Real gender diversity in the workplace means you represent women at every level. So what can your organization do to enable female employee empowerment?

With an employer’s record on gender diversity being a make-or-break factor for millennial job seekers, getting the gender balance right is a must for organizations.

But simply getting women into the workplace isn’t enough on its own. To reap the benefits of gender diversity, organizations need to empower female employees to reach their potential; it’s about inclusivity and equality as well as diversity in the workplace.

To be inclusive you need to be aware of stereotypical memes in your organization

Here are a few ways organizations can work towards true employee empowerment.

Beware of bias

The way your organizational processes and systems are set up may mitigate against gender diversity in the workplace. A report by ACT/EMP identifies company practices in which unconscious bias can hinder women.

These include performance evaluations based on stereotypically masculine criteria, stereotyping when assigning projects, and reinforcing inequalities when rewarding performance.

Using a Workplace integration like Survey Monkey or installing your own survey bot via Workplace Chat can be a great way to identify areas of concern.

You can use them to ask employees about where they perceive bias and build on the responses to make informed changes that help make your organization more inclusive.

Enable flexible working

Flexibility, whether it’s part-time or remote working, helps people balance other responsibilities with work.

It isn’t just for women of course – 70% of Gen Yers want more flexible working options and having a mobile workforce offers multiple benefits to organizations.

But there’s no doubt that giving employees the option of greater flexibility can help people stay in the workforce when they have young children or caring responsibilities.

Technology can help you enable flexible working for both men and women. Using video conferencing and instant messaging tools in the Workplace platform, for example, enables people to stay connected and make a full contribution wherever they work or however they structure their working day.

Challenge gender stereotypes

Does your workplace have outdated ideas about what constitutes men and women’s work, or how men and women should behave?

For example, is ‘assertive’ behavior in a man perceived as ‘bossy’ in a woman? To be truly inclusive you need to be aware of stereotypical memes in your business and challenge them – both in the way your company thinks and the company policy.

Find ways to amplify female voices

Organizations need to to find better ways to boost women’s voices at work. Gender stereotyping in workplace communications still happens. A lot.

Gender stereotyping in workplace communications still happens. A lot.

There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence outlining how women’s suggestions are ignored until men articulate them, or how women are shouted down or talked over in meetings.

Be aware of these issues, give feedback and lead by example.

Open up the talent pipeline

Having women in the boardroom has been shown to benefit the bottom line, as well as offer the advantage of different perspectives.

But despite this, the Women in the Workplace 2017 report reveals that although women make up 52% of the US population, they make up only 20% of c-suite roles – falling to just 3% for women of color.

This is a reflection of how difficult it can be for women to get to the top – they’re 18% less likely to get promoted than their male peers.

Make sure female employees have contact with senior leaders and mentors

To help counter this, make sure female employees have contact with senior leaders who can give them advice and guidance and on how to further their careers.

Make sure you clearly signpost paths to progress in your organization and look at things like mentoring schemes. You can easily set up a mentoring network using the Cortado integration with Workplace.

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