In recent years there has been a significant amount of research delving into what women want from the organisations in which they work. Major organisations contribute considerable time, energy, and resources to really understand what is happening in the workplace, what they can do better, and what are the most important wants of their employees.
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 they deserve.
Six ‘wants’ of a professional female in the workplace;
FLEXIBILITY IN WORKING HOURS
Flexibility in the workplace has been an ongoing discussion for some time. Research shows, it is usually women in positions either full or part-time that juggle children, their parent’s care, or even an unwell partner. Flexibility in the workplace can vary greatly from employer to employer, with some industry employers completely unable to accept the changing of times. However, with the arrival of COVID-19 companies had to pivot and employers have been forced to change their mindsets. Flexibility and work-from-home options have become part of our daily makeup in work environments. It is now commonly noted in new positions promoted by employers that flexible work options are a necessity as part of the contract, and no longer referred to as a contract perk.
EQUALITY IN PAY
Women continue to fight and stand strong for equality in pay. It is frustrating to still see that figures released from the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Report August 2021, show Australia’s national gender pay gap is 14.2%. The full-time total earnings gender pay gap, which includes overtime payments, is 16.8%. This means women’s average weekly total full-time earnings are $323.30 less per week compared to men.
PROGRESSION DESPITE WORK BREAKS TO HAVE CHILDREN
I was once told by my Director that I could have it all – the amazing job, continued career progression, the fabulous perks & rewards, and have a child. She had me believing that I could have it all .. so when the time was right and I was blessed with a child – I tried to have it all. But having it all came at a cost – the cost was, I was so stretched so thin from doing my ‘fabulous long-hours career’ to being a new mum – that I wasn’t enjoying either. I was too stretched and struggled to ever be in the moment and enjoy what life had given me.
Being able to take time off to enjoy each stage of life ‘without’ losing those steps in the career ladder and future progression is so important.
TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORK THEY DO
Engaged workers are definitely happier and more content workers. Feedback shows employees really want to make a difference in the work they are doing. So how do they do this? One idea is to align the employee’s KPI’s (key performance indicators) to the company’s goals. When employees can see in ‘black and white’ the difference they are making to achieve the company goals and affect the bottom-line, they will be more engaged.
A new Company Mentor Program recently launched by Business in Heels addresses these issues – it allows organisations to customise the program to enable employee goal alignment and KPI achievement. For more information click here.
TO HAVE THE RESOURCES TO GROW PROFESSIONALLY
This is one of the top 3 questions asked in job interviews – what resources and support is there to grow professionally in the company? Gone are the days where employees start a job, work at the same company for 30 years, stay in the same role or similar level for that time, then retire. Being able to develop your skills; grow within a role; source opportunities to progress through the company; have resources to learn/courses to attend; are all part of the professional mix for job satisfaction, professional growth and employee retention.
TO WORK FOR AN EMPOWERING AND RESPECTFUL LEADER
The Peoples Skills Coach sums it up perfectly “When leaders and managers struggle with empowering employees, I remind them of one of the empowerment essentials. Not being in charge of everything doesn’t mean you are not respected. So instead of struggling with letting go, see the advantages of empowering those you lead. Being respected will take you much further than just being in charge. In fact, empowering others can take you places you otherwise can’t go.”
We can’t always choose our leader but we can choose how we manage the relationship to help build respect. Understanding how to ‘Manage Up’ is vitally important to building your management skills. Managing Up is ‘how to manage the relationship with your boss’ to learn more and for a free online course click here.
Women want to work for companies where they are valued, heard, and respected. While we’ve come a long way in the last 100 years, there are still many areas that need work. Recognising what is happening in the workplace, what they can do better, and what are the most important wants of their employees is an absolute priority of companies to be an employer of choice.