In today’s business world, leaders can’t afford to underestimate the importance of empowering women at work. From driving innovation to boosting a corporation’s profits, the value of having strong women in the workplace is undeniable. That’s why, this women’s month, we discuss the five most important tools to help organisations everywhere strengthen their female leadership and direct the conversation towards creating a more positive workplace culture.
What is “workplace culture”?
Workplace culture is a product of individual factors that come together to create the every-day environment in an organisation. Think of it as the character or personality of your organization.
Essentially, the space in which we work is shaped by a collection of the values, attitudes, priorities, workplace practices and the type of leadership in the organisation.
Creating a positive workplace culture
The biggest mistake most organizations make is that they let their workplace culture form organically without first defining a specific culture or environment that they hope to create.
However, no matter how big or small the organisation, every business can take gradual steps to start making their workplace a space that encourages and empowers women, and one that is mindful of creating new practices that support female career advancement.
1. Amplify the female voice
In an interview with BBC News, Facebook’s VP, Nicola Mendelsohn, noted that women’s voices are often overlooked in the workplace, saying that “Women get interrupted a lot, or people talk over them. I think there is an element that happens in the workplace where we actually condition women not to speak.”
That’s why it’s essential that organisations encourage open dialogue in the workplace. By providing opportunities for women to have their voices heard, your organisation can help women to educate the rest of the office and allow them to begin to form the type of workplace culture that they’d like to see themselves.
In practice, your organisation can offer workplace training on topics such as implicit bias, inclusion and diversity. Some employees may have never heard of these topics before, let alone critically analyzed them in the workplace. This is a great way to continue to bring the experience of women in the workplace to the forefront of the conversation.
2. Listen and learn
Creating a positive workplace culture is about allowing women to express themselves openly, without fear of judgement. One of the main ways workplace environments can be damaging to female employees is when men in leadership positions try to discredit female voices using tactics such as “tone policing” or by “derailing” the conversation.
This is basically when men try to take focus away from real issues female face in the workplace and put it on the way they choose to express this issue and the tone of voice they use. At its core, this suggests that women have to distance themselves from their emotions in order to be heard, and it allows men to define the terms of the conversation.
That’s why it’s absolutely essential that leaders openly acknowledge their female employees’ experiences in the current workplace culture rather than dismissing the conversation out of fear of criticism.
3. Encourage female leadership
Promoting strong, deserving women to prominent management roles is a great way to create a more positive workplace culture. It also sets a valuable precedent that says, “Yes! Women can hold leadership positions in our organization.”
Gender diversity in the workplace is an essential factor in creating positive results such as bringing in new perspectives, making firms more productive and widening the talent pool. It also tends to signal a more attractive work environment and a positive workplace culture to other potential female employees.
Diversifying management and ensuring female representation also gives women the ability to provide valuable input when it comes to important decisions about the organisation’s policies and practices that will affect the day-to-day lives of every female at work.
4. Equal wages for equal work and experience
It’s only natural; we all love to be rewarded and recognized for good work. In fact, one of the leading factors encouraging motivation in the workplace is something called the Incentive Theory of Motivation.
According to leading psychologists, most people work harder and stay at higher levels of motivation when they are inspired by external reinforcements such as the possibility of promotion, higher wages and an opportunity for growth.
Equal pay is one of the most important parts of creating a space where employees feel valued. Women can’t thrive in the workplace or reach their full potential if they feel that the strengths they bring to the workplace are not recognized and that they are not equally rewarded for their contribution to the team.
5. Support professional development
Creating a safe and open relationship with female employees in the workplace is a real sign of progress, but it’s also important to go a step further and actively provide opportunities for women to grow their skills and enhance their professional development in the workplace.
For example, by creating a mentorship programme for women in the organisation, female employees can shadow other women in leadership roles and build relationships with strong female examples. For most women, seeing another woman in a position of authority is empowering and encouraging, and it is also crucial for better career advancement and professional development within the company.
Your organisation could also consider offering female employees the chance to attend conferences or workshops relevant to the leading practices in your industry. It’s a great way to help them gain some practical experience while developing the skills needed to move up in the organisation. This could be anything from funding external skills development courses to offering leadership training programs which will equip them with the tools to jump-start their career.
Women at WellBe
WellBe&Co strives to empower women by helping ladies everywhere to become their happiest, healthiest selves. WellBe is a corporate wellness company that specializes in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions.
We know that no two women are alike. That’s why we provide nutrition advice, training programs and supplement advice tailored to your individual needs, goals and personal preferences.
Our WellBe family believes that women who support other women should be every organisation’s ultimate goal. So, if you’re feeling a little unmotivated, simply join our WellBe Instagram community made up of prominent women in the fitness industry where we share daily tips, tricks and motivational messages so that we can all improve and grow together.
Follow our regularly-updated, informative blog posts for guidance on topics that deal with everything from workplace productivity to the art of living a more mindful life. And, while you’re at it, why not take a look at our simple set of recipes that will have you eating clean in no time?
Start the learning journey today and you’ll be your healthiest self both at home and in the workplace in no time.