While women have made significant strides in the workplace, they still face many barriers in the workforce such as persistent wage gaps. Recent research has revealed women receive less frequent and less substantial bonuses and raises than their male colleagues. Alongside these trends, companies have seen record-high burnout rates among women in the workplace.

Retaining and advancing women is such an important issue. It’s not just a matter of equality but it is also a strategic imperative to create a truly inclusive and diverse environment. Women in the workplace matter to make work environments more positive, have stronger engagement, and more competitive. According to Forbes “Companies with more than 30% female executives tended to outperform companies with 10% to 30% female leaders. Those companies outperformed companies with fewer or no women executives.” Keep reading for tips on how to retain and advance women in the workplace.

Tip #1: Flexibility

Flexibility is a pillar of creating inclusive environments for women in the workplace. Offering a wide range of flexible work arrangements such as remote options, more flexible hours, and part-time positions can make a big difference. Implementing family friendly policies is another. A company that supports women in the workplace rather than contribute to burnout will also greatly help with retention. This could include policies that help during key life transitions such as maternity leave and family care. Additionally, offering temporary opportunities can benefit women who want to explore new opportunities, or need to fill resume gaps, while also benefitting employers who need help with workload fluctuations.

Tip #2: Mental Health and Work-Life Balance

Another important factor to reduce turnover of women in the workplace is prioritizing mental health efforts and creating a culture of work-life balance. Studies reveal that burnout is progressing more swiftly among women than males, especially later in the pandemic. This might look like paid time off programs, mental health resources, stress management resources, etc.

Tip #3: Salary Equity for Women in the Workplace

Retaining and advancing women in the workplace depends on ensuring equal pay for equal labor. One example is undertaking pay audits and going through the numbers and making sure that men and women are paid equal salaries for similar roles. It is also important to use statistics to better understand the proportion of women in leadership positions, and how frequently men are promoted relative to women, to foster leadership practices that support gender parity.

Tip #4: Professional Development Not Potential

While talking about leadership, promoting professional development programs specifically designed to provide opportunities for women in the workplace is key. It will enhance their leadership skills, either through workshops, seminars, and coaching.

Encouraging women to step into leadership roles is crucial for advancing gender diversity at all levels of an organization. This can also mitigate the trend of getting promoted based on potential or reputation which tends to be more heavily male creating a missed opportunity for high-potential women. Allowing women in the workplace to see their opportunity for growth can dissuade them from looking elsewhere for upward mobility.

Tip #5: Inclusive Culture for Women in the Workplace

Finally, creating an overall culture of inclusion can help to entrench these policies and mindsets into company culture. Creating an environment where women in the workplace feel valued, respected, and heard is critical for the success of any retention and advancement efforts.

At ATHENA Consulting, we are proud to be women-owned and managed, with great diversity among our staff. This is reflected in the work we do to provide excellent candidates to our clients that reflect a diverse, inclusive workforce. Learn more about our commitment to diversity.