Originally posted by Forbes.
YEC Women Expert Panel
YEC is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger.
Among the many major impacts the pandemic has had on the status quo, none have so disproportionately affected women quite like its impact on the labor force. Whether they were laid off, furloughed or forced to choose between family and work when alternative child care was no longer an option, millions of women left the workforce during the pandemic, outpacing the rate at which men were leaving. And not all of them are coming back.
But from entry-level workers to solopreneurs and CEOs, women make up an important segment of the workforce, and to encourage women to return, these six leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council have a few ideas in mind. Below, they outline a few of the steps companies can take to remedy some of the ongoing women’s issues brought to light by the pandemic and how to better support women in the workplace moving forward.
1. Consider Women's Other Identities
As an employer, you need to understand the obstacles that your employees face in order to create policies that directly address their needs. First, start by surveying your existing employees and doing some research to understand the needs of the women in your target audience. Look beyond gender by considering their other identities (for example, marital status, race, culture, immigration status, if they are mothers or not, etc.). Single mothers are going to need different policies than married women. Women with family in the country may need different policies than women who do not. The policies that will have the most impact are built with the employees’ needs front of mind, so make sure that you’re considering not just gender, but also a woman's (and her family's) other identities. - Amber Anderson, Tote and Pears
2. Offer Various Forms Of Flexibility
Create policies that acknowledge people have families and lives outside of work. That sounds pretty broad, but it's because this can mean so many things. All of these examples would be helpful for anyone who is a parent, women or men. For example, flexible hours allow parents to have more flexibility when they drop off and pick up kids from school or day care. Remote-work flexibility allows a parent to work from home when their kid is sick and home from school for the day. Flexible PTO allows a parent to take a day off work when their kid's school is closed unexpectedly. The key here is flexibility because even for people who are not parents, life comes up, and when you feel restricted to only being able to work in a physical office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., it limits your ability to adapt when life changes. - Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
3. Make Changes To Your Office Space
We try to understand every employee’s unique situation and also have accommodated our office spaces to be welcoming for new mothers, like with a private breastfeeding room and quiet areas. As our company is growing quickly, we find that we also encounter many male employees in their late 20s-40s who look after their children and take on that role. We are continuously looking for ways in which we can support both women and men with the challenges that the pandemic has brought on and the pressure they might be feeling from home in taking care of their children in parallel to work. In the end, showing understanding as an employer has proven to reduce stress for the person involved and help them to navigate the new normal. - Fabi Hubschmid, Markaaz
4. Hire More Women Of Color
To make the workplace more friendly toward women, it's important for companies to hire more women of color. This further opens the door for diversity and creates a more open-minded company culture that supports and celebrates the differences in employees. Women already face discrimination and lower pay at work, obstacles we're still trying to work through and eliminate. It helps greatly to enter the workforce knowing that the company you work for supports all different types of women and wants them to succeed. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Provide Special Leave
Aside from vacation and sick leave, offer a type of “motherhood leave” (or parenthood leave) that will give the employee an option to rest, catch up on important tasks, be a parent/spouse and have a sound mind to work the next day. Let it be credited as one of their rewards and make it a win-win policy for both the employee and the company. - Daisy Jing, Banish
6. Invest In Education Around Women's Issues In The Workplace
Investing in proactive and continuing education centered around the various inequities women still face in the workforce and workplace is a healthy start. For example, holding short seminars throughout the year to educate everyone on what the gender or race pay gap actually is, the history and how to acknowledge and correct biases in one’s daily work is essential. This is important because many people may not even understand the fundamental problems that face women in the workplace. So, by offering education on these issues, you're communicating your company’s values, which hopefully trickle up and down to the team. Also, begin including inclusivity policies in your recruitment and hiring processes so that you onboard people who actually care about these issues. - Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
Original article can be found here.