The pandemic has certainly affected women as it has intensified some of the challenges that they were facing already. While this crisis has unprecedented implications, companies can use this as a challenge to balance the equation. By making significant changes, companies can create an empathetic and female-friendly workspace that can reduce the attrition rate. With the right will and resources, companies can create a culture in which women will get the opportunity to achieve their goals for the long-term.
Let us look at how companies can reduce the female attrition rate in 2021:
Flexible work arrangements:
With COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown imposed across the world, work from home became the new normal for working professionals. We believe that while the arrangement of working from one’s home offers a lot of reprieve for working women who have kids, there are reports which claim that the current scenario is not being positively received across all organisations. There are companies which expect employees to be always available since all of them are working out of their homes. This problem is gender-neutral, but it is significant for working moms as they shoulder most of the responsibilities when it comes to caregiving.
Companies should also be flexible in terms of job sharing, offering flexible working hours, etc. With proper communication and the right expectations set in place, employees can give their best.
Getting married, having children, taking care of one’s parents, and falling sick are things that naturally happen to any individual. Organisations should have flexibility in giving proper facilities to pregnant women. Give pregnant women the leeway when it comes to finishing certain tasks. The managers should go out of their way to see if other team members can help the woman so that she doesn’t have to be stressed out during one of the most important moments in her life.
Start a female mentoring programme:
The reason behind not seeing a lot of women leaders is that there aren’t a lot of examples for them to look up to. Men have the privilege of networking with other men, which is why they have more opportunities in leadership positions. Start mentoring programmes for women where they are assigned mentors, taken through a programme that is specifically set up for them, and are given the right resources. Identify high potential women early-on and plan their career for them with the help of this programme.
Enhance the culture of merit:
The prevalent culture in most companies is that the ones who self-promote are the ones who are given more responsibilities. Women tend not to self-promote. This behaviour affects the prospects of female employees in the office. But if you have a system that only rewards those who perform the best, then we can eliminate this issue. You will have more women who will continue working with your organisation if you promote your employees only based on the skill-sets and their ability to get the work done.
Salary equity audits:
One problem that most working women face is that they are paid less than their male counterparts. According to the Gender Gap Index in 2020, India’s rank is at 112th. It ranks 117th in wage equality for the same work. Giving women equal pay is the first step towards making your female employees feel appreciated and respected for the work they do.
Understand the challenges that working moms face:
Working moms have a lot going on in their lives apart from their day jobs. The companies would do a world of good for themselves if they were to acknowledge this and behave accordingly. Here are some of the things that businesses can do to ease the stress of working moms:
Re-set your goals.
Extend deadlines if it is possible.
Change your expectations.
Rethink performance evaluation criteria.
Create a culture of conscious inclusion:
Women fall behind when it comes to promotions. The onus is on the leadership to ensure that women are not left behind. Most companies strongly believe that they should plan to ensure this doesn’t happen. But most of them do not invest time in making this happen, which is why it is a must to create a culture of inclusivity.
Women bring new skills to the workforce, and the increased productivity and growth gains from having them added to the labour force are huge. Gender-diverse teams have higher sales and profits when compared with teams that only have women, according to research by the Center for Creative Leadership. To put it as succinctly as possible, when more women join the workforce, everyone benefits.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)