Top Ways to Increase the Support of Women in Your Workforce

  • Author: Melanie Haniph

All employees need support to address their needs for recognition, growth, and belonging. However, women hold fewer leadership positions and are paid less on average than men, so there is more organizations can do to support them.

If your organization celebrated International Women’s Day this March, here are some additional ways to support women year-round.

1. Highlight the Actions You’re Already Taking

Our latest employee connections study revealed that only 42% of employees know all the total rewards and benefits their company offers. If your organization has implemented practices and benefits that support women, make sure everyone in your workforce knows these benefits exist and how to access them. Examples of the policies and programs you may already have in place may cover areas such as:

  • Pay transparency and equity
  • Expanding leadership pipelines to include more women
  • Women’s employee resource groups (ERGs) 
  • Mentorship programs

Your company intranet, all-hands meetings, and employer branding campaigns are all effective vehicles for educating prospective and current employees about what the organization is doing to support them and their growth. You can also provide employees with annual compensation and benefits reports to boost their understanding of the total rewards available. 

2. Learn More About the Needs of Women Employees

Like all employees, women have varying support needs as they move through their employee journey. In addition to career development and advancement, women may have specific needs in areas such as fertility and family planning, mental well-being, and work flexibility. For example, moving from remote to hybrid work can make it difficult for working mothers to find a childcare option that matches their work schedule.

Another area unique to women employees is menopausal support. Though menopause symptoms can affect women in their 40s and beyond—potentially a sizable portion of any workforce—menopause support remains in its infancy. In a recent NFP study, only 4% of employers said they offered menopausal benefits such as counseling, access to hormone therapy, and additional work flexibility for those with acute symptoms. By exploring benefits for menopause and other areas of well-being important to women, you can demonstrate a better understanding and care for their evolving needs.

3. Show Employees and Managers How to Help

Building an inclusive culture and work environment is a responsibility all employees can share. For example, company leaders and HR teams can ensure women are equitably represented in succession planning for key roles, and managers can ensure diversity in all its forms is woven into team culture. Additionally, you can make sure employees understand their role by offering training and other resources that help them recognize and eliminate unconscious bias, microaggressions, and other harmful behaviors. By tackling these practices and removing them from the workplace, you can make meaningful progress in helping women feel more welcomed and valued at work.

4. Take Deliberate Action to Hire and Retain Women 

Though women comprise nearly half of entry-level roles across industries, they comprise only 36% of senior manager roles and only 28% of the C-Suite. However, you can increase female representation at all levels through more effective recruitment and retention strategies. For example, you can: 

  • Require search firms to present a balanced slate of candidates for open positions
  • Look for new sources of potential women candidates, such as women’s professional and networking groups
  • Pair women together in mentorship relationships, so women can get guidance from others who’ve walked in their shoes
  • Conduct thorough exit and stay interviews to understand what women employees need in their employee experience to stay

Improve the Employee Experience for Women and All Employees

Supporting women employees helps you build a more connected and engaged workforce overall. By demonstrating a commitment to understanding and meeting the unique needs of women employees, you can attract, engage, and retain them more effectively over time.

For more insights on this and related topics, continue to read our blog and follow us on LinkedIn.

Get Insights Monthly

Related Insights