Be it sports, entertainment or arts and literature – women have excelled in all spheres of life, and it is unfair to treat them as any lesser than the opposite sex. The whole reason why the talk of empowering women came into focus, is because of the years of inequality ingrained among all across the globe, that man and woman cannot be equals.
Fortunately, that is changing, for the better!
Now to be honest, at the workplace, we do come across various such instances of imbalanced empowerment. That said, there is no dearth of women-centric initiatives and policies that can be specifically put in place for levelling the playing field in this matter.
Moreover, having maternity benefits in place and setting up creche within the company campus are often seen by organisations as ‘doing their bit’ for their female employees. While these are indeed great initiatives, the benefits are only restricted to a section of the female workforce who are mothers. This is not a completely inclusive solution to the larger problem.
10 Ways To Truly Empower The Female Workforce In Your Organisation
Here is a set of do’s and don’ts that every HR ought to implement in order to empower women at their respective workplaces.
1. Considering Opinions
It’s important not to shun any opinion of an employee, irrespective of their gender, age or religion. The first step in empowering the female workforce in your organisation is to hear them out and actively seek their opinion. Make them a part of the strategy and planning in your organisation.
2. Fair Pay
This is a debate that is raging across the globe, and even Hollywood celebs aren’t immune to it.
If a woman employee is as deserving as her male counterpart, she deserves equal pay. There is no reason why a company would want to pay her less if she has all the necessary qualifications and is a promising employee.
3. Creating A Safe Work Environment
The #MeToo movement across the globe is not just a fad. It is a true and serious issue, which sadly took so long to be addressed.
While there are laws to address these very concerns, it’s important that you, as the HR of the company take proactive steps in protecting employees, especially women at the workplace, as best as you possibly can.
Any sexual or other misconduct towards an employee within your organisation from anyone of any gender or designation MUST be taken seriously and not brushed under the carpet.
You need to actively frame policies at the workplace to address such issues and have a redressal mechanism in place that safeguards the dignity and interests of the complainant.
4. Pick Up And Drop Services As And When Required
Some women traveling from afar or at wee hours may not consider public transport as a safe and viable option.
For them, a pick-up and drop facility should be arranged as and when required. Also, the organisation must thoroughly vet any person or contractor entrusted with ferrying these employees. The last thing you want is for your women employees to feel unsafe even in their company’s transport.
5. Caring For Health & Wellness… Not Merely Wellness Programs!
This implies for both men and women, but more so for the latter. Most females have a tricky time when it comes to achieving a balance between work and personal life.
Women are often tasked with not just professional commitments, but also with household chores. This can put them in a lot of stress. Add to that the sedentary lifestyle most of us have these days, there is hardly any activity that employees indulge in.
Organise health camps for your employees from time to time. Having an in-house doctor/ nutritionist will also help. Have tie ups with professional counsellors, should any of your employees want to visit them for their personal or professional concerns.
6. Work From Home
This is something that all companies and offices need to actively open up to.
In metros like Mumbai, Delhi Bengaluru, etc., traveling takes up a lot of your time and energy. Having an option to work from home every now and then is a good idea.
However, you will need to have clear guidelines and processes in place to ensure the work isn’t hampered.
For your female employees who are on their way to maternity, this a BIG plus to have. A lot of times it gets very difficult for them to travel for work and a lot of them simply quit or take a sabatical. This not only hampers their career path but in a time when they are actively looking at their finances and how would things shape up after a baby is in their lives, such a situation becomes a big set-back.
The Work From Home option can also go a long way in garnering appreciation for the HR, the organisation and securing long-term employee loyalty too!
7. Flexible Timings
There are a specific set of rules that impose a fixed number of hours an employee needs to work for in the company. However, at times, employees are not able to do so. Give them the benefit of flexible work schedules every once in a while, but at the same time, ensure that company guidelines are followed and that nobody takes undue advantage of this benefit.
8. Office Activities Which Are Gender Neutral
It is essential to plan office activities in a way that all your employees can actively participate in them. It does not just help in relieving stress but an equal participation from all enables team building in the true sense of the word.
However, as an HR, it is your duty to make a prior announcement just so that employees can plan their day and personal activities accordingly.
9. Actively Promote Stressbuster Sessions
Activities like meditation, yoga, dance classes or a fun game session can be a great stress buster. Believe it or not, this helps employees focus more, boosts their morale, and amps up their engagement levels with the company.
This is again gender neutral, but you can have separate sessions, specifically for your female employees to attend, which are more attuned to their requirements.
10. Having A Feedback Session Every Once In A While
To know whether your women employees are happy with the work culture or not, you need to talk to them and actively discuss how they feel at work.
Issues like what can be done to make them feel better, how the company can help them in performing better, etc. should be discussed from time to time.
Enable and Empower
Implement these set of rules and lead the way in empowering women employees at your workplace. Leave no stone unturned in making your organization a paragon example of women-friendly workplaces. Let’s not forget the fact that women are an essential part of the economic structure of our country and their contribution and productivity will only add to the overall growth of the organisation.