Having a women-friendly workplace offers various financial and ethical rewards. Studies show that companies with higher levels of gender diversity are more productive and profitable.
Additionally, it has also been proven that female-friendly organizations rate high in terms of transparency, morality, and fairness. Employees are more likely to follow ethical codes as well.
With these in mind, many companies are working hard to create a gender-equal workplace.
5 Ways to Make Your Workplace Women-Friendly
Creating Women-Friendly Work Environments
Having a women-friendly workplace will take a lot of time, effort, and commitment. Most of the time, it would be best to consult a lawyer first to ensure all the new policies that will be added and the old ones that will be revised are legal, acceptable and viable.
However, there are several changes you can implement now to start having a gender-equal workplace. These include:
1. Hire more women
One of the easiest changes you can introduce to be a more female-friendly organization is to start employing more women. Although hiring the most qualified talent is the best practice, sometimes, gender biases creep into the recruitment process.
This is something that you can avoid by implementing policies that are aimed at employing a specific number of female applicants, especially during mass recruitment campaigns. Or, at the very least, ensure the number of women you will hire will be equal to that of the men.
If you are having difficulty attracting female candidates, consider creating a special recruitment program geared towards hiring women. This can include hosting women’s conferences or inviting ladies for special training courses.
2. Promote deserving women from within
In general, high-performing women get fewer promotions than their male counterparts. This can be due to implied bias and females not being traditionally considered as strong prospective leaders.
To have a gender-equal workplace, seek out female managers and leaders in your company first when you need to fill new positions.
Aside from being certain that you have hardworking and trustworthy employees who can fill vacant posts, you will also cement their loyalty to the company. More importantly, since they already know the ins and outs of your business, they won’t have to undergo lengthy training. They can assume the position within a shorter period of time.
3. Ensure everyone has access to your mentorship program
Encourage all your employees to join your mentorship program. If you don’t have one yet, build a program that both your male and female staff will find interesting and useful.
When creating a mentorship program for women, make sure they have access to both male and female mentors. By doing so, you will ensure the women will be more well-rounded and confident when dealing with both genders.
Keep in mind that creating mentorship programs can help women form important bonds that will help keep them in the workforce and achieve career advancement.
4. Create and implement policies that address work/life balance
To ensure your female employees, especially those who are married and have children, do not leave your company because of punishing hours or work rules, introduce policies that will give them more control over their schedules.
Additionally, stop prioritizing time in the office over delivering results. Working remotely is a practice that many organizations are now encouraging. If you can allow some of your employees to do this even for a few days a week, they will greatly appreciate it.
Allowing employees to have flexible working hours is also another policy you can look into.
5. Have zero tolerance sexual harassment policies in place
Lastly, make sure there are clear policies against sexual harassment in the workplace. It should be zero tolerance to enable women (and men) to feel secure and empowered in your company.
Additionally, make sure your organization provides consistent, engaging anti-sexual harassment training programs. Aside from showing employees videos, consider including bystander training and an anti-sexual harassment training course that is specific to your workplace culture and environment.
It is also important that you have policies that support survivors. For victims of sexual harassment, the most helpful, encouraging sentence they can hear from their colleagues or superiors is “I believe you”.
To ensure you have the right sexual harassment policies in place, get help from a law firm that specializes in corporate law.
Although all these practices and policies are aimed at uplifting the status of women in the workplace, everyone, regardless of gender, will benefit from them. If you are looking to make the workplace better and more productive, start by implementing these changes to create a gender-equal work environment.
Sharon Danso-Missah is the Head of Marketing at Al Tamimi & Company, the largest law firm in the Middle East, with 17 offices across nine countries. Established in 1989, they are a full-service commercial firm combining knowledge, experience and expertise to ensure all clients have access to the best legal solutions that are commercially sound and cost-effective.