International Women’s day was held on March 8th and this year the theme was being Bold about Change. International Women’s day is all about raising awareness and trying to forge a better working world, and a more inclusive, working world.
Really, it’s your duty as an employer or business owner to make sure that women in your business are treated equally, and that a woman’s decision to start a family or become a carer doesn’t have to mean its game over for their career.
It’s 2017, so you might think that we’re past the stage where these kinds of things are still burning issues. However, the statistics speak for themselves. According to the World Economic Forum, it could take another 170 years to eliminate the gender pay gap, and the fact that women are more likely to take on childcare or caring responsibilities can play a big role in how they’re able to pursue career opportunities.
There are a few things that you can do as an employer to make sure you are attracting, retaining and developing your women, so make sure that you are treating your female employees like you would want your Mum or your daughters to be treated, and I bet that it reaps dividends!
Ensure you’re embracing legislation
Legislation exists to ensure that employers are fulfilling their legal responsibilities, and there have been several developments in recent years designed to support working mums or carers. For example, shared parental leave and flexible working is something that all workplaces should be carefully considering. Employment law can seem complicated and overwhelming, but remember that it exists to ensure that you’re a fair and equal employer. Use it to your advantage, and in a way that supports your staff.
Look for solutions and opportunities instead of problems
If you run a small business and an employee announces that they’ll be taking maternity leave soon, you might feel slightly panicked. Regardless of how much you want to support your staff, the reality of having to navigate through the changes can be overwhelming. Instead of just looking at the potential problems though, examine the opportunities that exist. Is there another member of staff who can step up and cover the role? Could this be an indicator that it’s time for you to start to look towards more flexible working practices? How can this situation be turned on its head to make your workplace
Speak to your staff
You already speak to your staff all the time, so this might seem a little bit obvious. But are you actually having meaningful, honest, and open conversations about your role as an employer, and how you can support your workforce as they navigate their way through key life stages? Rather than just assuming that you know what your working mothers or carers want and need, ask them. It may be the case that small changes to your policies and practices could make a big difference to your workforce. If you know that you need to make changes to give various segments of your employees a better chance to thrive and succeed, then there’s no time like the present. If issues are bubbling away under the surface, or you suspect that problems could arise if you don’t take action, get in touch today. We can arrange to have a no-obligation discussion about your options, and how we might be able to work together.