5 Ways to support women in your team
Author: IntaPeople | Date published: 17/02/22
The various fields that make up the STEM industries have all worked exceptionally hard to champion gender equality and to make significant grounds in levelling the playing field. However, with the move to remote working a long-term reality for many, new challenges present themselves to women in the workplace that STEM employers should try to address and combat. Finding ways to ensure you support a culture of equal opportunities and flexibility towards women in the workplace will go a long way to ensure gender equality, enhancing your employer brand and reducing turnover.
Some truths about gender equality in the workplace
There are many documented roadblocks to women entering and progressing in STEM careers:
- Discouragement from engaging with the sciences at school level
- A lack of female role models in leadership positions
- Unconscious biases influencing hiring and promotion rounds
- Caring responsibilities impacting careers
However, a new potential roadblock to women progressing in their careers is the large-scale adoption of working remotely. Women who work from home full time may find themselves cut off from mentorship or development opportunities, cut out of the right conversation at the right time or generally overlooked for promotions due to a lack of visibility compared to in-house staff or hybrid working employees. However, by creating a culture of support and equal opportunities, you can ensure that the women on your team have the opportunity to speak, be heard and get the rewards their work should entail.
What you can do to support the women in your team
1.Support all parents and caregivers within your team
Flexibility often refers to just working some days a week from home or rearranging working hours by a few hours, but incorporating true flexibility is the key to supporting the caregivers on your team. This means trusting them to be responsible for their duties within their role and giving them the leeway to manage their personal commitments too. Offering flexibility and understanding for any unforeseen requirements that might arise will give your employee the reassurance that they are supported by a compassionate and understanding employer. You may be surprised to see that this can also significantly lower employee turnover!
Offering this support to both male and female caregivers will ensure you provide across-the-board support and create a more authentic culture of empathy and understanding.
2. Offer supportive employee benefits
In addition to offering flexibility to caregivers, you could shape any employee benefit schemes you offer to also support caregivers. Offerings like private medical insurance can make the difference between a stressed parent unable to deal with a health issue as quickly and efficiently as possible!
3. Offer mentorship schemes
One barrier to women (not just caregivers) entering leadership positions is that they frequently don’t have equal representation within leadership teams. While this is rapidly changing within STEM, there are still some discrepancies within certain avenues. Offering structured mentorship schemes to all of your employees will ensure that no one is overlooked, and everyone has access to the development guidance they need to support their careers.
4. Offer bias training for all managers
Biases come in all shapes and sizes and are usually unconscious. The most common bias is that most people tend to like people who have similar backgrounds to themsleves. And if the majority of your hiring managers or line managers are male, women can be at an unconscious disadvantage. Ensuring your hiring managers know how bias is formed and how to combat it to make entirely objective evaluations of current and future employees will mean your organisation will truly offer equal opportunities to all.
5. Be transparent about your corporate stance
Many organisations have taken steps to include a company policy on diversity and inclusion, but have you mapped out exactly the steps you take to facilitate it? Be specific about what you believe and how you put your beliefs into action. It will have a very positive impact on your employer branding, setting you aside as an employer of choice for future applicants to your open roles. It will also let the women in your team know that your policies for equality are more than lip service.
Are you looking to create a more diverse and inclusive STEM workplace?
If you are an employer looking to create a diversity and inclusion-led STEM recruitment strategy, we can help you recognise where you may be creating barriers between your company and diverse applicants, from the job description to where and how you market your role.
Get in touch today to discuss your recruiting needs!