As a woman entrepreneur, I often get asked about encouraging women at the workplace. Well, I don’t have any secrets, but here are some of the initiatives everyone can follow for greater women participation.
One of the most important ways of encouraging more women employees at the workplace is to build a strong mentorship program. Not only does the mentee learn, but also the mentor. It’s a great way for new managers to build their skills to and build those of the new ones at work. It also builds camaraderie and solutions from within the organization itself. At Pink Lemonade, we have all our team heads playing the role sincerely and the respect and bonding that emerges is phenomenal.
Women-friendly Benefits Program
To make your workplace more women-friendly, build a benefits program that encourages more women to join the organization. Take Google for example. Their women are promoted at the same rate as men, and are supported through multiple peer and mentoring groups such as Women@Google and Google Women in Engineering. Plus, new moms and dads receive ‘baby bonding bucks’ – a program that gives new parents a chunk of spending money to help pay for initial baby costs. Moreover, new mothers in the US receive five months of paid maternity leave.
You can also build a culture that allows for women to get their kids to work if needed. Eka in Bangalore is a popular example of this culture too.Make their timings more flexible and give them the freedom to choose their working hours.
Returnship and Reskilling Programs
Returnee internships and reskilling programs also go a long way in building a culture that encourages a women-friendly workplace. These initiatives are typically aimed at professionals who are restarting their careers after a long break. During this program, participants work on projects that draw on their existing skills and experiences. They can rebuild their professional confidence and skills in a supportive environment and receive training, mentoring, and access to corporate networks. Working in such an environment also gives them an opportunity to test the role and assess whether they want to return to corporate life.
Job Shadowing Programs or Career Days
A unique initiative that I came across recently was the concept of career days. This allows women interested in a specific field to shadow an individual for a day or a certain amount of time. This allows the observer understand the typical duties that come with the job rule and the execution process. Such programs can also work very well in helping women who are looking to change their field of work.
Earn and Learn Program
Another interesting way to encourage women participation is by training women in the workforce through a two-way Earn and Learn Program that allows the participant to benefit through working and studying at the same time. This concept works not just for those returning to the workforce but also for new graduates who want to get a head start on their career. I truly believe in encouraging the younger generation, even if they come with insufficient qualifications. If you are able to provide on-the-job training and are successful in helping them recognize their potential, you’ve already done your bit. Plus it may reduce your salary costs by starting people on an earn-and-learn program. Jobsforher in Bangalore has started to bring women back through this initiative and a number of corporate organizations are waking up and seeing the long-term advantages of this.
So there you have it. The top five ways you can encourage more women participation at the workplace. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, it’s time for you to go out there and hire more women!