How to Redefine Work Culture to Help Women Succeed
As workers all over the globe gradually return back to the office, a new opportunity presents itself. While we could easily slip back to old patterns, routines and structures, the braver and perhaps, more necessary, choice would be to redefine it. Workplace culture is full of clichés and an awful lot of them happen to be true. It’s no wonder that over 80% of workers are reluctant to return to office life.
While your company should strive not to join the many others who are forcing people to give up remote work and join the Great Resignation, you can rebuild office culture to make it more enticing for employees—especially those who have been historically excluded from your office culture. And it is possible to take on this huge undertaking without burning out.
1. Encourage the company to prioritize human capital over growth.
It’s no secret that every company must adopt a growth mindset to succeed in these markets. But there’s absolutely no need to prioritize growth over the well-being of employees. Besides the immorality of disregarding the health of your employees, this type of mindset can force your workers to take their talents elsewhere. While this approach might increase your bottom line, those profits will likely be offset by costly turnover rates should this highly toxic mindset be allowed to run rampant. Speak up about these issues at work and find what wellbeing initiatives, benefits and activities your workplace can do.
2. Create a workplace that understands women.
If you want your company to walk the walk of gender equality in the workplace, it’s time to use your influence to adopt women-friendly measures. Ensure your work environment is conducive to other female leadership. If your female employees are afraid to take maternity leaves because of its implications on their career path, or women are dismissed as a candidate for promotion because they have children, your corporate culture is overdue for change. Leverage your success to the best of your ability to fight for more seats at the table for women. This could mean pushing for a generous maternity leave package or recommending a qualified, female candidate for a promotion.
3. Mentor female employees.
When leaders make an effort to connect with employees, it can make them feel valued. In the case of women, it could create a sense of belonging. If your office culture typically caters to the male ego, women are likely to feel out of place. By reaching out and showing interest in their career with your company, you can change this narrative for them. As a successful woman, you probably already inspire them. But personally mentoring them could transform their career trajectory.
4. Fire inexcusable behavior.
Far too often, companies allow high earners to behave in ways that would otherwise be unacceptable. Instead of letting this continue, use your power to get rid of individuals like this. Their talents are not worth the negative impact they have on your work culture. Urge your workplace to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for unethical behaviors such as bullying or harassment.
When evaluating employees, assess qualities beyond their financial contribution to the company. Factors such as peer feedback, emotional intelligence and openness to collaboration should also be considered.
5. Uphold transparency.
In a transparent company culture, issues are dealt with in an open manner. Practicing openness might encourage your employees to do the same. This nurtures an environment that treats mistakes as lessons rather than failures.
6. Provide access to mental health support and other resources.
A study recently found that 77% of workers have experienced or are currently experiencing burnout at their current job. This alarming statistic suggests that the current culture in most offices is simply not sustainable. As a leader, you have the power to prevent your employees and yourself from burning out.
There are several strategies you could take to prevent burnout in both yourself and others:
- Strive to create an office culture that normalizes mental health days and asks for support when you need it.
- Provide resources to information and support from a wellbeing coach on your staff.
- Train your managers to learn how to reduce stress for employees.
- Encourage employees to prioritize their work/life balance.
- Encourage employees to use their vacation days.
- If they wish to work from home, respond with flexibility and understanding.
- Design a culture that prioritizes wellbeing.
It’s not easy to be a successful woman in any industry, and in most, it can get lonely at the top. Using your power to redefine your corporate culture increases opportunities for success for all employees – including women.
How have you been able to change work culture at your organization? How can leaders prioritize inclusive practices without burning out?
Written by Kendra Beckley
This post originally appeared on Fairygodboss.