Women want more than just equal pay from their employers. International and Australian research, together with my own experience as an HR leader, shows there are three key factors that will ensure the true value of women is recognised and promoted in corporate, government and community organisations.
1. Flexible working policies
Research has found that when, where and how women work is vital to their success in a workplace. The largest survey of working women in Australia showed that being able to balance work and personal/family responsibilities is of utmost importance.
Flexible working hours and being able to work remotely allows women to maintain any family and personal commitments they may have while also contributing efficiently to a company or organisation.
The benefits of flexibility are immense. Family-friendly and flexible workplaces tend to increase productivity (employees take less sick leave and are happier) and companies enjoy the benefit of loyal long-term employees. Replacing an employee can cost 75 per cent or more of their annual wage, so implementing fair and flexible working conditions for women is also a smart financial move.
2. Leadership opportunities
It can be lonely at the top and research has shown that women don’t just want opportunities to climb the corporate ladder, but they want the resources, tools and support necessary to make the most of leadership opportunities and progression.
In practice, this might mean regular opportunities to connect with like-minded women in business that share similar challenges, access to mentors who can be role models and supporters, and opportunities to undertake professional development on issues relating to workplace wellness, work-life balance and how to create a high performance culture.
3. A seat at the table
Women want to work for organisations that help them find their voice and their calling. Amplifying women’s voices and including them in discussions relating to risks and opportunities being faced by your organisation makes good business sense. Women are reported to control or influence 72 per cent of household spending. So if women are excluded from high-level conversations, businesses are effectively missing an opportunity on learning how to appeal to female customers.
There is little doubt that education is highly valued in the business world. With 20 per cent more women than men aged 25 to 34 holding bachelor’s degrees, it would be foolhardy not to take into consideration, and act on, what women want from their places of work.
Corporate Diversity Pathways is a full service diversity and inclusion advisory focussed on empowering women for diversity, happiness, inclusion and peak performance. We do this through Careers for Women, Executive Development Programs, Coaching for Peak Performance, Workplace Wellness, D+I Advisory and Action, D+I Leaders Network and The Power of Mentoring.